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    Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

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    Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 10 Oct 2015 11:33

    Suppose that what Frank described in his books could be a possible future of the mankind. Would you like to live in such a future?
    Personally, I would not like to live in such a future. Too violent, too full of mysticism. Basically it is a step backwards compared to the present, in my opinion.
    But if someone would like this future, I am curious why.
    That's why I've opened this topic.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 10 Oct 2015 16:39

    FH did not write a future as some kind of hopeful version of how things should be. It's not an idealistic series. He himself said that Dune was a work of prediction. Some of his scientific guesses in the series may not turn out to be accurate, but on the political side that was simply the way he saws things going far down the road.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 Oct 2015 18:35

    Yeah, I want to live in a dystopia. :dance:
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 11 Oct 2015 10:39

    Well, my country experienced a dystopia in the recent past, so I reject it with a passion.
    @Freakzilla, probably you would like to live in a dystopia if you were a member of the high class, otherwise I'm not so sure that you would like it.
    @georgiedenbro: so, Frank was making a projection about the real future? I would say that it is a rather bleak future.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 11 Oct 2015 11:44

    DragEgusku wrote:@georgiedenbro: so, Frank was making a projection about the real future? I would say that it is a rather bleak future.


    Dune tells us that technology will take over more and more of our lives and we'll let it do everything for us. Is that bleak, or is it pretty obvious? It's happening already. It also tells us that eventually it will get so bad that people will have a revolution to reclaim their lives and their minds. At first glance that sounds pretty good, although there are signs in the series that even this creates a dangerous and stagnant environment. We learn that a human is capable of far more than we realize right now, which sounds very optimistic. And yet the perpetual system of control man exerts on other men stays the same, which means that human nature is a thing to be overcome by future-thinking wisdom, as we see with Leto II. I would say that the only bleak point in the book is the suggestion that humans will self-organize in roughly the same way they do now. If that is bleak, though, it speaks poorly of our world right now.

    In Star Trek we are shown a utopian future where an Earth-bound man faced a terrible third world war and was forced to learn to work cooperatively to save the race. Subsequently technology more or less solved every kind of problem and made life easy. FH would ask - what happens to men when life is made easy? This is the question of the Butlerian Jihad. And Star Trek is only 300 years in the future; the jihad in Dune takes place 10,000 years from now. So very hard to compare. You have to imagine technology not only running your schedule and doing all labor for you, but also most likely thinking for you as well. It's good that FH didn't explain exactly which technologies were banned, since how could anyone predict that, but I like to think of the integration of AI into everyday life to have been so extreme that men were basically slaves. FH thinks that technology enslaves, rather than frees. Is this bleak? Or is it realistic? in Dune we learn that we have to be careful when we create; creation can be dangerous. This sounds like a good lesson to me, even though we also learn that you ultimately can't stop development forever.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby lotek » 14 Oct 2015 04:47

    I think it's pretty much realistic, if you put aside the "giant robot dictators with ultra whips", and the "mad robot scientist with a taste for bdsm" fantasies.
    You mentioned FH didn't precisely say what was banned of how it happened, this is my favourite thing about Dune, the painting by empty spaces of a huge picture it would take so much longer to create in its totality.

    So this means you can fill those gaps with what you want, as long as it fits the existing story!! (yeah, that guy)

    We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

    Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts!

    From The Great Dictator's speech

    I've always felt this was very close to what the Butlerian Jihad meant to me.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 14 Oct 2015 05:45

    Sorry for the delayed response, I was busy.
    @georgiedenbro: I have a different opinion. Technology is not bad or good, just its usage. In Dune, men were enslaved by other men with machines, not by technology per se. And that is bleak, because it means that people do not evolve morally.
    People wanted to free themselves from the bondage of technology (because they perceived it as the cause of their misery, although the real cause were the "other men"), but they only managed to change a slavery with another slavery. Before = other men with machines, after = other men without machines. Pretty depressing.
    However, I do not believe in a utopia, because no society can be perfect. But I think people should evolve and morally, not only scientifically. And morality in Dune is quite low.

    @lotek: "You mentioned FH didn't precisely say what was banned of how it happened" - that was said by @georgiedenbro, not by me. In my opinion, Frank did say what was banned: basically all kinds of computers.

    Do you still want to live in such a future?
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby lotek » 14 Oct 2015 06:34

    Oops my bad, too many opened windows :)

    And I think that I could live in a world with no computers if I had some spice.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 14 Oct 2015 08:13

    You're telling me you see no signs now of technology taking over people's lives and preventing them connecting with each other? I never said "technology is bad", I said that it inevitably enslaves unless one has been trained to think in certain ways that prevent this. It's true that Dune says that men with machines enslaved other men, but we don't know what this means. It doesn't have to be forced servitude; the 'slaves' may very well have loved their situation for a long time. That is the real snare of computers and technology - they make everything so easy and effortless, and provide tons of entertainment. It's the ultimate drug that turns you into a passive recipient. You feel like you're using the computer, but in reality it's more and more the case that it's using you. Look at people who are basically plugged into their Iphones and tell me that you think they have found an increase in personal awareness.

    As for morality in Dune being low, that's your assumption. You don't know what the various planets are like, and although the ruling elite apparently believe that religion is a control mechanism that doesn't mean they believe in nothing at all. The only three planets we hear much about are Caladan, Giedi Prime, and Arrakis. The former is apparently a happy place to some extent where the people love their Duke, which is contrasted with Giedi Prime which is the opposite. Arrakis is different because there the conditions are so harsh that survival is all that matters. It is the conditions on Arrakis that matter most to us because FH wants us to understand that in the end people will do what they must to survive and if opposing forces - be they natural or man - are menacing enough man will have to adapt and behave in such a way as to overcome it. The survival mechanism will become a way of life. Is this "immoral"? It's very easy to be moral like the Atreides when you live in a world of plenty. Granted, there are no doubt plenty of rich worlds (such as our own) where people don't treat each other well, but at least it would be easy to do so if they so chose. But on Arrakis 'being nice' isn't an option. Strict rules and life-saving rituals are necessary there, whereas kindness and softness would kill. Now imagine a universe where the threat potential against man was equally as harsh, where weapons and technology could eliminate entire planets. Would establishing the guarantee of survival not be by far the most important consideration? It takes a lot of luxury to 'be nice', and even then one runs the risk of being conquered once one has become weak from it. One must adapt to the surrounding ecology; all other considerations are secondary.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 15 Oct 2015 08:49

    georgiedenbro wrote:You're telling me you see no signs now of technology taking over people's lives and preventing them connecting with each other? I never said "technology is bad", I said that it inevitably enslaves unless one has been trained to think in certain ways that prevent this. It's true that Dune says that men with machines enslaved other men, but we don't know what this means. It doesn't have to be forced servitude; the 'slaves' may very well have loved their situation for a long time. That is the real snare of computers and technology - they make everything so easy and effortless, and provide tons of entertainment. It's the ultimate drug that turns you into a passive recipient. You feel like you're using the computer, but in reality it's more and more the case that it's using you. Look at people who are basically plugged into their Iphones and tell me that you think they have found an increase in personal awareness.


    And where do you draw the conclusion that technology inevitably enslaves? I would say that it is not inevitable, it is simply the result of the greed of some people. That's why I talk about morality, because a higher level of morality reduces the risk of technological enslavement.
    To me, "other men with machines" means exactly what it says, that there were men which had exploited other men using technology. In your example with the iPhone, "the other men" would be the Apple staff.
    I am not a blind supporter of technology, but I do not like extremes. All things should be used with moderation, but Dune's people chose an extreme solution. Without technology, we can not even survive for the long term.

    georgiedenbro wrote:As for morality in Dune being low, that's your assumption. You don't know what the various planets are like, and although the ruling elite apparently believe that religion is a control mechanism that doesn't mean they believe in nothing at all. The only three planets we hear much about are Caladan, Giedi Prime, and Arrakis. The former is apparently a happy place to some extent where the people love their Duke, which is contrasted with Giedi Prime which is the opposite. Arrakis is different because there the conditions are so harsh that survival is all that matters. It is the conditions on Arrakis that matter most to us because FH wants us to understand that in the end people will do what they must to survive and if opposing forces - be they natural or man - are menacing enough man will have to adapt and behave in such a way as to overcome it. The survival mechanism will become a way of life. Is this "immoral"? It's very easy to be moral like the Atreides when you live in a world of plenty. Granted, there are no doubt plenty of rich worlds (such as our own) where people don't treat each other well, but at least it would be easy to do so if they so chose. But on Arrakis 'being nice' isn't an option. Strict rules and life-saving rituals are necessary there, whereas kindness and softness would kill. Now imagine a universe where the threat potential against man was equally as harsh, where weapons and technology could eliminate entire planets. Would establishing the guarantee of survival not be by far the most important consideration? It takes a lot of luxury to 'be nice', and even then one runs the risk of being conquered once one has become weak from it. One must adapt to the surrounding ecology; all other considerations are secondary.


    Morality in Dune is low because at least at the elite level, it is practically nonexistent. The Bene Gesserit manipulates and kill people all the time, the Bene Tleilax do the same, the Guild do the same, and so on. Most of the Great Houses would do almost anything to preserve and expand their power.
    If everyone does what you say, the civilization would become a social Darwinism, not much different (I would say identical) from a Nazi society. In the long term, this would lead to the establishment of a highly rigid caste system, and finally the civilization would collapse under the weight of its own inflexibility.
    Therefore, maybe is that the morality is a luxury, but it is a necessary luxury for the evolution of mankind.

    Of course, all of this are my opinions. Feel free to combat them.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 15 Oct 2015 16:09

    DragEgusku wrote:To me, "other men with machines" means exactly what it says, that there were men which had exploited other men using technology. In your example with the iPhone, "the other men" would be the Apple staff.


    Do you think the Apple staff has forcibly enslaved their customers? Or are they merely providing what the customers apparently crave? We can also suggest a mixed answer, where marketing can create demand for a thing, but in the end the consumers have to actually enjoy the thing once they actually get it. Unless you think Apple brainwashes people I'm not sure how you arrive at calling Apple slavers.

    DragEgusku wrote:If everyone does what you say, the civilization would become a social Darwinism, not much different (I would say identical) from a Nazi society. In the long term, this would lead to the establishment of a highly rigid caste system, and finally the civilization would collapse under the weight of its own inflexibility.


    Exactly. This is FH's point. What if you learned for certain, hypothetically, that any faction that did not behave in this fashion would be wiped out eventually by their competitors that have more options available to them? By this fact we could assume that there were most likely various families and worlds that behaved in a way that you would call moral, but that they were eventually weeded out by natural selection, at it were. After 20,000 years such peoples would have been eclipsed by the more ruthless factions. So tell me, would you rather survive, or be dead? If you lived on Arrakis, would you rather maintain water discipline, or have your people be compassionate and die out in a couple of generations? The metaphor of the storms of Arrakis is that the winds of erosion wear down everything that is not built to last sooner or later. Only the absolutely most efficient way of life survives; this is the lesson of ecology in the story. The illusion that man can create his own environment is that illusion that ultimately killed Dr. Kynes, and he knew it. Man must, rather, adapt to the environment as a matter of necessity.

    I've suggested in other threads that the Atreides were a case of maximizing the ability to be moral in this kind of environment, while still being obliged to use all the normal tools of statecraft including assassination, exterminations, and intrigue. They were definitely as moral as they could have been under the circumstances, but if they were any less efficient they would never have made it as a Great House. It turns out there may be material benefits to being moral, as the Duke Leto demonstrated in commanding fierce respect and love and attracting effective staff to fight for him. But prior to being moral one must be a survivor. The one cannot come before the other, and this is (in FH's opinion, at least) a hard fact of the world we need to come to grips with.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 16 Oct 2015 07:49

    georgiedenbro wrote:
    DragEgusku wrote:To me, "other men with machines" means exactly what it says, that there were men which had exploited other men using technology. In your example with the iPhone, "the other men" would be the Apple staff.


    Do you think the Apple staff has forcibly enslaved their customers? Or are they merely providing what the customers apparently crave? We can also suggest a mixed answer, where marketing can create demand for a thing, but in the end the consumers have to actually enjoy the thing once they actually get it. Unless you think Apple brainwashes people I'm not sure how you arrive at calling Apple slavers.


    No, it was just an analogy. You gave the example with the iPhone and I've used it for an analogy.

    georgiedenbro wrote:
    DragEgusku wrote:If everyone does what you say, the civilization would become a social Darwinism, not much different (I would say identical) from a Nazi society. In the long term, this would lead to the establishment of a highly rigid caste system, and finally the civilization would collapse under the weight of its own inflexibility.


    Exactly. This is FH's point. What if you learned for certain, hypothetically, that any faction that did not behave in this fashion would be wiped out eventually by their competitors that have more options available to them? By this fact we could assume that there were most likely various families and worlds that behaved in a way that you would call moral, but that they were eventually weeded out by natural selection, at it were. After 20,000 years such peoples would have been eclipsed by the more ruthless factions. So tell me, would you rather survive, or be dead? If you lived on Arrakis, would you rather maintain water discipline, or have your people be compassionate and die out in a couple of generations? The metaphor of the storms of Arrakis is that the winds of erosion wear down everything that is not built to last sooner or later. Only the absolutely most efficient way of life survives; this is the lesson of ecology in the story. The illusion that man can create his own environment is that illusion that ultimately killed Dr. Kynes, and he knew it. Man must, rather, adapt to the environment as a matter of necessity.

    I've suggested in other threads that the Atreides were a case of maximizing the ability to be moral in this kind of environment, while still being obliged to use all the normal tools of statecraft including assassination, exterminations, and intrigue. They were definitely as moral as they could have been under the circumstances, but if they were any less efficient they would never have made it as a Great House. It turns out there may be material benefits to being moral, as the Duke Leto demonstrated in commanding fierce respect and love and attracting effective staff to fight for him. But prior to being moral one must be a survivor. The one cannot come before the other, and this is (in FH's opinion, at least) a hard fact of the world we need to come to grips with.


    Man can create his own environment. Using the technology, of course. Think about the possibility of creating an entirely artificial world. But in Dune, people turned their backs on science and technology and they paid the price for it. Although, it is understandable if the technology was used against them by other people.
    The lesson, in my opinion, is that man is his own worst enemy. And this enemy has won and this is bleak.
    I think that Frank would want to know the answer to the question: what can change the nature of a man? My own answer is: morality. And I do not mean by that a morality in a religious sense, but in a human and civic sense.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Oct 2015 08:16

    DragEgusku wrote: what can change the nature of a man? My own answer is: morality. And I do not mean by that a morality in a religious sense, but in a human and civic sense.


    I don't suppose you're a Planscape: Torment player by any chance?
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 16 Oct 2015 08:57

    georgiedenbro wrote:
    DragEgusku wrote: what can change the nature of a man? My own answer is: morality. And I do not mean by that a morality in a religious sense, but in a human and civic sense.


    I don't suppose you're a Planscape: Torment player by any chance?


    Yes, I am. :)
    But the question I was referring to is a serious one. That is why I've mentioned it.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Oct 2015 10:43

    DragEgusku wrote:
    georgiedenbro wrote:
    DragEgusku wrote: what can change the nature of a man? My own answer is: morality. And I do not mean by that a morality in a religious sense, but in a human and civic sense.


    I don't suppose you're a Planscape: Torment player by any chance?


    Yes, I am. :)
    But the question I was referring to is a serious one. That is why I've mentioned it.


    Since the game's essential question is "what can change the nature of a man?" I assume you're talking about some of the same things the game addressed. The game (for those who haven't played it) has as its answer: nothing. But in context of the game that means that if a man is his combined memories and experiences, the only way to change him is to eliminate that past and start anew. In Dune terms memories would not only be of one's own lifetime but of the genetic memory as well. A man is the summation of his genetic memory and his own. How to change his nature, then? Perhaps the Tleilaxu do just this, by creating beings with no genetic memory. But then again I think we should say that these beings are not man, i.e. human beings.

    Can any given morality change the nature of a man, after all? It can tame him, train him, teach him certain habits...but to me this doesn't change his nature, it attempts to either harness or suppress certain parts of it. Leto II undertakes a far more rigorous endeavor, which is not just to try to teach some temporary morality to a given generation, but to fundamentally alter man's nature with a lesson that 'their bones will remember.' He may well have changed the nature of man to some extent, and in introducing the Siona gene as well. But would you really call his methods "moral" ones? Maybe so, since it was out of caring for humanity, but it's certainly not the morality we would think of today; Duncan could not abide it, and neither would have Leto or Paul.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 28 Mar 2016 08:25

    I thought at something.
    Why in Duniverse the people have regressed so much morally? One possible answer: maybe the trauma inflicted upon humanity by "the other men with machines" was so great that the humanity reverted back to a primary state. Is that a possible background for the state of affairs in the Imperium? Was this envisaged by Frank?
    Just an idea.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 28 Mar 2016 13:21

    DragEgusku wrote:I thought at something.
    Why in Duniverse the people have regressed so much morally? One possible answer: maybe the trauma inflicted upon humanity by "the other men with machines" was so great that the humanity reverted back to a primary state. Is that a possible background for the state of affairs in the Imperium? Was this envisaged by Frank?
    Just an idea.


    I would suggest you try to think of it in the same terms Frank did when he wrote Dune: ecology. The people are the way they are, act how they act, and have the society they have due to the ecology of the environment. While on a psychological level I'm sure you're right that the jihad left the people of the galaxy scarred for some time, that seems to not be the narrative Frank focuses on in the series. In fact, the series seems even to say the opposite - that any such scarring and/or lessons of this type never last and that in the end it is always the ecology that dictates the reality. This means things like scarcity of resources (water, spice, computers, etc.), available technology, as well as pure tactical strategy dictate who will prevail and survive as a Great House, and who cannot. Frank even goes further and specifies that it would take a monumental and long-lived oppression to teach "a lesson to their bones" so that the unpleasant event would not be merely transitory and would have a lasting impact. I take Leto II's comments on this to imply that the jihad had some impact initially but that it faded away and meant nothing in the end.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 04 Sep 2016 13:02

    It is strange to post in my thread after so long, but I have now another question: are you sure that Frank envisaged his work as being a projection of the future? Because there is a factor that was apparently ignored: the others. I think I do not need to say what are the others I'm talking about. If they do exist then the future would be very different from what is described in Dune. Why was this factor ignored, if it can have such a huge influence?
    I was thinking at this after I read some news about the discovery of a possible signal from "others". Even if this is proved as being of more terrestrial origin, the possibility of the existence of others cannot be ruled out.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby Freakzilla » 06 Sep 2016 07:03

    I believe it was intentional as to focus on the human condition.

    Aliens are mentioned once, in Children of Dune, as an excuse for Great Houses clinging to their atomic weapons.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 06 Sep 2016 10:21

    Frank verbatim said Dune was a work of prediction, but of course that can mean a number of things. I don't think it directly implies he predicted there were no aliens in the galaxy, since that wasn't relevant per se to the story he wanted to write.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby AnEhforanEh » 18 Oct 2016 10:43

    There has been some mention of the lack of morality in Dune, and honestly I can't agree. Religious-types like to believe they have the market cornered on morality, but the only true morality has only (and ever) stemmed from a secular position. And despite claims from the "faithful" that secular morality is subjective, it in fact has a very clear objective definition: Ensuring the best possible condition for the most people by causing the least amount of harm.

    If you can agree with that definition then it's easy to see how pervasive morality is in a Dune future.
    • The Guild are moral by enforcing the Guild Peace, sanctioning any House that dares break its tennents.
    • The Houses of the Landsraad are mostly moral in the fact that they are even willing to be a convention, recognising that "working together" is better than being exclusionary.
    • The Emperor's vast power is countered by the entire weight of the Landsraad.
    • Kanly has rules of engagment protecting the lower frefauluches from any blowback.
    • The frefauluches themselves ensure that everyone has a role to play (a form of galactic socialism), presumably meaning that while poverty probably still exists, no one is left to purely fend for themselves.
    • And lastly, the BG were actively working toward "maturing" humanity, which despite the flaws in their approach was ultimately an altruistic endeavor.

    As for whether or not I'd like to live in Dune times...
    I can't imagine life being much different than it is now. Or more precisely, how it was in, say, the 1950s. Cars exist. Planes (thopters) exist. TVs (holo-trid), shigawire projectors, audio recorders/players, two-way radios all exist. It's easy to picture a pundi farmer stopping off with a couple co-workers for a few drinks, stumble home to get chewed out by his wife, and spend the night sleeping on the couch.
    The average citizens' connection to the events we're shown in Dune are likely minimal. News worthy, without a doubt, but ultimately there would be a disconnect:
    "Ya hear? The Duke's dead."
    "Yea! Sucks! Who they sending to replace him?"
    "Some bloke named Fenring. The Emperor's man."
    "Never heard o' him [hic]."

    Just think of how little Shaddam and the BG knew of events on Dune. They were relying heavily on the Baron's (skewed) reports. You think the common citizen is gonna be better connected than the people that have a legitimate vested interest in ensuring Spice production remains nominal? They probably had no idea what was going on until swarms of mad fremen raided their planet. And even then might have blink more than a few times.

    So would I have liked it?
    Before fremen jihad, Sure.
    During/afterward, no... I would dispise living under a theocracy.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Oct 2016 15:45

    AnEhforanEh wrote:If you can agree with that definition then it's easy to see how pervasive morality is in a Dune future.
    • The Guild are moral by enforcing the Guild Peace, sanctioning any House that dares break its tennents.
    • The Houses of the Landsraad are mostly moral in the fact that they are even willing to be a convention, recognising that "working together" is better than being exclusionary.
    • The Emperor's vast power is countered by the entire weight of the Landsraad.
    • Kanly has rules of engagment protecting the lower frefauluches from any blowback.
    • The frefauluches themselves ensure that everyone has a role to play (a form of galactic socialism), presumably meaning that while poverty probably still exists, no one is left to purely fend for themselves.
    • And lastly, the BG were actively working toward "maturing" humanity, which despite the flaws in their approach was ultimately an altruistic endeavor.


    Man, I have to say I disagree completely with every single point here, with the possible exception of the part about the BG. Frank made it very clear that Dune is about ecology, and specifically insofar as two forces are at work in the universe always:

    1) The slow progress of steady trends that make ripples in the long-term: this is based on his study of sand dunes and how their creeping liquidity.
    2) The fact that culture and economy is determined by forces of scarcity and efficiency. Nothing about the empire in Paul's time is the way it is because anyone is good or because they are trying to be moral. Each faction does whatever it takes to gain and retain power, and the result in the case of this universe was 10,000 years of stagnation that was ready to blow by Paul's time. There is nothing 'peaceful' about that, it's just that the creeping ripples took a long time to become blatantly evident.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby AnEhforanEh » 18 Oct 2016 17:10

    But holding onto power is not inherently an immoral act. Some fight to maintain a position of power because they fear what might take their place. Even seemingly oppressive acts can be moral if the ends justify the means (e.g., Leto's Peace).

    You disagree that the rules for Kanly, protecting the loss of innocent life, is borne of morality? Are you saying that the Landsraad as a counterbalance to the Imperium is only to ensure that each Great House maintains power? Not to prevent the rise of a tyrant?
    Another bullet point to add is Tupile, the sanctuary planet(s). The Guild actively protects royal families in exile. Sure, they do it for a price, but no price will buy the divulgence of Tupile's location.

    I'm not sure if you thought I meant the theme of Dune is morality, since you brought up the issue of ecological pressures. I wasn't saying morality is the theme, only that there isn't a total lack of morality in the universe.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Oct 2016 21:59

    I agree with you that there is some morality at play in the universe. I've been one of the proponents here that the Atreides were an example of enlightened morality to the extent that it could exist in that ecosystem. I disagree, though, with attributing moral character to function facts such as the Guild maintaining stability. They do it because that is their survival strategy (and their weakness); even if you appreciate the result in some sense that doesn't mean it's moral; it just means that their efforts were of practical use from a certain point of view. But again, even in the case of the Guild their only real strategy was one of fear and refusal to take any chances. That's not a moral position, but a practical one - and further, one that set up the conditions for the universe to explode in Paul's jihad. It served them for a time, but not long-term, and certainly to no one else's long-term benefit.

    Similarly, the rules of kanly seem organized as a means of control, not as a means of sanctifying life. It included the full use of assassination, war, poisons, and so forth, so it's not like kanly was 'humane' in any sense we would mean. It was just organized so that all-out warfare didn't engulf the empire and destabilize it, and also to help ensure control of the use of atomics by laying out the ground rules of inter-house feuding. A big part of the ecology of the empire was the existence of atomics and how to prevent their use while still having them as a threat. I see this very much as analogous to the cold war situation in which Frank wrote. It's no surprise that they were the cornerstone of Paul's plan to take the throne, and were quickly collected and gotten rid of by Leto II.

    Similarly with Tupile - it may seem 'nice' that the Guild 'protects' those who escape the empire, but one thing I've learned about them in the series is that there is nothing nice about them. If they do a thing it's because it advantages them, and that's all. Certainly it helps them to keep secret those who have left because if families didn't believe they could safely escape their alternative when threatened with extinction would be to go rogue and use the nuclear option. Giving them an exit strategy prevents them from being cornered and doing this. Remember, the Guild's entire priority in the tripod of power is to maintain stability at all costs, and this is why Paul is easily able to beat them: because for the sake of stability they would even bow to him rather than let anything unpredictable occur.

    However in defence of the idea of a theme of morality, I actually do see the Dune series as a treatise on how, exactly, one can really be moral in a dangerous universe. What does it even mean to be moral? Being friendly to people in line at the market? Not stealing a bag of chips? Frank asks the bigger questions, such as 'is it moral to protect your loved ones and sacrifice others in their name?' and 'is it moral to enslave humanity in order to free it?' and even 'is it moral to give oneself to love in the moment possibly at the expense of plans for the future?' Love is a recurring theme in the series, and I do think the acts of Yueh and Jessica for love are meant to be central to Dune, just as Leto II's love for humanity gives him his purpose, which in turn later on gives the BG their purpose. The line connecting love to morality is the question here, and I think a lot of that is explained by Leto II in GeoD.
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    Re: Would you like a (real) future similar to Dune?

    Postby DragEgusku » 08 Nov 2016 17:18

    Yes, the (D)universe is dangerous but without morality it is even more dangerous. That is my point. Man is his own worst enemy exactly because, among other things, of the lack of morality. Think of the Butlerian Jihad - it happened because men exploited other men using anything they could use - machines included - and their immoral actions sparked the Jihad.
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