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    Why were the Atreides such a threat?

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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 23 Dec 2011 15:46

    Yes but that was after they moved.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Crysknife » 23 Dec 2011 16:23

    Zedwardson wrote:Also I did not see it mentioned (Sorry if I missed it), but the Atreides were left with worn out spice equipment that was about to fall apart, and between breakdowns and buying new parts, the profit of spice mining would fall, and spice mining production shortfalls would damage many great houses CHOAM profits, and that would reduce the popularity of Duke Atreides greatly.


    Yup, this was part of the plan and why the rest of the landsraad looked the other way when House Atreides was attacked.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Kralizec » 15 Mar 2012 01:19

    Streaksy wrote:Dune-Universe statecraft is so hard to mentally encompass. Maybe if Machiavelli comes to this forum he can help.

    This is surely a late reply; however, I'm glad to have found a reference to Machiavelli on the forum. It may be that Frank Herbert knew Machiavelli's works quite well. Some of the evidence is presented in an essay in a collection titled Political Science Fiction. The author describes some of the similarities between the uses of religion in the Dune series and those recommended in Machiavelli's writings. One of the problems Machiavelli concerns himself with is that of "the unarmed prophet," and it seems his analysis of the political uses of religion are the "arms" of an unarmed prophet, arms for "spiritual warfare," as it were. Well, just the other day, I looked up the meaning of "panoplia," the first word of the title of the Panoplia Prophetica. In its widest sense, it refers to all of a Greek hoplite's armor and weaponry, his arms. The Panoplia Prophetica is the arms of the otherwise unarmed prophet. I'll just add that it seems Machiavelli's book, the Discourses on Livy, seems to be Machiavelli's own, real panoplia prophetica, in which much of what he has to say is expressed as if it were merely a commentary on Roman military tactics. For the details, see the Discourses itself and Machiavelli's New Modes and Orders, by Harvey C. Mansfield.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 25 Mar 2012 19:11

    The Atreides were a threat to Shaddam because he provided his people with high quality socialized health care with low interest rates and no pre-conditions. Shaddam knew other planets would complain that Leto made them look bad, so he snuffed out the Atreides so he wouldn't get complaints. :D

    Actually, it was mainly because Leto treated his people, soldiers, and workers better than the other leaders in the Landsraad, or the Emperor himself. Shaddam thought that Leto's benevolence and his growing respectablility among the other houses was an act of defiance. It's an ego thing. He can't stand to see another guy more popular than himself, nor does he like the idea that Leto may be a better leader than he is. If Leto wanted to, he could probably rally the support of the other houses against Shaddam, and become Padisha Emperor himself. Not that Leto really wanted to, but nevertheless, Shaddam feared the possibility. He's got a lot of hubris, and he's got red hair like Donald Trump. (It may be a comb-over, so that may explain his ego. If he wants someone fired, he sends ten legions of Sardaukar!)
    '...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 01 Jul 2012 13:40

    SandRider wrote:^^ >> continued ...

    all the posts after support the main idea, that Shaddam thought Leto was a serious threat ...

    but, as Seamus points out, what is the balance of the threat of Leto versus the threat of the Houses
    discovering the Emperor's Hand in the Harkonnen's total destruction of House Atreides ?


    I think y'all are looking at it wrong. I think it was part of the plan that knowledge of the Emperor's role in destroying the Atreides get out there into the realm. All the better to intimidate the other Houses going forward. The destruction of the Atreides served as an example served by Shaddam to everyone else with the message being: shut up and go along to get along.

    Now of course the Emperor didn't want to be OVERT about it. He wouldn't risk uniting the Landsraad against him by openly defying its conventions. There was a risk that some Sardaukar could be captured and paraded before the Landsraad by some escaped Atreides force (as Paul discusses with Kynes). But this possibility was exceedingly slim with how overwhelming the attack was going to be. I think Shaddam thought the risk was small, while the reward was great: get rid of a threat to his throne, essentially bankrupt the Harkonnens for 50 years (as some other poster wisely speculated) and intimidate all the other Great Houses into toeing the line that Shaddam sets.

    In a sense, this is just like Russian pilots flying missions against American air attacks in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Americans knew this was happening, but they didn't have any incontrovertible proof to show the rest of the world. Likewise, the other Great Houses likely heard the rumors of Sardaukar participation in the overthrow of the Atreides, but without concrete proof, who's going to make that accusation? Who would support someone who didn't have absolute proof, especially when the consequences of such an accusation are likely to be severe (getting placed on the Emperor's shit list)?

    And Leto himself observes that there are no courageous leaders among the other Great Houses. *He* was their leader (unoffically) and by cutting off the head, the Emperor has assured it that he will be the one to rule the body. We look at it and say "why would the Emperor threaten the balance of power between the Landsraad and the Emperor?", but to me that's the wrong question. Why would he NOT? He's the Emperor! He's trying to extend his power any way he can. He's not interested in maintaining balance, he's interested in RULING and WINNING. Assuming that Paul had actually been killed and no Arrakis Rebellion come to pass, Shaddam would've been sitting pretty in the years after the destruction of the Atreides and no one among the Landsraad would've been likely to do a damn thing against him (the Baron's evil machinations notwithstanding).

    SandRider wrote:one the one hand: yes, it is just a plot-device, the set-up for the Story Frank wanted to Tell ...
    the quote I gave above is about a page or so into the book; right after that is Mohiam's statement
    about the Butlerian Jihad; in fact, that could be an interesting discussion - how much basic information
    about the "universe" did Frank pass out in the first ten pages or so? what I mean is, how far in do
    you have to go, knowing what we all know now as the "facts" of the story, before a(n)(intelligent)
    reader would have all the necessary framework to understand what was going on?

    I'd also like to point out here that in this, Frank was as clumsy as anybody else of his caliber;
    {nice caveat, SandRider}[well, thank you, sometimes folks don't fully understand what I'm saying]
    {maybe you ought to try a little plainer English ?}[naw, fuck that ... BTW, I think the better word-choice
    woulda been "disclaimer" instead of caveat]{Hmmm ... maybe you're right; but neither seem to be
    the exact right-word}[I know, I know ... shit like that happens all the time ...]

    "The Great Revolt took away a crutch," she said. "It forced human minds to
    develop. Schools were started to train human talents. "
    "Bene Gesserit schools?"
    She nodded. "We have two chief survivors of those ancient schools: the Bene
    Gesserit and the Spacing Guild. The Guild, so we think, emphasizes almost pure
    mathematics. Bene Gesserit performs another function."


    I would think this would have already been covered in Paul's education, and that
    Frank could have found a subtler way to inform us about the "ancient schools" ...

    maybe it's overlooked on a first-read; I don't know, now ...
    because now, after reading this first chapter so many times (I think it's my favorite;
    I know I've marveled at how almost-perfect it is, the sheer quantity of things that
    are introduced, mostly well-done, with a few rougher patches, like this one) I find
    this one little exchange grating - almost like a cliched sci-fi gush of information...


    I think Paul knew about the ancient schools, but he didn't know what the Bene Gesserit purpose was. His mother didn't tell him and the Bene Gesserit certainly didn't advertise it. You can see that if you complete the quote from that passage:

    She nodded. "We have two chief survivors of those ancient schools: the Bene
    Gesserit and the Spacing Guild. The Guild, so we think, emphasizes almost pure
    mathematics. Bene Gesserit performs another function."

    "Politics," he said.

    "Kull wahad!" the old woman said. She sent a hard glance at Jessica.

    "I've not told him, Your Reverence," Jessica said.

    The Reverend Mother returned her attention to Paul. "You did that on remarkably few clues," she said. "Politics indeed."


    SandRider wrote:on the other hand, before that:
    "He's awake and listening to us," said the old woman. "Sly little rascal."

    "Sleep well, you sly little rascal," said the old woman. "Tomorrow you'll
    need all your faculties to meet my gom jabbar."

    Is a gom jabbar something of Arrakis I must know before we go there? he
    wondered.
    He mouthed her strange words: Gom jabbar . . . Kwisatz Haderach.
    There had been so many things to learn.

    Paul sat up, hugged his knees. "What's a gom jabbar?"
    Again, the training she had given him exposed her almost invisible
    hesitation, a nervous betrayal he felt as fear.
    Jessica crossed to the window, flung wide the draperies, stared across the
    river orchards toward Mount Syubi. "You'll learn about . . . the gom jabbar soon
    enough," she said.
    He heard the fear in her voice and wondered at it.
    Jessica spoke without turning. "Reverend Mother is waiting in my morning
    room. Please hurry."


    this was excellent, and how it's done; a strange non-English word, a tension-building,
    a secret, a secret laced with fear and apprehension ... and in the overall context, the
    gom jabbar would not have been something Paul could have known about; not from
    Thufir or Duncan or Yueh ... and I think Jessica would have had little to no reason to
    tell him about it at this stage of his training; in fact, altho Mohaim tells Jessica "You
    know it must be done.", I've always had the feeling that Jessica believed it could have
    been done later, after she had further trained Paul; or possibly, depending on the future
    unknowns ... not at all ...

    but also, does Paul's age, fifteen, have something to do with it ?
    if so, then Jessica might have known that day was coming, and prepared Paul as much as she could;
    and here is another example of Frank's set-up, establishing Paul's age by Mohiam's comment on how
    small he is ... we are informed by the appropriate dialog between characters ...


    I think Jessica doesn't tell Paul about the gom jabbar test because then the test would lose some of its meaning. The testee has to be unaware of what the test consists of in order for it to be fully valid. If you know you have to stick your hand in a box and endure pain, but that your hand is ok, that's worlds different from sticking your hand in a box, experiencing a pain like it's burning off and NOT KNOWING that it actually isn't, and yet still holding your hand inside the box!

    Also, Paul was unable to tell anyone about the gom jabbar test so perhaps Jessica also had this prohibition placed on her (though I think that unlikely... I think she keeps the Bene Gesserit secrets as much as she can, since that would be completely ingrained in her in her training).

    SandRider wrote:and again : "If only she 'd borne us a girl as she was ordered to do!"
    without yet fully understanding the Bene Gesserit Breeding Program, we understand right here
    the Witches issue orders to their people regarding the sex of their children, and also, that
    Jessica refused that order ... and that the Bene Gesserit took this disobedience in stride ...
    possibly ... atleast we know the baby boy Jessica birthed wasn't killed right off, nor was Jessica herself ...
    because of her status and the baby boy's feudal rights as a Duke's Son, or because the Bene Gesserit
    just don't operate like that ? .... or now ... 15 years later, and we soon learn that the gom jabbar is
    potentially fatal, and Jessica shows real fear for her son's life and relief when she re-enters the
    room ( My son lives ...), could the entire "human or animal" rationale for the test be subterfuge
    to allow The Emperor's Truthsayer inside the Atreides defenses and hold a poisoned needle
    to the neck of the Ducal Heir ? (and where the fuck was Hawat when all this was discussed ? is that old
    bastard even aware Mohiam is on Caladan ? does he have any idea who Mohiam is ?)

    and so on and so forth ...

    so ... have a sorta-idea about how Frank thought and worked, I'm thinking that while he straight-out
    tells us atleast one of the motivations for Shaddam's desire to destroy Leto, I think he held the
    general over-all ideas in his mind so deeply that they "creep out" in the dialog, maybe not even in his
    conscious intentions ... I also think Frank liked to fuck with people - how many re-reads did it take
    for you to catch that :

    "The original Bene Gesserit school was directed by those who saw the need of a thread of continuity in human affairs. They saw there could be no such continuity without separating human
    stock from animal stock -- for breeding purposes."
    The old woman's words abruptly lost their special sharpness for Paul. He
    felt an offense against what his mother called his instinct for rightness. It
    wasn't that Reverend Mother lied to him. She obviously believed what she said.
    It was something deeper, something tied to his terrible purpose.


    was the foreshadowing of the reason for the Jihad, a breaking of the Bene Gesserit's
    hold on human genes, the "mingling" that itself is never directly spelled out, but only implied ?

    there is no way, in the first few pages, to understand the significance of this passage,
    unless you are a Top-Notch Intellect with Total and Complete Recall Memory and Extraordinary
    Comprehension to reach back to here, in the midst of all the other themes and ideas flying at you,
    and remember, oh yeah, Paul thought the Breeding Program was Bogus from day One ...

    or some shit like that there ...


    I don't think the mention of the BG Breeding Program presages the jihad at all. The BG were not controlling ALL of humanity's gene-sharing, just the particular bloodlines they cared about. The real reason for the prevention of gene-mingling was the Guild's monopoly on space travel and the feudal system of the Imperium that discouraged, and largely prevented, off-world travel and emigration by the peons.

    Paul thinks the BG program is wrong because its MORALLY wrong. It violates his Atreides morals. Which brings up another point that Paul was largely limited by his Atreides morals, the "Atreides Code". He could not crush his enemies utterly because of his moral foundation that was imprinted on him from his birth. Leto II had no such limitations, having been one of the pre-born and thus BEYOND the Atreides moral code (he knew countless lives that had operated quite nicely without the Atreides code). Leto II could take the Golden Path because he wasn't shackled to a moral altar that would've prevented him from doing some of the nasty things he had to do (like oppressing humanity for thousands of years!).

    SandRider wrote:anyway, I think this topic can be beat to death and re-animated and beat on some more;
    for some reason, it catches my attention on several levels ... and will require an assemblage
    and analysis of every passage in the first book even remotely related ... and there's alot of
    flashback and whatever in Messiah and Children ... Leto II had some opinions, too ...
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Outis » 03 Jul 2012 07:23

    jakoye wrote:The BG were not controlling ALL of humanity's gene-sharing, just the particular bloodlines they cared about. The real reason for the prevention of gene-mingling was the Guild's monopoly on space travel and the feudal system of the Imperium that discouraged, and largely prevented, off-world travel and emigration by the peons.

    Yes but hopefully you can see that the BG, the Guild share the same impetus and work together. It's spelled out in the first pages of Dune if I recall correctly.
    The control the BG exert on a few bloodlines is an analogue for the less stringent restrictions on breeding between the divergent human populations subject to the selective pressures particular to each planet and regime.
    Paul's role is to bring down both.

    jakoye wrote:Paul thinks the BG program is wrong because its MORALLY wrong. It violates his Atreides morals. Which brings up another point that Paul was largely limited by his Atreides morals, the "Atreides Code". He could not crush his enemies utterly because of his moral foundation that was imprinted on him from his birth.

    The text doesn't support this.
    A moral code isn't instinctual (as Jessica calls it) or mysterious (as Paul sees it).
    And how do you figure Paul couldn't crush his ennemies? Not only did he do just that but, for all his purported moral code he was worse than Hitler (he says so himself).

    The Atreides were manipulative and brutal despots.
    You seem to have fallen for Herbert's narrative bias. I think he intended you to see the trap after you fell for it and learn from your mistake.

    In case you're wondering, I'm the same Outis.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 03 Jul 2012 08:34

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:The BG were not controlling ALL of humanity's gene-sharing, just the particular bloodlines they cared about. The real reason for the prevention of gene-mingling was the Guild's monopoly on space travel and the feudal system of the Imperium that discouraged, and largely prevented, off-world travel and emigration by the peons.

    Yes but hopefully you can see that the BG, the Guild share the same impetus and work together. It's spelled out in the first pages of Dune if I recall correctly.
    The control the BG exert on a few bloodlines is an analogue for the less stringent restrictions on breeding between the divergent human populations subject to the selective pressures particular to each planet and regime.
    Paul's role is to bring down both.


    But there is no active plan by the Guild and the Bene Gesserit to prevent the widespread inter-mingling of genes among the human race. It's simply a consequence of the planetary feudal system this story takes place in, along with the limited technology that allows the Guild a monopoly on space travel. There's no "plan" there.

    Thus I maintain that the Bene Gesserit breeding program has nothing to do with the species needing a jihad to shake things up.

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:Paul thinks the BG program is wrong because its MORALLY wrong. It violates his Atreides morals. Which brings up another point that Paul was largely limited by his Atreides morals, the "Atreides Code". He could not crush his enemies utterly because of his moral foundation that was imprinted on him from his birth.

    The text doesn't support this.


    You mean your interpretation of the text doesn't support this, not that the "text doesn't support this". That's all we're doing here, interpreting what Frank Herbert wrote. None of us can know "the truth" for the things that are not explicitly spelled out, because we were not in Frank's head.

    Of course, I think my interpretation is the correct one, but you are free to disagree. I am no God Emperor! :D

    [after the Rev. Mother Mohiam tells Paul about the Bene Gesserit breeding program]
    The old woman's words abruptly lost their special sharpness for Paul. He felt an offence against what his mother called his instinct for rightness. It wasn't that the Reverend Mother lied to him. She obviously believed what she was said. It was something deeper, something tied to his terrible purpose.
    He said: "But my mother tells me many Bene Gesserit of the schools don't know their ancestry."
    "The genetic lines are always in our records," she said. "Your mother knows that either she's of Bene Gesserit descent or her stock was acceptable in itself."
    "Then why couldn't she know who her parents are?"
    "Some do... Many don't. We might, for example, have wanted to breed her to a close relative to set up a dominant in some genetic trait. We have many reasons."
    Again, Paul felt the offence against rightness. He said: "You take a lot on yourselves."
    The Reverend Mother stared at him, wondering: Did I hear criticism in his voice? "We carry a heavy burden," she said.


    To me, it's quite clear that Paul is offended by the BG breeding program because of the BG's hubris and cold-heartedness. They're essentially playing God here and Paul, at this point in his life, thinks that's wrong. Obviously, he changes his mind on a few things later in his life, but don't we all?! :)

    Outis wrote:A moral code isn't instinctual (as Jessica calls it) or mysterious (as Paul sees it).


    I disagree. I think if you are raised with a consistent moral code, where everyone around you is showing examples of it and it's not just "for show", a moral code in that case would become instinctual (or near enough that there is little difference). I would agree that nurture matters more than nature when it comes to morals (such as the musings by Count and Lady Fenring on what Feyd-Rautha could have been if he'd been raised an Atreides), but for Paul, the nurture was a consistent indoctrination of the Atreides Code.

    Outis wrote:And how do you figure Paul couldn't crush his ennemies? Not only did he do just that but, for all his purported moral code he was worse than Hitler (he says so himself).


    Because Paul repeatedly didn't utterly crush his enemies. His refusal to use the paralyzing word on Feyd-Rautha in his duel with him was an example of this. There was absolutely NO REASON for him not to use this advantage other than that it would violate his moral code and sense of "fair play". His generous terms to the Emperor at the end of Dune is another easy example of him taking the boot off the neck of his enemies (and by letting House Corrino off the hook, he set up the danger for his children in Children of Dune), but it's also true that he practiced restraint with the Bene Gesserit and the Guild, even though he knew they plotted against him. He could have crushed the rebellion at any time, but he knew if he did so, that path led to "bad things" (although how things could've turned out worse than they did in Dune Messiah (Chani dead and Paul blinded), we'll never know).

    Yes, the jihad he unleashed killed billions, but that was not Paul's wish. He did everything he could to stop the jihad from happening (short of killing himself, although I believe one of his visions saw that the jihad would continue even if he died... at least with him alive, he felt he could rein it back a bit). And the fact that Paul felt guilty about what the jihad had done proves that he was NOT "worse than Hitler", whatever the statistics said.

    Outis wrote:The Atreides were manipulative and brutal despots.
    You seem to have fallen for Herbert's narrative bias. I think he intended you to see the trap after you fell for it and learn from your mistake.


    I don't think I "fell" for anything. The Atreides are CLEARLY shown as the "good guys" at the beginnings of the first Dune novel. Yes, they're not freedom-loving democrats as we would prefer, but within the Dune universe, they are certainly on the right side of the moral meter, especially in comparison to their enemies. I agree that one of Herbert's points was that there are no perfect leaders and, by extension, no perfect families/nations, but I don't think he was duping us at the beginning. The Atreides WERE the good guys. How the good guys evolved into the "not quite so good guys", and why they had to, is one of the main story arcs of the first four Dune books.

    Indeed, the hamstringing that a moral code places upon your ability to utterly crush your enemies is, I think, also one of the overarching points of the novel. The Baron was more powerful than the Duke because he was willing to do ANYTHING to destroy the Duke. Leto II was more powerful than Paul because he largely discarded the Atreides moral code that Paul couldn't in order to implement the Golden Path. Paul saw the Golden Path (I believe) and rejected it, because his moral code prevented him from taking that path. Plus, he was already sick to death of the destruction wrought by the jihad in his name and the religious establishment that followed. I don't think Paul could've endured 3,000 more years of tyrannizing humanity. Leto II had no such qualms, since he was not imprinted from birth with the Atreides code, being pre-born with all his ancestor's memories, including the Baron's!

    Leto II did what had to be done because he believe the end (the survival of the species) justified the means (tyranny and oppression for thousands of years). Duncan Idaho, a relic from Paul's time and also imprinted with the original Atreides Code, ends up helping to kill the God Emperor because everything he's doing and has done violates Duncan's ingrained sense of right and wrong. Duncan did not see "the big picture" (and really couldn't, since Leto never shared with him the spice vision to see the Golden Path, although he did try to explain it to him with words) and was limited by his moral righteousness. The dangers of moral righteousness, as well then, is one of the themes of the books, IMO.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 03 Jul 2012 08:55

    The BG breeding program HELPED the race stagnate.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Outis » 03 Jul 2012 09:18

    jakoye wrote:But there is no active plan by the Guild and the Bene Gesserit to prevent the widespread inter-mingling of genes among the human race. ... There's no "plan" there.

    In the Dune universe, there are plans (or what looks like plans) no individual has devised or is even conscious of and which are nevertheless implemented by groups.

    jakoye wrote:Thus I maintain that the Bene Gesserit breeding program has nothing to do with the species needing a jihad to shake things up.

    What then is the "terrible purpose"?

    jakoye wrote:I don't think I "fell" for anything. The Atreides are CLEARLY shown as the "good guys" at the beginnings of the first Dune novel.

    Yes. And Herbert clearly wrote "All of this is couched in a form which makes Paul and his people admirable. I am their advocate." and so forth.
    You're right: we don't know what went on in Herbert's mind. But we know what he said and wrote about it...
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 03 Jul 2012 09:29

    Freakzilla wrote:The BG breeding program HELPED the race stagnate.


    Wow. I don't think this is true at all. The BG breeding program produced some remarkable individuals, including Paul, Jessica, Alia, Feyd-Rautha, Count Fenring, Leto II, Ghanima, Farad'n. And many of these were "superhuman" in some ways.

    That doesn't sound like stagnation to me.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Outis » 03 Jul 2012 09:41

    The breeding program produced exceptional individuals. The point was to produce a super-hero.
    Yet the "race" as a whole (which the BG apparently neglected or failed to understand) stagnated.
    In the Dune universe, the species is more than the sum of its parts.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 03 Jul 2012 10:01

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:But there is no active plan by the Guild and the Bene Gesserit to prevent the widespread inter-mingling of genes among the human race. ... There's no "plan" there.

    In the Dune universe, there are plans (or what looks like plans) no individual has devised or is even conscious of and which are nevertheless implemented by groups.


    Then I guess you and I have different definitions of the word "plan". Unless you're invoking "God's plan" here, which I don't think you are.

    In my view, the "stagnation" of the race is a CONSEQUENCE of the order prevalent in the Dune universe. There are entities that desire to maintain that order so that they can maintain their power, such as the Guild and the Bene Gesserit, and they have plans and goals to do just that, but the lack of inter-mingling of the general population is not part of that plan, in my opinion.

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:Thus I maintain that the Bene Gesserit breeding program has nothing to do with the species needing a jihad to shake things up.

    What then is the "terrible purpose"?


    We don't know. Paul doesn't know. We suppose, later on, that his purpose is to unleash the jihad that would allow the inter-mingling of the species, but that may just be Paul imposing that cast to his life as he looks back on it. Oftentimes events happen in our lives and only later we cast them with meaning, even if these events had no meaning at the time.

    I think Paul was raised with the sense that he would one day inherit enormous responsibility as the leader of the Atreides. In a sense, he's been told that he's special since Day 1. Couple that with the fact that he actually *is* special, the result of a breeding program over countless generations, and you have a boy who feels he's destined for great things, but doesn't yet know exactly what that entails or even how to tap into his great powers.

    Perhaps Paul reacts the way he does to the BG breeding program because he feels that he should be calling the shots instead of the Bene Gesserit, because he believes he will make more moral choices (and thus moral superiority rears its head again).

    Contrast that with Leto II's seizure and continuance of the Bene Gesserit breeding program and the ending of the jihad and its random distribution of genetic intermingling. Leto had no such qualms about manipulating people as Paul did. Paul manipulated in spades, but he didn't like doing it (which I claim was because of his upbringing and his "instinctual" morality). Leto undid everything Paul had done only to unleash an EVEN GREATER mingling of the genes by inducing the Scattering. Paul's jihad had not been enough to prevent extinction, so Leto had to go one better.

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:I don't think I "fell" for anything. The Atreides are CLEARLY shown as the "good guys" at the beginnings of the first Dune novel.

    Yes. And Herbert clearly wrote "All of this is couched in a form which makes Paul and his people admirable. I am their advocate." and so forth.
    You're right: we don't know what went on in Herbert's mind. But we know what he said and wrote about it...


    I think we agree here more than disagree. Herbert was clearly interested in writing a traditional "coming of age" story and he wrote it well. But he was also interested in showing Act II: what happens after the great hero wins the day? That's what makes the Dune saga so engrossing... we get to see the wonderful rise and revel in that and then also see the meteoric fall and be touched, and chastened, by that.

    Just a brilliant piece of story-telling, I'd say. :)
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 03 Jul 2012 10:05

    Outis wrote:The breeding program produced exceptional individuals. The point was to produce a super-hero.
    Yet the "race" as a whole (which the BG apparently neglected or failed to understand) stagnated.
    In the Dune universe, the species is more than the sum of its parts.


    I'm not arguing that the race as a whole wasn't stagnant. Herbert clearly sets that out. What I'm arguing against is that the Bene Gesserit breeding program CONTRIBUTED TO that stagnation.

    In fact, it seems to me that the Bene Gesserit breeding program was the only thing that was randomizing the gene pool of the Dune universe. How likely would it otherwise have been for a daughter of Baron Harkonnen to mate with Duke Leto???
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Outis » 03 Jul 2012 10:52

    jakoye wrote:Then I guess you and I have different definitions of the word "plan". Unless you're invoking "God's plan" here, which I don't think you are.

    Your definitions also differ from Herbert's. In the original Dune, he used "plan" in the same way I just did (in one of the appendixes for instance).

    I don't know where you're going by invoking God in this context.

    jakoye wrote:What I'm arguing against is that the Bene Gesserit breeding program CONTRIBUTED TO that stagnation.

    In fact, it seems to me that the Bene Gesserit breeding program was the only thing that was randomizing the gene pool of the Dune universe. How likely would it otherwise have been for a daughter of Baron Harkonnen to mate with Duke Leto???

    The BG's plan was to openly marry a Harkonned with the Duke's daughter is it not? So such a mating musn't have been all that unlikely.

    Regardless, I agree that in the end the breeding program didn't contribute to that stagnation. On the contrary: it produced the means by which the stagnation was brought to an end. But that was unexpected.
    And the plan had been operating for quite a while and had evidently produced a great many of that society's rulers. So it did affect the social order in the meantime.
    I don't recall any textual support for this but I assume the reason they used the ruling families in the plan is that the BG wanted the intermediary products in charge (otherwise they could have done the whole thing in a controlled environment and spared themselves a lot of trouble). And since the purpose of the whole BG enterprise was security by the way of stagnation, the obvious reason for putting the intermediary products of their breeding program in charge was to make the social edifice more secure and therefore stagnant.

    The program was also not randomizing as you claim. Quite the contrary: Mohiam talked about deliberately segregating strains unlike th segregation caused by the harsh controls on space travel (which wasn't deliberate, I agree). That's a mechanically-minded approach, not an approach in accordance with the principles of nature.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 04 Jul 2012 16:38

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:Then I guess you and I have different definitions of the word "plan". Unless you're invoking "God's plan" here, which I don't think you are.

    Your definitions also differ from Herbert's. In the original Dune, he used "plan" in the same way I just did (in one of the appendixes for instance).

    I don't know where you're going by invoking God in this context.


    Well my definition of a "plan" is the standard one: a plan is a series of actions a person or a group conceives of in order to accomplish a goal. If you're claiming that there was a plan with no human agent, then what else can we call that except "God's hand/plan"?

    I re-read the appendixes and I think I see the passage you must be referring to in Appendix III: Bene Gesserit Motives and Purposes.

    In the face of these facts, one is led the inescapable conclusion that the inefficient Bene Gesserit behavior in this affair was a product of an even higher plan of which they were completely unaware!


    Now reading the text, it seems like the plan referred to here could represent either Paul's plan or God's plan. I guess I lean towards it being Paul's plan, because I'm an atheist, but that may not be what Herbert meant.

    There is one other possibility that I just thought of: Herbert was a believer in Carl Jung's theories of a universal consciousness. And I believe he alludes to that in the book as "the species" feeling the collective need to intermingle once again via jihad. Perhaps that's the "higher plan" he's referring to here?

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:What I'm arguing against is that the Bene Gesserit breeding program CONTRIBUTED TO that stagnation.

    In fact, it seems to me that the Bene Gesserit breeding program was the only thing that was randomizing the gene pool of the Dune universe. How likely would it otherwise have been for a daughter of Baron Harkonnen to mate with Duke Leto???

    The BG's plan was to openly marry a Harkonned with the Duke's daughter is it not? So such a mating musn't have been all that unlikely.


    I don't remember seeing that anywhere in the book. The plan was to MATE the Atreides daughter with Feyd-Rautha, but I don't remember seeing anything about attempting to marry them. Given the state of affairs between the two houses, it would have been impossible to marry an Atreides to a Harkonnen and the Bene Gesserit would've known this. I'm not sure how they would have accomplished the mating, but maybe the daughter would've been trained as a Bene Gesserit and convinced to do her duty for the Sisterhood.

    Outis wrote:Regardless, I agree that in the end the breeding program didn't contribute to that stagnation. On the contrary: it produced the means by which the stagnation was brought to an end. But that was unexpected.
    And the plan had been operating for quite a while and had evidently produced a great many of that society's rulers. So it did affect the social order in the meantime.
    I don't recall any textual support for this but I assume the reason they used the ruling families in the plan is that the BG wanted the intermediary products in charge (otherwise they could have done the whole thing in a controlled environment and spared themselves a lot of trouble). And since the purpose of the whole BG enterprise was security by the way of stagnation, the obvious reason for putting the intermediary products of their breeding program in charge was to make the social edifice more secure and therefore stagnant.


    We don't know the extent of the Bene Gesserit breeding program and whom it drew from. I would be surprised if it drew only from the royal classes, but none of us can say either way since it's not spelled out.

    It's never stated that the Bene Gesserit were using their breeding program to produce people who would maintain the stability of the Dune universe. I suppose it's possible, but this would seem like a distraction from the main goal of producing a Kwisatz Haderach.

    Outis wrote:The program was also not randomizing as you claim. Quite the contrary: Mohiam talked about deliberately segregating strains unlike th segregation caused by the harsh controls on space travel (which wasn't deliberate, I agree). That's a mechanically-minded approach, not an approach in accordance with the principles of nature.


    Yes, the Bene Gesserit breeding program did not produce as much genetic diversity as would be produced if space travel were accessible to the masses and planetary populations could freely intermingle. However, the BG breeding program certainly introduced more genetic diversity than the otherwise static Dune universe was experiencing before the breeding program was started.

    Let's put it this way: Planet Foo has a population that never leaves the planet and thus interbreeds only among itself. Planet Bar is in a similar situation. A Bene Gesserit sister comes along, from Wallach IX let's say, and as part of the breeding program produces a child with a man from Planet Foo. The child of that union then, when of age, mates with someone on Planet Bar. Tell me, are the populations of planets Foo and Bar more or less genetically-diverse because of the breeding program (yes, I know it's a infinitesimal difference, but it's still there, right?)?
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 Jul 2012 17:51

    I think the higher plan was the human race's.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Outis » 05 Jul 2012 13:02

    jakoye wrote:Now reading the text, it seems like the plan referred to here could represent either Paul's plan or God's plan. I guess I lean towards it being Paul's plan, because I'm an atheist, but that may not be what Herbert meant.
    ...
    There is one other possibility that I just thought of: Herbert was a believer in Carl Jung's theories of a universal consciousness. And I believe he alludes to that in the book as "the species" feeling the collective need to intermingle once again via jihad. Perhaps that's the "higher plan" he's referring to here?

    If it's Paul's plan, it's a plan made in the future influencing its past. I don't see how you can support the notion that individuals have the power to influence the past in the Dune universe.
    You're not too far off with Jung but Dune is a lot more materialist.

    Freakzilla spelled out the most obvious inferrence that can be made from the text.
    I don't think the agent needs to be the whole species or only the species but it's the most obvious inferrence.

    Dune doesn't bring up God as an agent, except in commonplace metaphorical phrases. I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up. Why does it matter whether or not you're an "atheist"?

    jakoye wrote:I don't remember seeing that anywhere in the book. The plan was to MATE the Atreides daughter with Feyd-Rautha, but I don't remember seeing anything about attempting to marry them. Given the state of affairs between the two houses, it would have been impossible to marry an Atreides to a Harkonnen and the Bene Gesserit would've known this.

    "An Atreides daughter could’ve been wed to a Harkonnen heir and sealed the breach. You’ve hopelessly complicated matters. We may lose both bloodlines now."

    jakoye wrote:the BG breeding program certainly introduced more genetic diversity than the otherwise static Dune universe was experiencing before the breeding program was started.

    I'm not sure where you get this stuff from.

    Genetic diversity isn't the issue anyway. It's un-natural selection.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 05 Jul 2012 14:01

    Outis wrote:If it's Paul's plan, it's a plan made in the future influencing its past. I don't see how you can support the notion that individuals have the power to influence the past in the Dune universe.


    No. The line you refer to in the appendix is talking about how "a higher plan" (unattributed to anyone) interfered with the performance of the Bene Gesserit during Paul's rise to power. I contend that one possible source of that higher plan is Paul himself. This, to me at least, seems more logical than some nebulous "species awareness" interfering with the BG's ability to reason and react accordingly to the clues they received about Paul and his likeliness of being the KH.

    However, my biases towards attributing "plans" to human agents is freely admitted. Herbert may very well have been referring this higher plan that he speaks of to this "species-wide consciousness" that Freakzilla and others have mentioned.

    Outis wrote:Dune doesn't bring up God as an agent, except in commonplace metaphorical phrases.


    Well, the Fremen do have Shai-Halud. And there was the God Emperor, but later. There's also the Orange Catholic Bible and an Appendix on its creation, so "God" plays a part, though, yes, there are no claims that there is an active God in the Duneverse.

    Outis wrote:I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up.


    I originally brought it up because you didn't specify whose "higher plan" you thought Herbert was referring to. I see plans as having active agents creating them and setting them in motion. Lack of attribution of a plan's author makes it seem like someone is saying "Well, that's just God's plan" (although I specifically said that I didn't believe that's what you were claiming).

    Since then I've "brought it up" because you asked questions about why I brought it up. I think I'll jump off this particular merry-go-round now. :)

    Outis wrote:Why does it matter whether or not you're an "atheist"?


    Because I wanted to assure you I wasn't trying to inject God into the Dune universe. I only introduced the concept because there was no source for this "higher plan" and often when people speak of higher plans, they're speaking of God's plans (ex: "I don't know why Mary fell down a well and died, but it must be all part of Gawd's plan").

    Outis wrote:"An Atreides daughter could’ve been wed to a Harkonnen heir and sealed the breach. You’ve hopelessly complicated matters. We may lose both bloodlines now."


    Well that's a laugh riot. The Bene Gesserit truly were fooling themselves if they thought they could marry an Atreides to a Harkonnen. That would be akin to trying to marry a Hatfield to a McCoy. No wonder they failed so epically.

    Outis wrote:
    jakoye wrote:the BG breeding program certainly introduced more genetic diversity than the otherwise static Dune universe was experiencing before the breeding program was started.

    I'm not sure where you get this stuff from.


    Logic, as I showed in my example.

    Outis wrote:Genetic diversity isn't the issue anyway. It's un-natural selection.


    I'm confused. I make a claim that the Bene Gesserit breeding program increased genetic diversity in the Dune universe, you say "no it didn't", I give an example of how it did and then you say "that's not the issue". :?
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 Jul 2012 14:19

    I say the BG Breeding program contributed to the race's stagnation because they were inbreeding only the royalty. I imagine the Fremen raping and pillaging everyone indiscriminately during the jihad. This was a fix for that.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 05 Jul 2012 14:25

    Outis wrote:Genetic diversity isn't the issue anyway. It's un-natural selection.


    Another thing... I don't understand what you mean by "un-natural selection"? Are the Bene Gesserit not part of nature?

    I suppose you mean "natural selection would select differently if the Bene Gesserit breeding program didn't exist", but since the Bene Gesserit are part of nature, what they're doing is surely PART of natural selection. Removing humanity or its effects on nature from the equation doesn't make natural selection any more natural.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 05 Jul 2012 14:30

    Freakzilla wrote:I say the BG Breeding program contributed to the race's stagnation because they were inbreeding only the royalty. I imagine the Fremen raping and pillaging everyone indiscriminately during the jihad. This was a fix for that.


    Yes. We disagree on the BG breeding program only including royalty (I don't think we have the information to make that claim and that would seem to be an inefficient way to run a breeding program, limiting your stock to one, isolated population group), but I understand your point.

    However, in one sense your point is not logical, because how could the Bene Gesserit breeding program produce a series of superhuman beings and yet still be accused of contributing to the race's stagnation?
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 Jul 2012 16:22

    Is there an example of them breeding among the fraufreluches?

    What good would a super-being be if he didn't have any political power?

    I could be a super being, but I'd still have to bum rides off people.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 05 Jul 2012 16:37

    Freakzilla wrote:Is there an example of them breeding among the fraufreluches?

    What good would a super-being be if he didn't have any political power?

    I could be a super being, but I'd still have to bum rides off people.


    I'm pretty sure they kept Germans out of the breeding program. Y'know, the whole "master race" thing. Big can o' worms.

    Nah, I wasn't saying you were WRONG (in capital letters, no less), I was just saying that, to me, it seems like a poor way to run a breeding program if you confine it to royalty. I mean, if you want to produce a great writer, you can mate Lord Byron's daughter (sounds royal) with Frank Herbert (not royal, although he for sure fuck's sake *should* have been knighted) and produce some sweet literary talent or you could mate Prince Charles with Marie Antoinette and produce the KJA abomination. With bigger ears.

    Besides, their breeding program went on for thousands of years. I'm sure there were plenty of times where they said "ah, wouldn't it be nice if our superhero could swim like Michael Phelps" and then a generation later "our superhero-to-be kind of looks like a retard now... get some Jennifer Aniston in that line now!"

    It's a slow news day.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 Jul 2012 16:58

    They have BG women that are non-royal, however, if they wanted to put their KH on the throne, he would have to have royal blood.
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    Re: Why were the Atreides such a threat?

    Postby jakoye » 05 Jul 2012 17:08

    Freakzilla wrote:They have BG women that are non-royal, however, if they wanted to put their KH on the throne, he would have to have royal blood.


    Yes, eventually, when they're getting close to their goal, they'd have to ensure their breeding program was ingrained in the royal bloodlines if they wanted to put the KH on the throne. I don't know that they *did* want to do that (put him on the throne), but if that was so, yeah, can't have Joe Schmo from New Mexico as the apex of your breeding program.
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