Prescience

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Alpha Carinae
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How to see the future ^^

Postby Alpha Carinae » 14 Feb 2011 11:37

By the way, where did the mentat + OM thing come from? :? Forgive my ignorance, but it is something that was discussed before on Jacurutu? I vaguely remember seeing something similar somewhere along the lines of Male + OM = Kwisatz Haderach. heheh.

Since we're really getting into it now, here's how I see prescience in Dune as a purely down-to-earth, scientific non-mystical-or-"something extra" thing. :)

There seems to be four factors that determine how well someone can predict the future:


1) Ability to make mental computations. This is something that both mentats and the guild seers get a lot of training in. Mentats do basically make accurate predictions about the future, though you wouldn't call them prescient yet. It can be a subconscious process.

2) Access to data. The best ones at this are undoubtedly Reverend Mothers. Not only are they able to take in minute details that others would miss thanks to their training, but they have access to the wealth of knowledge that is Other Memory. A Kwisatz Haderach would be even better since they get even more data.

3) Breeding. Your genes are important and hold the key to certain factors in the process: things like sensitivity to drugs certainly, chance of surviving agony rituals, maybe "potential" but I don't think that's entirely made clear. The BG practice this and, I thought, so do the Guild... Though KJA/BH don't seem to think so.

4) The right drugs. And lots of them. This is kind of linked to number 2, in that the "awareness spectrum narcotics" described in the books open your awareness up to a plethora of new data for analysis. It's how the fremen feel the Tao in their orgy: their awareness is more receptive to things they would normally miss and so they feel connected. The best drugs are the Spice/WoL perhaps followed by the truthsayer drug.


When you add up all these things you've basically got an oracle. Prescience is not a magical gift from the gods given to the chosen one, rather it was expected, calculated. The Bene Gesserit assumed that the Kwisatz Haderach would have prescient abilities and would be something like a Guild navigator. What they didn't anticipate was the level of ability that the KH gained from other, environmental and nurturing factors.

There does indeed seem to be a line of ability where you would say that this character is prescient and this character is not, but it's not entirely clear where it is. But what does seem to be clear is that everyone who can predict the future does so in a mathematical, calculated way... subconsciously or not.

As for prescients not seeing other prescients ... :shifty: you might think this is silly but... Jedi Lightsaber Battles. :D

Remember in the first Star Wars film when Obi-Wan and Darth Vader were fighting? They didn't actually do very much. At the time when I saw it I assumed it was because they could both see what was going to happen so it was a stalemate, if they tried to do anything fancy there would be a massive game of mental chess going on before any lightsaber action happened.

So yeah, sounds silly right? But what if you have a similar situation with Dune prescience? You get two prescients looking for the actions of the other, every time they look, they spawn a potential future which the other one can see, which spawns another potential future which the other can see... and you get an infinite feedback loop.

I personally think that prescient invisibility can be explained because of this (not only a plot device 8) ), that the act of trying to predict the actions of a prescient is difficult, near impossible because they're busy predicting their own future. The big question of whether the oracle sees the future, or merely chooses it (and what would the difference be) is important here.

Back to Mohiam. In my opinion, it's entirely possible for her to have enough of all of those factors to have prescient visions - vague ones because they're subconscious like Paul's dreams. Though she's certainly not as powerful as a Guild seer.

Err. That turned into quite an essay. Hope it all makes sense :D Again, though - my interpretation only. I'm sure there are better ones on this board :)

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Re: Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 14 Feb 2011 11:53

Alpha Carinae wrote:By the way, where did the mentat + OM thing come from? :? Forgive my ignorance, but it is something that was discussed before on Jacurutu? I vaguely remember seeing something similar somewhere along the lines of Male + OM = Kwisatz Haderach. heheh.


Appendix III: Report on Bene Gesserit Motives and Purposes

The Bene Gesserit program had as its target the breeding of a person they
labeled "Kwisatz Haderach," a term signifying "one who can be many places at
once." In simpler terms, what they sought was a human with mental powers
permitting him to understand and use higher order dimensions.
They were breeding for a super-Mentat, a human computer with some of the
prescient abilities found in Guild navigators. Now, attend these facts
carefully: ...
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Alpha Carinae
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Re: Prescience

Postby Alpha Carinae » 14 Feb 2011 12:02

Ah, I see. That's the bit I was talking about when I mentioned the BG were expecting prescience. :)

But that kind of only works if it's a male, so shouldn't it be: Kwisatz Haderach + Mentat = Super Awesome? :D Or do you mean it implies that a KH would have mentat-esque abilities even without training?

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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 14 Feb 2011 12:14

You make a good arguement Alpha Carinae! Obi and Darths lackluster battle makes sense that way and I can see how that works against an educated guess but Paul couldnt see Fenring (who never realized his prescient potential) and knew what Feyd and Chani looked like. It doesnt explain how the guild can choose a safe path. No amount of OM and computer like ability could produce results so specific.

In simpler terms, what they sought was a human with mental powers
permitting him to understand and use higher order dimensions.
They were breeding for a super-Mentat, a human computer with some of the
prescient abilities found in Guild navigators.

Put another way theyre breeding for a super mentat who can understand and use higher order dimensions like the prescient abilities found in Guild navigators. Ok I may have taken a little liberty with the text here. But still. Without Something Extra what you describe is little more than weather predicting. No amount of data and knowledge alone will produce a prediction so accurate as to become lethally boring.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Serkanner » 14 Feb 2011 13:49

I don't want to be to much of a purist but adding Star Wars into a Dune discussion makes me :tissue2:
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Prescience

Postby Alpha Carinae » 14 Feb 2011 14:11

Serkanner wrote:I don't want to be to much of a purist but adding Star Wars into a Dune discussion makes me :tissue2:


I'm quite embarrassed myself :oops: ... Not a Star Wars fan at all. But I kind of like the analogy... sorry. :(

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Re: Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 14 Feb 2011 14:17

The Guild doen't need to have specific results, they only need to know that they survive the trip.
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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 14 Feb 2011 15:47

So you agree that they actually could see the future as opposed to making highly educated mathmatic projections about navigation.

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Re: Prescience

Postby SandChigger » 14 Feb 2011 18:02

Prescients see a potential future (or series of them).

The example I always use is Paul's actions after he was blinded by the stone-burner. No amount of Mentat-organized data on past human behavior and reactions to stimuli from Other Memory could have allowed Paul to have vision as accurate as he had after losing his eyes.

And the example of the Guild Navigators is important, too, even though their prescience was more limited: no amount of data about a destination system could permit a Navigator to predict the arrival—in his chosen destination coordinates—of another Guildship coming in from another system at the exact same instant. So if Navigators weren't actually seeing possible futures, there would have been a certain number of collisions and loss of life and ships. Lack of mention does not guarantee non-occurrence, but FH never mentions any Guildship mishaps.

Finally, where the Star Wars (feh!) analogy fails is that the two Jedi could see each other. Duniverse prescients cannot see other prescients in their visions. Period. They can only see shadows and waves of influence, not who casts the shadow or moves things. ;)

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Re: Prescience

Postby Alpha Carinae » 14 Feb 2011 19:13

SandChigger wrote:And the example of the Guild Navigators is important, too, even though their prescience was more limited: no amount of data about a destination system could permit a Navigator to predict the arrival—in his chosen destination coordinates—of another Guildship coming in from another system at the exact same instant. So if Navigators weren't actually seeing possible futures, there would have been a certain number of collisions and loss of life and ships. Lack of mention does not guarantee non-occurrence, but FH never mentions any Guildship mishaps.


I hadn't really thought about this situation before. :think: But isn't the guildship collision a possibility regardless of what prescience actually is? I mean, the transit of another guildship is entirely decided by a prescient... whose actions can't be determined by another prescient.

As for the Star Wars analogy... It's a silly film where the magical mechanics weren't thought about at all, as opposed to FH who thought about it a lot. I'm just saying it got me thinking about it at the time: what if I could see possible futures, changing them by looking and I tried to predict the actions of someone who could do (or could potentially do - since I'm looking at potentials) the same thing? I don't think it's just a random plot device or magical power of invisibility. There's reason behind it and Frank obviously put a lot of thought into it.

Wish I hadn't mentioned Star Wars, though. :oops: :(

Oh, and to be completely honest, I don't really see why Paul couldn't have had that accurate a vision based on all the data he had available. Especially when you consider how hard he worked to to set it up and make-real that particular vision and then firmly refuse to deviate from it in spite of everything. That's what makes it so tragic.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 14 Feb 2011 19:35

I do hope this puts the Star Wars thing to bed. Not that there was anything wrong with that ... Actually what you said about it reminded me of a scene from "The Laughing Sutra," where two martial arts experts are about to spar for the first time and just stand there looking at each other for awhile and then smile and shake hands laughing. Afterwards the one guy says I could feel you countering all the attacks I imagined. Ohhh those mystical asians...

The Sand Chigger has laid out what I had been saving as the big guns for our end of the debate. I take that as proof that prescience is Something Extra.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Alpha Carinae » 14 Feb 2011 19:48

Meh, if you like... I'd go further but I guess I made a big mistake in mentioning a film I don't even like. :?

I think you'll find that Dune is Science Fiction dressed up as Fantasy for a night on the town. You can have fun with her there, but if you take her home to get to know her better, you'll end up lifting her skirt to reveal the telltale dangly bits of science!

Wait... I think I made myself...

:puke:

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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 14 Feb 2011 19:53

:lol: :cat fight: :P

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Re: Prescience

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 15 Feb 2011 02:09

:lol: This thread got awesome.

They see potential futures and pick the ones they want to come about and try to organize events to that end. Back when I wanted Dune to be more "hard" Science Fiction I tried to rationalize it as a super-mentat "guess" about the future, but that's just not the case, it's some kind of inexplicable ability to literally see possible futures (as someone just said a few times). I had to let go of the science for that one, it really doesn't matter for the scope of what the books are really about.
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Re: Prescience

Postby SandChigger » 15 Feb 2011 02:54

Alpha Carinae wrote:I hadn't really thought about this situation before. :think: But isn't the guildship collision a possibility regardless of what prescience actually is? I mean, the transit of another guildship is entirely decided by a prescient... whose actions can't be determined by another prescient.

I don't think so. True, the two Navigators cannot see each other or those things and people under the other's influence (his ship, crew & passengers), but each of them can (or should be able to?) see that his own ship does not survive a fold into that particular point in space-time and therefore knows to avoid it.

Oh, and to be completely honest, I don't really see why Paul couldn't have had that accurate a vision based on all the data he had available. Especially when you consider how hard he worked to to set it up and make-real that particular vision and then firmly refuse to deviate from it in spite of everything. That's what makes it so tragic.

Hmm... I still don't buy that for this level of detail:
Paul stepped around Stilgar, strode down the street. His vision told him every movement, every irregularity beneath his feet, every face he encountered. He gave orders as he moved, pointing to men of his personal entourage, calling out names, summoning to himself the ones who represented the intimate apparatus of government. He could feel the terror grow behind him, the fearful whispers.

Knowing his old friend Stilgar he could have predicted the tears in the other's eyes, but all the other stuff? Assuming that kind of "predictive" ability and intentional arrangement sort of brings the old disbelief crashing down. ;)

Enno wrote:The Sand Chigger

Whoa... I have achieved definite-articlehood?! :shock: :lol:

I still tend to think of the prescience part of Dune as science fiction, not mystical/magical fantasy. I don't pretend to understand a lot of quantum mechanics or what "collapsing the waveform" really means, but why can't a prescient be someone whose genetics and life experience (Mentat training) has endowed them with the ability to perceive the various potentialities (possible futures) that stem from a given current situation?

:dance:

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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 15 Feb 2011 05:47

SandChigger wrote:I still tend to think of the prescience part of Dune as science fiction, not mystical/magical fantasy. I don't pretend to understand a lot of quantum mechanics or what "collapsing the waveform" really means, but why can't a prescient be someone whose genetics and life experience (Mentat training) has endowed them with the ability to perceive the various potentialities (possible futures) that stem from a given current situation?

I dont mind if timesense means scientifically pushing your intelect through another dimension or mystically peering around the veil of time as long as its not what the guys at the track try to do with the racing form every week.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Alpha Carinae » 15 Feb 2011 07:25

SandChigger wrote:I don't think so. True, the two Navigators cannot see each other or those things and people under the other's influence (his ship, crew & passengers), but each of them can (or should be able to?) see that his own ship does not survive a fold into that particular point in space-time and therefore knows to avoid it.


This example is getting quite interesting :) Even if they could see the potential disaster, then there's always the possibility of that disaster because they can't know when another guildship will arrive... Unless of course, you're right and they literally see the fututre without any need for data. I'd guess that it's just an unavoidable constant in their equation. They choose the safest "course" but I don't think they could ever guarantee 100% safety considering what Frank says about indeterminability/uncertainty.

I still tend to think of the prescience part of Dune as science fiction, not mystical/magical fantasy. I don't pretend to understand a lot of quantum mechanics or what "collapsing the waveform" really means, but why can't a prescient be someone whose genetics and life experience (Mentat training) has endowed them with the ability to perceive the various potentialities (possible futures) that stem from a given current situation?


Sure they can, but they need the data to do it. Considering how much Frank goes on and on about needing data - needing the training to get and organise that data, needing the spice/WoL to perceive data they'd otherwise miss, needing OM as another reservoir of data - I personally don't understand the point of all that if a prescient can see things which no data could tell them.

The science is very much there. The waveform collapse, as an example, is about how some quantum states are indeterminate in certain situations. Even if you have all the initial quantum data about a system, the wave function has to represent conflicting states (or possible futures) until the outcome actually observed and the wave function collapses into the observed state. It's the old Schroedinger's cat - the quantum expression of data for the cat is that it is both alive and dead at the same time until you observe it. So even if a prescient had all the data in the universe, there would still be things that can't be 100% predicted and more than one possible futures.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 15 Feb 2011 08:05

I think they were just trippin'.

But I do agree that Paul set up/fell into that scene after the stoneburner after a dozen years of choosing from possible futures. Maybe the level of detail increases inversely with the number of possible futures available? As Paul made his choices, possible futures dropped away leaving him with fewer choices next time and so on. By the time he went to Othyem's house his every footstep was locked into the one vision he was left with.

Paul seeing after the stoneburner was no miracle, it was all he COULD see.
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Re: Prescience

Postby inhuien » 15 Feb 2011 17:37

It's not as if anyone would contradict him if he made a boo boo. :twisted:
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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 15 Feb 2011 18:32

I know its a little off topic but does anyone here have a good grip on foldsapce in Dune?
Traveling without moving and folding space to do it seems like bypassing everything in between start and finish. So whats the need for prescient navigators? Just to eliminate the possibility that your destination is occupied? Little worry of flying through a star if foldspace works like folding a map so that beginning and end are touching.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 15 Feb 2011 18:37

Enno wrote:I know its a little off topic but does anyone here have a good grip on foldsapce in Dune?
Traveling without moving and folding space to do it seems like bypassing everything in between start and finish. So whats the need for prescient navigators? Just to eliminate the possibility that your destination is occupied? Little worry of flying through a star if foldspace works like folding a map so that beginning and end are touching.


I believe the "traveling without moving" bit is from the movie.

What's needed a Holtzman generator to create the wormhole or whatever and the Guild Navigator to look into the future to just beyond the jump to confirm that they survive.

I'm sure there's a topic on this...
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Re: Prescience

Postby SandChigger » 15 Feb 2011 18:49

Enno wrote:I know its a little off topic but does anyone here have a good grip on foldsapce in Dune?

Quick & easy answer: no. FH (wisely) didn't provide a lot of detail.

The image is obviously that of "folding a map", but what it means in real terms is anybody's guess. (Omph may be along presently and mention wormholes. [Nope, it was Freak this time. :lol: ] The Science of Dune book guy—what was his name—has a chapter on it in his book and links it to the suspensor effect and the neutralization of the mass of a ship ... I wasn't impressed and have kinda forgotten the details of his explanation; I can check again tonight if you want.)

"Traveling without moving" is from the Lynch movie only, I believe. [As Freak just pointed out.] I can't recall seeing anything attributing it to Frank Herbert. (Anyone?)

Traveling without moving and folding space to do it seems like bypassing everything in between start and finish.

Right. That's the whole point. And you don't have to mess with FTL and relativistic time and all that stuff that way.

So whats the need for prescient navigators? Just to eliminate the possibility that your destination is occupied? Little worry of flying through a star if foldspace works like folding a map so that beginning and end are touching.

"Folding a map" is just a metaphor. We're talking about four-dimensional spacetime. Missing the star(s) and planets in known systems shouldn't be a problem, but as I mentioned in the other thread, you have no idea who else will be trying to fold into the same space-time coordinates just "before" or "after" your own arrival.

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Re: Prescience

Postby D Pope » 15 Feb 2011 18:50

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1753

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1626

There's another thread labeled 'The Navigators' with eight pages I didn't want to search. :)
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: Prescience

Postby Enno » 15 Feb 2011 18:55

Thanks D Pope but the SandChiggers explenation works for me.

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Re: Prescience

Postby SandChigger » 15 Feb 2011 19:15

D Pope wrote:http://www.jacurutu.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1753

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1626

There's another thread labeled 'The Navigators' with eight pages I didn't want to search. :)

Thanks! I hadn't done a search myself. :oops: