Dune wrote:"Paul!" The Duke frowned at his son. "Knowing where the trap is -- that's
the first step in evading it. This is like single combat, Son, only on a larger
scale -- a feint within a feint within a feint . . . seemingly without end.
Dune wrote:"Thufir, old friend," Paul said, "as you can see, my back is toward no door."
"The universe is full of doors," Hawat said.
We have here a very disturbing fact, which Paul may or may not even yet realize when Hawat made this statement. For anyone trying to control the universe, to control others, there will be opposition and traps laid. Leto gives us some simple wisdom: that foreseeing the trap will help to avoid it. A prescient is certainly someone well-equipped to foresee just about anything. But what if the traps are numerous, and sometimes subtle? At the end of Dune Paul seems to believe that he has a firm grip on knowing how the future will proceed; he tells Thufir that his back is towards no door, that no one will get the jump on him, he's got everything worked out. Thufir's response may seem like typical mentat paranoia that there is always missing data, but I think Thufir knew all too well what a prescient oracle's thought process would be, just as Hayt later did when he counseled Paul. "The universe is full of doors" suggests to me that there is no escape from traps, there is no "solution to danger" even for someone with perfect foresight. Paul peers into and takes control of the future to such an extent that by Dune Messiah even Alia is squeezed out of being able to see the future. The only way to avoid every single possible upcoming trap is to see every possible path and choose the one where the traps are avoided; to lock in a future. We've referred to this here as falling into the Prescient Trap, where Paul and everyone else are locked into a future he's seen and he becomes little more than an automaton proceeding through moments that have already been lived in his mind.
A trap is meant to stop your action, to prevent movement. The prescient trap stops all action and movement except for the required path, it takes away all options from the oracle and even the sense of living in the present. In avoiding all traps one enters the greatest trap of all - living a pre-set machine-like existence, bent on control without variation or surprise. What can "the universe is full of doors" really mean except that the only way to avoid all traps is to try to lock down the universe itself; Paul later learns that any such attempt is illusory and that the universe will always get you back in spades. I think that Thufir may have been trying to warn Paul about the same thing that Hayt was telling him in Messiah, the same thing Paul came to know: Disengage! Leave it alone, let things be.
Dune Messiah wrote: "I ask for the Zensunni and get the mentat!" Paul said. "Very well! Play my
vision through your logic, mentat. Analyze it and reduce it to mere words laid out for burial."
"Burial, indeed," the ghola said. "You run from death. You strain at the
next instant, refuse to live here and now. Augury! What a crutch for an Emperor!"
And then this:
Dune Messiah wrote:"Can you collect chaos?" the ghola asked. "We Zensunni say: 'Not collecting,
that is the ultimate gathering.' What can you gather without gathering yourself?"
"I'm deviled by a vision and you spew nonsense!" Paul raged. "What do you know of prescience?"
"I've seen the oracle at work," the ghola said. "I've seen those who seek
signs and omens for their individual destiny. They fear what they seek."
In escaping all traps one traps oneself. In defeating all enemies one becomes one's own greatest enemy. In controlling the future one loses control of the present, and in guaranteeing a result the reason to achieve the result vanishes. Disengage!