• Register
  • Login
  •          

    Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Image
      Kill the non-believers!

    Moderators: Omphalos, Freakzilla, ᴶᵛᵀᴬ

    Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 01 Feb 2012 00:15

    Bai-la Kaifa, water brethren

    I was wondering if there are any religious scholars here in Jacurutu, who understand Islamic tradition, its ideology and mythology, and how it relates to the structure and plot of DUNE as well as how it relates to the faith of the Fremen.

    I find it interesting that Islam, a religious successor to Judaism and Christianity, when it is ecumenically transformed in DUNE, is changed from a monotheistic religion to a polytheistic one... Well, maybe that's not quite accurate. Hindu has thousands of gods, but they are all considered to be faces one God. The same is true with the Arrakeen Zensunni faith, where the worms are kind of revered like they are the many faces of God. The original stories of Islam, as well as the teachings of Buddhism combined with it, are probably all lost by the time period of DUNE. According to the appendix, the Zensunni's broke off from the worshippers of the Third Mohammed. What was his story, I wonder?

    According to Willis E. McNelly in one of the special features on the FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE Director's Cut DVD, Frank Herbert studied the Koran and other Islamic texts for his research for DUNE. Besides the fact that the Bedouins, one of the inspirations for the Fremen, are Muslim, what else do you think attracted Frank to Islam to make it a religious focal point for DUNE?
    '...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
    User avatar
    Jodorowsky's Acolyte
     
    Posts: 370
    Joined: 10 Jul 2010 10:55

    Re: Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Postby antonio » 01 Feb 2012 20:34

    Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:Bai-la Kaifa, water brethren

    I was wondering if there are any religious scholars here in Jacurutu, who understand Islamic tradition, its ideology and mythology, and how it relates to the structure and plot of DUNE as well as how it relates to the faith of the Fremen.

    I find it interesting that Islam, a religious successor to Judaism and Christianity, when it is ecumenically transformed in DUNE, is changed from a monotheistic religion to a polytheistic one... Well, maybe that's not quite accurate. Hindu has thousands of gods, but they are all considered to be faces one God. The same is true with the Arrakeen Zensunni faith, where the worms are kind of revered like they are the many faces of God. The original stories of Islam, as well as the teachings of Buddhism combined with it, are probably all lost by the time period of DUNE. According to the appendix, the Zensunni's broke off from the worshippers of the Third Mohammed. What was his story, I wonder?

    According to Willis E. McNelly in one of the special features on the FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE Director's Cut DVD, Frank Herbert studied the Koran and other Islamic texts for his research for DUNE. Besides the fact that the Bedouins, one of the inspirations for the Fremen, are Muslim, what else do you think attracted Frank to Islam to make it a religious focal point for DUNE?


    I'm not an Islamic religious scholar, but I believe that Frank Herbert drew upon his knowledge of Catholic history in creating the Islamic background for his "Dune" stories. Let me explain. I know that the Jesuits had as a major goal the conversion of Moslems through the use of logical argumentation. This was one of their primary missions. However, Frank Herbert appears to have played around with this idea and transformed the male Jesuits into female Bene Gesserits, and the Jesuit's adversary, the Moslems, into the predominant religion of the Empire. Islam does not feature in a prominent way in any of Frank Herbert's other writings, and he was not known to be a Moslem or to be an advocate for the Moslem religion. So my theory is this, Frank Herbert made Islam the focal point for the "Dune" novels because it was associated in his mind with the Jesuits. He used many Islamic vocabulary words to create a cultural atmosphere for his Dune books, but he restructured the religious tenants of Islam to conform to his own ideas about self-reliance and Eastern spiritual practices. In addition, I understand that Frank Herbert was impressed and influenced by the movie "Lawrence of Arabia." As a result, he based his novels on some of the characters and situations from that movie.

    For example: "If Lawrence had been killed at a crucial point in the struggle, Herbert notes, he might well have become a new "avatar" for the Arabs. The Lawrence analogy suggested to Herbert the possibility for manipulation of the messianic impulses within a culture by outsiders with ulterior purposes."
    antonio
     
    Posts: 38
    Joined: 14 Apr 2011 19:08

    Re: Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 22 Feb 2012 22:46

    Thanks, Antonio! A bunch of the valid points you've made I'm familiar with, such as the Jesuit inspiration for Bene Gesserit, and T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom having an impact of the development of Dune. I know that Herbert's religion wasn't Muslim, though I think it's awesome that he was kind of the first Sci-Fi author in the 60s to use Islam and Arabic culture as inspiration for his desert planetary nomads, and the messianic ascendance of Paul in a desert environment. It was a pretty far out concept to have the hero of Dune be a sort of Shakespearean royal prince whose life resembles the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, and whose supernatural path to enlightment and military feats borrows from Muhammad's Koranical story.

    I read the interview McNelly had with Herbert. Even though the interview bumbles in places, I loved the part where Herbert and McNelly believed that if Lawrence had martyred himself for the cause of Arab independence, his death would have been a catalyst to drive the Europeans out, and to immortalize Lawrence as a prophet. The fact that Lawrence didn't martyr himself for the Arab cause feels like he unknowingly prevented a holy rebellion in the vein of Paul Mua'Dib's jihad across the Known-Universe (at a smaller continental scale of course).
    '...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
    User avatar
    Jodorowsky's Acolyte
     
    Posts: 370
    Joined: 10 Jul 2010 10:55

    Re: Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Postby antonio » 23 Feb 2012 20:55

    Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:Thanks, Antonio! A bunch of the valid points you've made I'm familiar with, such as the Jesuit inspiration for Bene Gesserit, and T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom having an impact of the development of Dune. I know that Herbert's religion wasn't Muslim, though I think it's awesome that he was kind of the first Sci-Fi author in the 60s to use Islam and Arabic culture as inspiration for his desert planetary nomads, and the messianic ascendance of Paul in a desert environment. It was a pretty far out concept to have the hero of Dune be a sort of Shakespearean royal prince whose life resembles the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, and whose supernatural path to enlightment and military feats borrows from Muhammad's Koranical story.

    I read the interview McNelly had with Herbert. Even though the interview bumbles in places, I loved the part where Herbert and McNelly believed that if Lawrence had martyred himself for the cause of Arab independence, his death would have been a catalyst to drive the Europeans out, and to immortalize Lawrence as a prophet. The fact that Lawrence didn't martyr himself for the Arab cause feels like he unknowingly prevented a holy rebellion in the vein of Paul Mua'Dib's jihad across the Known-Universe (at a smaller continental scale of course).
    You're welcome. I know Frank Herbert was once a ghost writer for S. I. Hayakawa, a major proponent of general semantics. It's possible that this background might help account for the fact that Frank Herbert reportedly had a huge library of books on Islam, and yet he never accurately reflected Islamic beliefs in his "Dune" stories. In other words, it seems that he was simply culling these Islamic books for Islamic vocabulary words: vocabulary words likely to be unfamiliar to most English language readers, to create a convincing otherworldly cultural atmosphere for his Dune Chronicles. I believe an additional interest of Frank Herbert's was hypnotism, and ideas associated with hypnotism appear throughout the Dune Chronicles. One semantic concept associated with hypnotism is "nominalism." According to Ericksonian hypnosis theory, "nominalisms" are vocabulary words that lack any concrete external referent, and as a result, a reader is left free to imagine their own meanings for those terms. It is possible that Frank Herbert collected an assortment of Islamic terms to include in his "Dune" novels to inspire his readers to apply their own subjective meanings for these terms, and as a result discover new ways for viewing their own inner life experiences and the external political realities they confront in everyday life. This may be how Islamic vocabulary is related to the structure and plot of "Dune," however this relationship is not one an Islamic scholar is likely to uncover.
    antonio
     
    Posts: 38
    Joined: 14 Apr 2011 19:08

    Re: Islamic Ideology and Mythology, and the Zensunni Faith

    Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 14 Jun 2013 00:23

    Hi again, antonio!

    It's been a long while, but I wanted to continue our discussion again.

    Of course, Dune isn't a full and accurate depiction of Islamic beliefs, because Islam in Dune has evolved way, way, WAY beyond its original monotheistic Middle-Eastern Earth-based roots into a intergalactic desert ecology-based polytheistic religion. The Fremen's faith is more akin to pre-Islamic Arabs, which is appropriate, because Paul is sort of a futuristic equivalent of Mohammed by uniting all the Fremen tribes with new religion centered around his actions. Of course, Mohammed was never represented as being messiah or deity, but as an emissary of God. Paul's actions by comparison are dangerous, because Paul not only fully basks himself into the expected mythology of the messiah, he suggests that he is not just the anointed one of God, or the worm Gods, but that he IS God, or the God everyone was expecting. Leto II takes this dangerous course of religious action even further by claiming that he too is God, and he rules for thousands of years until someone finally manages to kill him. In way, Herbert's Dune chronicles, at least for the first four books, are futuristic Islamic morality plays which explore the dangers of people establishing themselves as being the Messiah or God in place of the original monotheistic God and his originally anointed Messiah...

    Or maybe not. But still, there is a running theme throughout the Abramic religions of monotheism about great people claiming to be Messiahs or God. in Claudius the God, Herod Aggripa once claimed to be the Messiah just so he could get all the people on his side to snatch some territory from Rome, and he died shortly after he realized he was disrespecting God by making up the claim that he was the anointed one.
    '...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
    User avatar
    Jodorowsky's Acolyte
     
    Posts: 370
    Joined: 10 Jul 2010 10:55


    Return to ˱

    Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest