Abomination

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georgiedenbro
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Abomination

Postby georgiedenbro » 11 Jun 2021 12:21

I was watching one of the super-extended-fan edit-mega edition versions of Lynch's Dune the other night with my wife (essentially a primer for what came before, so that she'll know the legacy Villeneuve is following up on), and the part came up with Alia in front of the Emperor and Mohiam, in which she's called an abomination. As it happens we're also in the middle of reading Children of Dune together, where the issue of abomination comes up quite a lot. The only explanation given by the BG seems to be that they have 'experience' with abomination, and that no one ever comes back from it. It seems to be very bad, but otherwise we don't get much of an explanation of why it is so bad, and what exactly it is. Why can a persona/memory from the past take you over? What does it even mean to say that it "wants to" do so?

So something occurred to me this time around watching the film. Maybe 'abomination' is an almost meta-term for any time someone is guided principally by what came before, rather than what is happening in the present and what needs to happen going forward. I wonder whether FH isn't saying something to the effect that anyone can end up driven by forces from before, and that this is equivalent to death in essence. Whether it's memories of who you used to be, things you've done, or even the legacy of those who came before you, it seems to me that being ruled by the past is anathema to FH and the Dune series. This can be tradition for traditions' sake (at the expense of the present), feeling compelled to repeat bad behavior because of patterns from before, being stuck feeling guilty about the past, or any number of crutches that prevent fully living in the present and planning for the future. It seems to me that the Butlerian Jihad itself is a form of escaping from the past - stopping a previously programmed system from ruling you in the present. And the same goes for entrenched bureaucracy, such as we see in Messiah, which is in a way similar to having machines do your thinking for you. So maybe abomination is just like that - almost like letting previous programming think for you. Maybe the similarity to giving your mind over to machines is why the BG are so up in arms about abomination. And maybe since they see the past better than anyone they're most prone to be trapped by it. Some people are prone to say, for instance, that we have to atone for the atrocities of our ancestors. But imagine if you could actually live the experiences of both them and their victims; the atoning would be all you do in life. I think FH is saying that there is just no room for this, and that allowing the dead to inhabit the will of the living is always dangerous at best.

The theme seems to come up in CoD, that abomination is sort of like a living death (I think), since the dead are in charge of your body and mind. And I suspect the message therein is that any form at all of refusing to think for yourself is part of the same department, whether that's machines, bureaucracies, past habits, or anything else preventing serious thought being given to how to live in the now, and how to plan for the future.

Thoughts?
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Naib
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Re: Abomination

Postby Naib » 22 Jul 2021 19:37

I think you've nailed it.

While the BG has past experience with abomination we could extrapolate that abomination isn't solely something that afflicts the unborn foetus. A weaker Sister could become an abomination if her past lives were allowed to overwhelm her.

Frank may be saying that the past should remain in the past and allowing it to become the driving force in our daily lives is a terrible thing to happen, but all too common.

georgiedenbro
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Re: Abomination

Postby georgiedenbro » 28 Jul 2021 10:17

Naib wrote:Frank may be saying that the past should remain in the past and allowing it to become the driving force in our daily lives is a terrible thing to happen, but all too common.


Interestingly, Nietzsche wrote an early essay called "The use and misuse of history for life", in which he discussed how most historical research seemed to be done mainly for the purpose of either living in the past, or else bowing down to the historian's way of telling past events. He suggested that the only valid purpose for studying history was to learn how to live better in the present, and anything else was a degenerate use of your consciousness (essentially). Funny how that essay seems to accord with Frank's views on how the BG alone had a too-restricted view of past-present-future, and needed to be tempered with the wisdom of a KH like Leto II.
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Naib
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Re: Abomination

Postby Naib » 29 Jul 2021 19:12

georgiedenbro wrote:
Naib wrote:Frank may be saying that the past should remain in the past and allowing it to become the driving force in our daily lives is a terrible thing to happen, but all too common.


Interestingly, Nietzsche wrote an early essay called "The use and misuse of history for life", in which he discussed how most historical research seemed to be done mainly for the purpose of either living in the past, or else bowing down to the historian's way of telling past events. He suggested that the only valid purpose for studying history was to learn how to live better in the present, and anything else was a degenerate use of your consciousness (essentially). Funny how that essay seems to accord with Frank's views on how the BG alone had a too-restricted view of past-present-future, and needed to be tempered with the wisdom of a KH like Leto II.

The BG view, being the female view only, is one sided and could be seen that the BG way was leading to the future where humanity stagnates and goes extinct. The only solution was The Golden Path only made possible by adding the male viewpoint. While this could be construed that Frank was claiming that only the masculine point of view leads to the best outcome, I think that it is the balance between the two that allows for The Golden Path to even exist and work out.

georgiedenbro
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Re: Abomination

Postby georgiedenbro » 30 Jul 2021 09:29

Yeah, Frank has mentioned how he had in mind a kind of sexual metaphor (or tension) in not only narrative elements like the spice cycle and the galactic forces building toward explosion (the jihad) and looking for genetic mingling, but even in the compositional structure of the Dune book itself. And we also see signs of how important the male/female dance is in the events leading up to Duncan and Murbella's mutual imprinting, where the male needed to be combined with the female to balance it and create something completely new. Living off of the past alone is definitely something Frank seems to be warning us against, and so I guess until Odrade learned what she needed to from Leto II, the BG were stuck in a bad place and needed tempering. So it's sort of like the entire sisterhood was possessed by plans made thousands of years in the past, as if they were one giant abomination. Odrade's revelation seems to have been that you need to constantly pivot and adapt, whereas previously their selling point was precisely that their breeding program continued as planned for thousands of years. Well it seems that is exactly the opposite of how you need to think about things in order to move forward.
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Re: Abomination

Postby Naib » 31 Jul 2021 14:43

Jessica's betrayal of the Sisterhood by having Paul could have given them the opportunity to pivot and adapt but chose to try and erase or overpower the problem to continue with their plan instead of evolving. The ensuing millennia might have been drastically different if they had been able to let go of their own history.

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Freakzilla
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Re: Abomination

Postby Freakzilla » 13 Aug 2021 07:34

Paul explains it after he takes the Water of Life:

Paul said: "There is in each of us an ancient force that takes and an
ancient force that gives. A man finds little difficulty facing that place within
himself where the taking force dwells, but it's almost impossible for him to see
into the giving force without changing into something other than man. For a
woman, the situation is reversed."
Jessica looked up, found Chani was staring at her while listening to Paul.
"Do you understand me, Mother?" Paul asked.
She could only nod.
"These things are so ancient within us," Paul said, "that they're ground
into each separate cell of our bodies. We're shaped by such forces. You can say
to yourself, 'Yes, I see how such a thing may be.' But when you look inward and
confront the raw force of your own life unshielded, you see your peril. You see
that this could overwhelm you. The greatest peril to the Giver is the force that
takes. The greatest peril to the Taker is the force that gives. It's as easy to
be overwhelmed by giving as by taking."
"And you, my son," Jessica asked, "are you one who gives or one who takes?"
"I'm at the fulcrum," he said. "I cannot give without taking and I cannot
take without . . . " He broke off, looking to the wall at his right.


The dominant, malignant male ancestors will always overcome a giver (female)
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Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman

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Freakzilla
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Re: Abomination

Postby Freakzilla » 13 Aug 2021 07:37

"Abomination;" the Lady Jessica had said, "our term for the pre-born, has a
long history of bitter experiences behind it. The way of it seems to be that the
inner lives divide. They split into the benign and the malignant. The benign
remain tractable, useful. The malignant appear to unite in one powerful psyche,
trying to take over the living flesh and its consciousness. The process is known
to take considerable time, but its signs are well known."
~Children of Dune
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Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman