So, the other day, a guy was all derisive at me because i capitalised words referring to Leto II, and then he was all "i'm glad you were kidding" after i called him a infidel (or something). That is foolish on so many ways...
First, because if i was not kidding about the capitals, i would also be serious about calling him infidel. Second because if i really wanted to start a Frank Herbert Church (not a bad idea at all, just not the best idea, i'll get to it), to begin by capitalization would be ridiculous. And third....
Let me be clear about this: Do i search for spiritual content in Dune? YES I DO. In exactly the same sense that i do search for spiritual content in the Bhagavad Gita, or in Rumi, or in the Gospels -- or for that matter, in Harry Potter or Asimov. If watching Beverly Hills 90210 can take you to enlightenment, knock yourself off!
It just so happens that Frank Herbert is such a better source! Not only that, because of Frank i latter ended up reading about Zen and Sufi, about all kinds of stuff. And this in turn allowed me to read deeper and deeper meanings in Frank's work.
So, now, all of you trolls will throw the "do you want to start a cult? Hell NO!" quote at me. Don't bother. I have read it. And i do understand what it says. On the other hand, i think we can take this in the light of something like:
GEoD wrote:"No religion can ever be enough. It is a matter of choice a single, lonely choice. Do you understand now why your friendship and your company mean so much to me?"
So sometimes religion can be a pathway, something to help you to "realize that there was something larger, more meaningful in life than licking honeycomb and dressing up her pet monkey." But all religions are also bureaucratic structures that swap spirituality for raw power. And i don't believe Frank wanted to be involved in any of that -- i also think it should probably be major time boring to be a priest or something, he had better things to do.
But from that to say that there is nothing spiritual in Dune...
Frank does not offer easy answers. He does not promise you a piece of paradise. He says there is an inner path, and he tells you stories about the way. Spirituality, indeed, not in the sense that there is "another world" or a "grander intelligence", or any of that karmic mumbo-jumbo. Easy answers all of that. When i say i find spiritual content in Herbert's books, i mean he has been of great help in my own path, he helped me to have faith in myself, to be open to the other, to understand the price and the value of complexity, to accept sacrifice but to pay back treachery... In short, how to be a human.
Not that i accept everything that Frank says as true. I dislike his gender views, for example. But, as counter-intuitive as that might seem, he has taught me to never accept anything blindly. I think a Frank Herbert church would be a much better thing than many of the religions we have around today -- at least, i believe it would be a religion able to speak about our contemporary world instead of about the past. But there are other options. We could, for example, discuss his works and try to understand them better, in something like a internet forum, you know? Or we can, each of us, just keep to the BG rule of "Never support weakness; always support strength." Many lonely paths, but also many good friends.
If you don't know -- and i don't mean accept the possibility, i mean take the sheer obviousness of the thing as almost exaggerated -- if you don't know that Frank Herbert was a preacher, that his novels are but thin excuses for his lecturing about whatever topic he deemed important, well if you don't know that even SandChigger seems intelligent close to you.
If you like the literature but dislike the ideology... Well, go read Asimov. There is almost nothing in Dune that wasn't taken from Foundation, except that Frank knew what the Seldon Plan was.
Now if you do think that there is more to it then just another action hero, then i have this to say to you. There are others. Let's strengthen each other along the way. Hope! And farewell.