A Thing of Eternity wrote:Let's distil this down to key elements.
1. Do you agree that the GP is a plan to ensure the continuance of humanity for as long as possible, removing the possibility of any single threat wiping them out?
1. I agree that Leto said so. Then again, Leto said a bunch of things about "what the GP is". And the gist of it all, to me, is that at any single time, instead of laying down precise plans, or achieving some number (of size or power or ...) He was trying to impress in His listener some way of thinking, some attitude
that could also
be described with those words, but did not end in them.
So, yes, i think that GP = survival of humanity. Not for as long as possible, but forever. Not to a given date, but into an open time frame. Into infinity.
But i think the "removing the possibility that any single threat wiping them out" is... one detail and not the big picture. I think it is important to be on guard against the "single threat", but it is also important to be impervious against "many small threats". And i think the final lesson is "survive" and stop relying in formulas. And "scatter=survival" is a formula.
A Thing of Eternity wrote:2 Do you agree that the scattering ensures this? Yes, the human universe was big at Paul's time, but at least the guild did know where everyone was. After the scattering, even the guild didn't have the slightest clue. Regardless of whether SIZE was the issue before the scattering, post-scattering SIZE became a gaurantee that humanity couldn't be wiped out by any one threat?
2. No, i don't. I think the Scattering is just one detail amongst many. We do know that Paul had some prescient tricks that the Navigators were unaware of, so the whole "prescience can be used to track them all" might not even be true about pre-Muad'Dib navigators alone. The point being that, no matter how big a gun, someone can always go bigger. As in nuclear weaponry: As of today, nukes are so big that they are actually, from a strategic point of view, less important than computer-guided missiles.
Scale differences (when you are much bigger than your opponent) are important, but most of the times, a breakthrough in complexity can undo any size difference. Like the floppy disk undid the mainframe.
So for example, Leto already had the no-chambers for a long time before Siona came around -- the invisibility was there, what was lacking was the willingness to use it to walk with her own legs. Her strange mix of rebellion without teen angst. Her capability to do the unexpected -- however you want to call it.
I did just search for "scatter" in GEoD, but didn't find the dialogue i was looking for. One where Leto talks, i guess to Moneo, that when he is gone people will have the drive to flee, to seek new grounds. I recall that this dialogue sounded like an aimless musing, not like a objective description of a plan. Couldn't find it though.
As i said in the other thread, Teg could see the no-ships. If he could do it, there is no point in believing that the awakened face dancers or the trainers or some evil cyborg somewhere could not come up with another super-power that undid it all. Piling super-power over super-power is kinda cool, i'll grant that, but i believe that FH's message was very clearly to not focus on them, instead focusing on self-reliance.
The whole comparison of Bene Gesserit with Honored Matres that runs throughout Ch:D seems to actually be a very overt preaching of the uselessness of just always going for bigger, faster, harder. The Matres are bigger than the BG, stronger, better at fighting, more sexy, but still Odrade outsmarts them blind. The unbelievably big -- Honored Matres -- is shown to be useless against the one who can swim in the troubled waters -- the BG.
A Thing of Eternity wrote:3. If you agree that the GP was the continuance of humanity for as long as possible, and that the scattering acheived this through phsyically scattering humanity, then what could possibly be the point of any "adjustments" in Chapterhouse, or indeed any point after the scattering?
3. Well, i disagree with 2.
But, again, i came around to seeing the latter 2 books as continuation of the GP just very recently.
On the other hand, after i did take this stance, it all seemed to fit better. Exactly because the GP was about this constant adjustment
, it was about this capability to be always improvising, always shedding the old trusted formulas in favour of the new, the amazing, and the unexpected.
Because, you see, it is easy to teach someone to stop doing an old trick -- just punch them whenever they do it. But most likely they will fall back to whatever trick they come up that stops you from punching them. And then you will have to punch them again. But if you disappear, as everything must sooner or later, then they become addicted to their tricks again. Teaching someone to be creative and aware is much harder.
How can you use words to teach someone to stop relying on words?
How can you use culture to go beyond the limits of culture?
This is basically impossible, except, well, Frank did it. But it is very subtle. And, even though i do believe that, from my first read as a teenager, this masterful piece of work has helped me into becoming more self-reliant, more creative, more open to the universe (please, i do still have a lot to go and i am not boasting or anything), i believe that rereading it recently, and thinking about this overtly, and grasping consciously those nuances of the Chronicles, enriches my experience a thousandfold.
I leave you with a quite random quote.
Frank Herbert wrote:What am I eliminating? The bourgeois infatuation with peaceful conservation of the past. This is a binding force, a thing which holds humankind into one vulnerable unit in spite of illusionary separations across parsecs of space. If I can find the scattered bits, others can find them. When you are together, you can share a common catastrophe. You can be exterminated together. Thus, I demonstrate the terrible danger of a gliding, passionless mediocrity, a movement without ambitions or aims. I show you that entire civilizations can do this thing. I give you eons of life which slips gently toward death without fuss or stirring, without even asking 'Why?' I show you the false happiness and the shadow-catastrophe called Leto, the God Emperor. Now, will you learn the real happiness?
-The Stolen Journals
You can definitely stress the "If I can find the scattered bits, others can find them
." part if you want. But i can't help but feel that what is really important here is "What am I eliminating? The bourgeois infatuation with peaceful conservation of the past
." "Now, will you learn the real happiness?