I hope/assume it's OK to post in pretty old threads like this one.
Yea, I think it's clear that the "ultimate" goal of the Golden Path isn't anything like a specific outcome; the Golden Path is more like a pebble in humanity's shoe to keep it always moving and growing. At the same time, I think Leto II continued to push humanity along the Path even after his apparent death. I think the spice hoard and the message Odrade finds on Dune indicate that Leto did look into some specifics beyond his reign or the 4,000 year cut-off point (which would be small peeks compared to knowing just about everything going on everywhere during his lifetime), and I also think it's reasonable to suspect that his worm descendants continued to exercise some real prescient influence on events through their dreaming pearls. Basically, Leto's Peace represents the most overt phase of the Golden Path, but he still guides humanity for the time between GEoD and Heretics. He then passes his mantle in a sense to the Bene Gesserit, who become responsible for the next phase. This represents a significant lessening of control on his part but still the basic progression of the Path.
Some stuff you guys were posting about Sheeana in the OHDC forum made me then think if the Golden Path might not take the form of alternating periods of tyranny and scattering. Humanity runs amok and transforms in a thousand different ways for some period, then invariably starts to stagnate again, at which point a new tyrant - the combined product of Leto's long-range political planning (not the same as prescient control), his (sometimes co-opted) breeding plans, and ever-lessening direct input from his "residual" prescience - arises to once against subject humanity to a long period of enforced peace, so that its instincts can build up the pressure for a new scattering.
It seems to me like the Duncan gholas and clones must play a key role in this; I can't help but feel that the line represents something of a test-bed, or the sowing of some kind of genetic seed, that will allow new, ever more powerful versions of OM and even prescience to arise. It just seems so suggestive to me that Duncan A) recovers all his memories in Heretics through some kind of cellular connection or repository and B) has been bred so many times into so many branching and merging and independent genetic lines of import. I wonder if he isn't some kind of burgeoning OM conduit. That also seems to fit with his continual role as a source of potential and useful material - never one who actually rules or acts, always the tool.
Related to this is a question I have about the role of breeding and genetics in various kinds of Other Memory. OM clearly isn't reliant only on spice; it seems to be a basic potential of human beings in the Dune universe - could that itself be the result of evolved or bred traits?
Perhaps Kralizec is something far, far further in the future than anyone suspects; if it really is a titantic confrontation in which all of humanity hangs in the balance, is it possible that Kralizec could function as a much, much larger version of the stress-points that cause Hayt and later Heretics Duncan to regain their memories? If it threatens the nature of humanity, that would closely parallel the form of the memory-retrieving periods in Duncan's life, which seem to revolve around conflicted "natures": Hayt conditioned to kill Paul, or Duncan trained to respond to immense and primordial reproductive energies with, once again, conditioned murder. The fact that it's called a "struggle" might be suggestive. Could the Golden Path be an attempt to condition all humanity into some axial moment of self-contradiction, heralding an immense new phase shift in the entire scattered species? In a sense, that's what the first iteration of the Golden Path, Leto's Peace, is: Leto opposes humanity to its own instincts by force, and when that contradiction is finally ended humanity explodes and transforms radically.
"For my questions explode!"