POLITICS of Dune, and the politics of our times...

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halcyo
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POLITICS of Dune, and the politics of our times...

Postby halcyo » 27 Sep 2008 00:17

Well, there isn't a specific 'Politics Of Dune' forum, so I thought I'd throw this topic in here for 'maximum exposure'! What are your feelings about the political universe of Frank Herbert's Dune? It's a broad subject in the books for sure, and I'll bet that we find quite a disparity on how people feel about some of this. Two major points I'd like to hear some discussion about from you fine minds are:

- Do you feel that the political systems in the Dune Chronicles are Frank's way of campaigning/supporting/spreading/satirizing/ridiculing his own personal ideas (or the ideas of others), or do you feel that he approached it from a totally 'fictional' perspective, as in just a fun way for him to explore thoughts that he didn't necessarily believe in (or opposed) in his real life? In other words, is he preaching/teaching/venting or just entertaining/musing?

- Having watched American politics going on a rampage at the current moment, how do you feel about the politics of Dune in relation or comparison to our own real life political systems. Do you particularly admire or dislike something about the politics in Dune that you think should or should NOT be explored in the real world?

In broad terms, how much (or little) do you take from Dune and implement into your own personal political beliefs or ideals? Do you allow yourself to extrapolate certain parts of Frank's hierarchies onto the framework of your own views?

Most of you folks strike me as supremely intelligent and thoughtful people - not quick to be swayed by shallow bickering and partisan ideals like most people I talk to on a daily basis, but it could get interesting in here! I'll jump in with my own personal thoughts soon, but I thought it would be interesting to have more of an open discussion on the table - plus I'm tired and wanna go to bed. I've watched the McCain/Obama debate, and I don't know where to start! I think I'll sleep on it and try to find the right words!


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Re: POLITICS of Dune, and the politics of our times...

Postby Ampoliros » 27 Sep 2008 01:39

Funny, I'm rereading GEoD at the moment and was about to start a thread about what we know or think of Frank's personal politics. He's the reason I call myself a fanatic moderate. He rants against both liberalism and conservatism so it's hard to figure out which one he identifies with more. I don't think he would have liked the labeling of our politics at all, he probably would consider it a waste of time and preached that it was little more than bickering semantics. (Which it is for the most part)

halcyo wrote:Most of you folks strike me as supremely intelligent and thoughtful people - not quick to be swayed by shallow bickering and partisan ideals like most people I talk to on a daily basis
halcyo


This is exactly the point I feel Frank was trying to make. I know that it was Dune that really fleshed this out in my mind and made me more of an independent person. I can respect most any person's opinion if its obvious that its one they came to through their own thought process and wasn't just taken out of sound bites.

Soundbite ideology is in my opinion a gateway drug into the retardation of modern man.

Today as I read some of GEoD before the debate I was think about how much America could really use a new Dune book right now. BY FRANK HERBERT, not the retarded wunderkind twins.
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Postby Mr. Teg » 27 Sep 2008 05:46

Frank will be relevant for years because darwinian psychology (darwinian neural theory) is embedded in his stories not to mention the Jungian concepts among others that Frank used to layer Dune. (Destination Void is a good example of the depth of the man).

(You could say KJA and Brian ignore or remove those layers then fill in the gaps.)

I think it would be hard to pin down and label his politics, but he had an unique perspective on technology as exemplified in his daily life with his countless projects.
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on The politics of DUNE

Postby Sole Man » 27 Sep 2008 10:40

I'm Begining to think Frank Herbert could see the future, and that we can use DUNE as a way to lead us to greater golary. (Inturn making it a bible...*Looks up at the cieling in mock wonder*)

I have used DUNE's Politics to help influence my own in my book.

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Postby Illogical Banana » 27 Sep 2008 11:47

I agree with the majority of things in Dune. Dune didn't influence me in changing my thinking, as much as it did in making me feel comfortable about what I believed. Before reading it I felt a bit like a freak due to some of my beliefs: atheism, etc.

So you want to start a Dune sect of scientology, Sole Man? The funny thing is I've had the same thought and discussed it with a friend before. Although it would kind of go against some of the themes of Dune. I do think everyone should read it though. :D

I do like the political system of Dune. I've always had a thing for how things were done in medieval times. I think its a nice step back to the basics, instead of having an overly complicated system like we do today. Granted individuals don't have as many freedoms, but I've always thought of freedom more as a responsibility than a right. Sometimes when I look around the country I kind of wish we didn't have as much freedom, but then I wish that people were more intelligent and responsible with their freedoms instead.
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Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2008 12:02

That's the problem with free democracy, half the people are below average intelligence.

I think we should go back to only white, male, land owners voting. :P
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Postby SandChigger » 27 Sep 2008 12:17

Yea! I'm in! :D
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Postby Anathema » 27 Sep 2008 12:54

There's a bit in GEoD (an epigram, I believe) where Leto II says he's disturbed by "liberals", because while every political movement seeks domination they do it under the pretense of liberating the people. Or something like that.

I've always thought FH would be socially liberal (for his age; and not of the virulently missionary kind) and an unideological sceptic to all things economical.

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Postby Freakzilla » 27 Sep 2008 13:21

Anathema wrote:There's a bit in GEoD (an epigram, I believe) where Leto II says he's disturbed by "liberals", because while every political movement seeks domination they do it under the pretense of liberating the people. Or something like that.

I've always thought FH would be socially liberal (for his age; and not of the virulently missionary kind) and an unideological sceptic to all things economical.


This one?

Safaris through ancestral memories teach me many things. The patterns, ahhh, the
patterns Liberal bigots are the ones who trouble me most. I distrust the
extremes. Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over
any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It's true! Liberal
governments always develop into aristocracies The bureaucracies betray the true
intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first, the little
people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens
found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of course,
all bureaucracies follow this pattern. but what a hypocrisy to find this even
under a communized banner Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything it's that
patterns are repeated. My oppressions. by and large, are no worse than any of
the others and, at least. I teach a new lesson.

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Postby Ampoliros » 27 Sep 2008 15:04

I get the impression that he was mocking how elitism is found more often in liberal ideology. There are very few conservative intellectual elitists and in my opinion we need more of them, because at the moment it seems like conservatism is basically anti-intellectual. The incestuous domination of conservative values by religious extremists and corporate bullies has crippled the effectiveness of that movement. "Truthiness" has taken over the conservative ideology. I'm not saying there is no corruption on the other side, I'm just saying that i feel like at the moment the liberal, progressive side has more of the thinkers.

Power attracts the corruptible.

I definitely agree that the idea that elitism will lead to aristocracy. I think we should stop fooling ourselves and try to create a form of aristocracy that forces government to focus on the needs of the many. Sounds like an oxymoron, but I don't think humanity can create a true democracy. I really don't feel like America is a democracy, I think we are an oligarchy (Financial Aristocracy) with a paint job. I certainly feel like we have a large amount of hydraulic despotism put in place in our economy. While it is possible for people to be "self-made" there are plenty of valves and switches with which to regulate the flow.

I certainly feel like the current media situation is a complete failure. People are so detached from the news and yet take it as gospel, or even worse as gossip. Anyone can cite an 'expert' to give an 'opinion' spin it as fact, and no one does any fact checking; even if it's done, it will be refuted. You can say anything on the news, and if it is from an authority figure it will be believe by 75% of the population, which is more than enough to label dissenters as 'crazy'.

I'll rant more later, sorry for the wall of text. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like we live under a government of Leto II, but instead of a God Emperor, we have George Bush.
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Postby halcyo » 01 Oct 2008 13:57

I too might consider myself a 'fanatical moderate' (which of course is meant to be a sort of silly oxymoron), and I am beginning to be deeply disturbed by the polarization of American politics. How so many people can be soooo fervently behind only one side of an argument is ridiculous and ultimately dangerous.

I was at a family get together the other night, and of course politics came up. My parents and most of my uncles and aunts are all pretty 'conservative', and one of my young cousins is pretty obviously 'liberal'. Heated conversation quickly turned to emotional meltdown, with people actually getting their feelings hurt. My cousin is super angry about Iraq (yea, all of it I guess) and is convinced that the Republicans are warmongering bastards.

One of the most fascinating themes of the Dune series to me is the POWER structures we create in any society. Morals and feelings aside, it is better to be the strongest than it is not to be! The depth of Frank's characters beautifully displays some very NECESSARY callous decision making, as it is better to win than to be admired. Dune has helped me to grow from a whiny, complaining, cynical little bitch into someone who accepts that getting what you want in life may require a 'fight' or use of POWER (literally and metaphorically).

I also find myself inspired to fully consider many extremes before forming an opinion about something. To me, only a fool could believe that he is always on the side that is right. Life just isn't that black and white.

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Postby Illogical Banana » 01 Oct 2008 23:46

I wholeheartedly agree with the last few tidbits in your post Halcyo. I love being around people similar to me :D
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Postby Dr. Why » 07 Oct 2008 02:23

I haven't been on in a while, but I must say Dune did shape my personal thinking in one major way. My politics really were not affected that much, when I first read Dune I was a Young Republican conservative posterboy, who stood on the street corners for George Bush, and refused to accept defeat if John Kerry was elected.

I came out of Dune a freewheeling atheist Libertarian. Dune probably was one of the biggest influences in my movement away from conservatism at the time, though there were other important factors. The main thing was the Butlerian Jihad, I saw mankind's potential crushed, his ability to create destroyed not to be revived till much later.

Heretics of Dune provided me with the line that ended my waffeling Catholic agnosticism to open Atheism. That line was "The mind of the believer stagnates, it refuses to grow out into an infinite universe" I am paraphrasing though. So Dune has definatley had a major impact on my personal thinking, and was in the background for the whole time during my political transformation.
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Postby halcyo » 07 Oct 2008 09:27

Although I had already considered myself an 'atheist', Dune also gave me much encouragement to continue take the 'high, hard road' so to speak (let's face it, sometimes it's not easy to NOT be a believer!). However, in a weird sort of way, the Bene Gesserit (especially in the last 2 novels) really made me reconsider my stance on 'spreading my atheism' in the sense that many people just aren't ready to take such a huge mental step into the 'infinite', as you say. I hate to sound callous and manipulative, but as long as you are careful not to sink to egotism, one can USE intelligence to propel themselves forward in this world.

Again, it is better to win than to lose.

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Postby Ampoliros » 07 Oct 2008 11:47

FH definitely got me out of organized religion, but he didn't cause me to revoke my faith. I certainly think that God can be reconciled with the infinite where religion cannot, and Dune made me appreciate even more my decision to leave organized religion behind. Its too personal, but any person who tries to make a claim, or label God as "This Way" is failing to appreciate the infinite.

Man, I'd love to have Frank's reaction to the current political climate.
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Postby moreh_yeladim » 07 Oct 2008 16:09

Am I the only one whose religious views were not seriously affected by reading "Dune"? If anything it made me want to take a knife to some infidels.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 07 Oct 2008 16:15

moreh_yeladim wrote:Am I the only one whose religious views were not seriously affected by reading "Dune"? If anything it made me want to take a knife to some infidels.


Mine weren't effected at all. I have the exact same spiritual beliefs as I did prior to reading it.

I agree, death to infidels! Which kind though? There are so many different kinds.
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Postby TheDukester » 07 Oct 2008 16:41

Same here: zero effect. But I can safely say that for all fiction.
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Postby Freakzilla » 07 Oct 2008 16:49

I was "backsliding" from Christianity, as my mom would put it, before I read Dune but it kind of greased the slope and gave me a gentle nudge in that direction.

I think I was too young then to have a real political view, but I started out (years later) as a liberal. After going through the army and the First Gulf War, then working in "The World", having kids, buying a house, etc., I slowly realized how insane that course was.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 07 Oct 2008 16:57

I guess it depends on what one takes from the word liberal, I don't think it means the same thing to me as it means to Freak, and certainly not what it means to Orald. In some ways I'm conservative, but in most I'm pretty liberal. Cynical liberal perhaps, but definitely liberal.

Dune did change a bit of how I look at politics though - I used to think it was plausible to have a stable system which worked well, but Dune made me re-think that quite a bit and now I prefer the idea of constant change and reform to prevent stagnation and the build up of red tape (which ironically probably mostly comes from change and reform done wrong).

Dune didn't have much of an effect on my spiritual beliefs, because I don't have any. :D
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Postby Freakzilla » 07 Oct 2008 17:20

A Thing of Eternity wrote:Dune didn't have much of an effect on my spiritual beliefs, because I don't have any. :D


I believed what my parents told me to believe, Dune just helped me think for myself.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 07 Oct 2008 17:28

Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:Dune didn't have much of an effect on my spiritual beliefs, because I don't have any. :D


I believed what my parents told me to believe, Dune just helped me think for myself.


I was super lucky, my parents didn't tell me anything one way or another in regards to religion. They told me about heaven to cop out of explaining death to me, but I eventually figured it out along with Santa and the Easter bunny. I thought god was a person who died at some point and was in charge of heaven, maybe he was the first one to get there? The idea of a creator, or a deity of any kind didn't make sense to me. Anyways, I figured myself for an Atheist pretty much as soon as I was old enough to understand what a god was.

If I ever had kids though, I wouldn't raise them Atheist, I'd just give them the same "I don't know" that my parents did and let them make their own decisions. I'd definitely steer them away from any particular religion though as best as I could though, that way leads to the dark side. :wink:
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Postby Tleszer » 07 Oct 2008 18:11

As with others here I don't think Dune changed significantly how I felt about politics or religion; that honor probably goes to the game Xenogears if only because it was the first that really made me start to think about and question preconceived notions of religion and good vs evil. The game did get me accepted into an honors college though :D

I haven't really believed in the plausibility of politics in a long time and think that its basically a broken system. I'm probably a moderate, though like everything neither the middle-ground nor the extremes are always right or correct.

With religion I was basically on my own and thus do not identify with either Judaism or Christianity (though I feel more Jewish than Christian). I have the sense of a spiritual/karmic force and that there may be a god/God but I certainly do not have a BELIEF that such things must exist.

The moment those ideas prevent me from trying to understand other points of view and want of learning is the moment I become a hypocrite. I'd rather be told that I'm wrong (with appropriate and acceptable proof) than remain ignorant.
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Postby Secher_Nbiw » 08 Oct 2008 03:32

Baraka Bryan wrote:Dune didn't change my political or religious views so much as enhance them and open my eyes to viewing them from different angles. I think I have a fuller understanding of my beliefs because of Dune.

responding to the liberal as a child, then going conservative I remember a great little line:

anyone who isn't a Liberal by the time they're 20 has no heart. Anyone who isn't a Conservative by the time they're 30 has no brain.
:D

i'm heartless, but at least i'm smart :D


nicely paraphrased from Churchill there!!

For me, I think Dune just pointed out the flaws in all political views and structures. Obviously democracy had utterly failed, because they are back to the Feudal system, but even this has it's problems, i.e. it all depends on the type of person who rules (the difference between Caladan and Geidi Prime for example). But this also must fail, due to the incessant fighting between houses, so it must become a theocracy. This fails as people lose blind faith. Then FH covers Tyranny, which no matter how long it lasts, will always be overthrown, as it is too much an unequal balance of power.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 08 Oct 2008 12:04

Baraka Bryan wrote:Dune didn't change my political or religious views so much as enhance them and open my eyes to viewing them from different angles. I think I have a fuller understanding of my beliefs because of Dune.

responding to the liberal as a child, then going conservative I remember a great little line:

anyone who isn't a Liberal by the time they're 20 has no heart. Anyone who isn't a Conservative by the time they're 30 has no brain.
:D

i'm heartless, but at least i'm smart :D


I guess I can't call that wrong till I'm 30 - man are you gonna hear from me in 6 or 7 years! :wink:
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