Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

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rhpt
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Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

Postby rhpt » 02 May 2020 10:12


I started reading Dune last summer and didn't plan on reading all six books, but I enjoyed the original so much that I haven't stopped. I especially enjoyed GEoD. However, I am still debating whether I should read books 7 and 8. It might depend on how I feel about the ending of Chapterhouse

The other day I completed Heretics of Dune, and it brought up a few questions. Hoping I can get some explanation for them as I have found it difficult to find a dedicated community of Dune fans that are willing to discuss it in-depth.

First, I'm not exactly sure I understand Tarzara's plan totally. This is what I gathered from the book.

  • Have a Ghola ready for the time Sheena appeares on Rakis (as proheptized by Leto)
  • Send the Ghola to Rakis to "mate" with Sheena
  • Tarzara knew that the Tleilaxu conditioned the Ghola so that it would
    1. Kill Lucilla if she tried to imprint him
    2. Counter the Honored Matres' sexual dominance
    3. Recover memories of all previous Gholaa
  • This would lead the Honored Matres to destroy the Ghola, and Rakis - thus killing all sandworms
  • Except for one worm Tarzara ordered Odrade to save (via Sheeana) with help from Miles - who will somehow know to be on Rakis at the exact moment Ordrade and Sheena need to escape

I think that about sums it up ...

Now, here are the things I don't get and some of this covers God Emperor ...

  • At the end of the Heretics Odrade says the Bene Gesserit have to re-think its history due to something Miles discovered. What did Miles discover?
  • Wazs Taraza's plot part of the Golden Path, or was her plan to break humanity from the Golden Path?
  • Was Leto aware that the GP would produce the Honored Matres and his Fish Speakers/Siaynoq would be perversely twisted?
  • Was the destruction and death of the worms part of the GP?
  • Did Leto "push" the Ixians to develop no-technology with his request for devices to write and shield his diary?
  • Was the Uber-Idaho part of Leto's plan? Is that one of the reasons he kept producting Ghola Idahos?




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Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

Postby georgiedenbro » 07 May 2020 14:04

Good post, rhpt, and welcome!

Your summary sounds reasonable, as best as I can remember since reading it last. I'll try my best with some of your questions:

[*]At the end of the Heretics Odrade says the Bene Gesserit have to re-think its history due to something Miles discovered. What did Miles discover?


Is there a specific quote you're referencing here? Without knowing that, the best I can say is that Miles had a theory about how to be defensible, which involves always being mobile and never being holed in. I assume his understanding of this was groundbreaking, and probably in some way relates to other gifts of his. If this is what you (and Odrade) are referring to then the BG need to rethink their pattern of situating themselves in one region of space and worrying about one Empire and the lines of power that run through it. All of it circles around the spice, which in turn sits on one planet. In short all of this was locked in, and was just begging to be whacked by some bigger fish. Mobility requires completely rethinking what for the BG had always been a clear way to control things. If there is such a thing as control, it could no longer be done in this way.

[*]Wazs Taraza's plot part of the Golden Path, or was her plan to break humanity from the Golden Path?


Leto seems to have refused to peer into the far future except *only* to verify that his path led to humanity surviving. Beyond that he at least claims not to want to know the details, perhaps in part for fear of locking humanity into his vision. To the extent that Taraza's plan was a furthering of removing all the eggs from one basket for the BG, I doubt that Leto II would have specifically created a future for them of his choosing. His plan was to safeguard all of humanity, but not specifically to save the BG as far as we know.

[*]Was Leto aware that the GP would produce the Honored Matres and his Fish Speakers/Siaynoq would be perversely twisted?


I do think he had definite notions of how Siaqnoq would be used in the future, but I personally think he came to this determination through logic and mentat reasoning, rather than prescience. I don't think he used the powers of the oracle to look thousands of years into the future to look for cultural details. Whether he might have surmised through logic that the HM's would become what they did...well I guess it's not that much a surprise that once 'sexual technology' (so to speak) exists it will eventually get out of BG hands and be used in all manner of ways. Secrets can't remain secret forever; if knowledge exists it will get out and be used by many. So yeah, I guess he'd have figured someone would misuse sexual slavery, but I also don't really think he specifically foresaw them specifically.

[*]Was the destruction and death of the worms part of the GP?


The GP was only about prevent humanity's extinction. IMO it also involved certain 'lessons' to lead us forward, some of those lessons genetic, but the GP did not seem to detail any specific measures that would be taken in future. Although it's true that humanity would sort of be screwed if the worms died, the GP doesn't seem to strictly speaking be about the spice always existing. I assume that, technologically speaking, a substitute would eventually be expected one way or the other...

Now regarding whether Leto II's vision specifically did involve this future and Taraza's plan, it might have, but that doesn't mean he was aware of it. He did choose a future, but chose not to examine it too closely other than knowing it worked.

[*]Did Leto "push" the Ixians to develop no-technology with his request for devices to write and shield his diary?


I think he did. I think he also pushed the INM so as to kick off the Scattering. Its invention is probably why he timed his death when he did.

[*]Was the Uber-Idaho part of Leto's plan? Is that one of the reasons he kept producting Ghola Idahos?[/list]


Well I think that was a BT plan, but are you asking whether he was aware of it or even supporting it? I don't really know the answer to that. We run the risk sometimes of assuming Leto II was just omniscient, which he wasn't, and he did like surprises. He did seem to definitely have a plan for Idaho that involved (a) having Idaho keep him in check somewhat, and especially to gauge how much he had become The Worm. And his plan for Duncan also involved Siona and genetics, of course. I'm not sure what use he would have had to hope to produce a special uber-ghola.
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Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

Postby Freakzilla » 07 May 2020 14:25

rhpt wrote:
I started reading Dune last summer and didn't plan on reading all six books, but I enjoyed the original so much that I haven't stopped. I especially enjoyed GEoD. However, I am still debating whether I should read books 7 and 8. It might depend on how I feel about the ending of Chapterhouse

The other day I completed Heretics of Dune, and it brought up a few questions. Hoping I can get some explanation for them as I have found it difficult to find a dedicated community of Dune fans that are willing to discuss it in-depth.

First, I'm not exactly sure I understand Tarzara's plan totally. This is what I gathered from the book.

  • Have a Ghola ready for the time Sheena appeares on Rakis (as proheptized by Leto)
  • Send the Ghola to Rakis to "mate" with Sheena


That prophecy sounds made up to me, at least it wasn't in the text. I'm not sure they really knew why they kept making gholas except that Leto must have had a good reason to.

  • Tarzara knew that the Tleilaxu conditioned the Ghola so that it would
    1. Kill Lucilla if she tried to imprint him
    2. Counter the Honored Matres' sexual dominance
    3. Recover memories of all previous Gholaa
  • This would lead the Honored Matres to destroy the Ghola, and Rakis - thus killing all sandworms
  • Except for one worm Tarzara ordered Odrade to save (via Sheeana) with help from Miles - who will somehow know to be on Rakis at the exact moment Ordrade and Sheena need to escape


  • I don't think the BG knew what the BT had done to the gholas, just that they had done something. I think much of the "plan" was improvised. The BG may have suspected what had been done to the gholas after the BT demonstrated absorbed HM sexual abilities. They knew the BT had received info from BT returning from The Scattering and put the two together.

    I think that about sums it up ...

    Now, here are the things I don't get and some of this covers God Emperor ...

    • At the end of the Heretics Odrade says the Bene Gesserit have to re-think its history due to something Miles discovered. What did Miles discover?
    • Wazs Taraza's plot part of the Golden Path, or was her plan to break humanity from the Golden Path?
    • Was Leto aware that the GP would produce the Honored Matres and his Fish Speakers/Siaynoq would be perversely twisted?
    • Was the destruction and death of the worms part of the GP?
    • Did Leto "push" the Ixians to develop no-technology with his request for devices to write and shield his diary?
    • Was the Uber-Idaho part of Leto's plan? Is that one of the reasons he kept producting Ghola Idahos?


    Teg showed them that they were losing their humanity, at least that's what I got out of it.

    Leto claimed he didn't look past his death except to confirm that the GP continued.

    The destruction of the worms was to break whatever remnant hold Leto had on the Old Empire.

    Leto didn't discourage no-tech. It was needed until Siona's gene's could proliferate

    I don't think Leto kept ordering the gholas other than the reasons he gave; a control on his breeding program, commander of his guard, and to doubt everyone around him.
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby Freakzilla » 07 May 2020 14:31

    Also, the Idaho gholas apparently tried to kill him repeatedly. I think he kept bringing him back like Cato Fong in the Pink Panther movies. All he had to do when he was ready to die was relax his guard. Or in the case of GEoD, actually aid Idaho's efforts.
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 May 2020 12:12

    I think this is the passage he's referring to:

    The "Last Will and Testament of Miles Teg," which he had planted in the noship's
    submolecular storage systems, could not be discredited. Even Bellonda
    agreed to that.
    Chapter House required a complete revision of all its historical records. A new
    look had been demanded of them by what Teg had seen of the Lost Ones -- the
    whores from the Scattering.
    "You seldom learn the names of the truly wealthy and powerful. You see only
    their spokesmen. The political arena makes a few exceptions to this but does
    not reveal the full power structure."
    The Mentat philosopher had chewed deep into everything they accepted and what he
    disgorged did not agree with Archival dependence upon "our inviolate
    summations."
    We knew it, Miles, we just never faced up to it. We're all going to be digging
    in our Other Memories for the next few generations.
    Fixed data, storage systems could not be trusted.
    "If you destroy most copies, time will take care of the rest."
    How Archives had raged at that telling pronouncement by the Bashar!
    "The writing of history is largely a process of diversion. Most historical
    accounts divert attention from the secret influences around the recorded
    events."
    That was the one that had brought down Bellonda. She had taken it up on her
    own, admitting: "The few histories that escape this restrictive process vanish
    into obscurity through obvious processes."
    Teg had listed some of the processes: "Destruction of as many copies as
    possible, burying the too revealing accounts in ridicule, ignoring them in the
    centers of education, insuring that they are not quoted elsewhere and, in some
    cases, elimination of the authors."
    Not to mention the scapegoat process that brought death to more than one
    messenger bearing unwelcome news, Odrade thought. She recalled an ancient ruler
    who kept a pikestaff handy with which to kill messengers who brought bad news.
    "We have a, good base of information upon which to build a better understanding
    of our past," Odrade had argued. "We've always known that what was at stake in
    conflicts was the determination of who would control the wealth or its
    equivalent."
    Maybe it was not a real "noble purpose" but it would do for the time being.
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby georgiedenbro » 13 May 2020 12:03

    If that's the passage, then I guess I'd have to re-read Heretics to find out what Teg discovered. I don't recall one specific event that led to this idea, but maybe I'm forgetting it.
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby Freakzilla » 13 May 2020 12:16

    It seems kind of naive to think the BG weren't aware of those things mentioned in Teg's will. Maybe they just thought they were above that kind of thing?
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby georgiedenbro » 13 May 2020 12:34

    Freakzilla wrote:It seems kind of naive to think the BG weren't aware of those things mentioned in Teg's will. Maybe they just thought they were above that kind of thing?


    Maybe I was reading too much into the phrasing "due to something Miles discovered." If the issue is that he had a new idea, and it's something that escaped BG notice, then it would have to be pretty significant, I agree. "History is written by the victors" is too ridiculous for that to be the thing the BG couldn't face up to; so it has to be something deeper.

    Here's a stab at it: Miles did seem to pioneer the idea that mobility rules above all other factors, and that being dug-in or entrenched was a death sentence. I think maybe this can apply to other areas of life than combat strategy, and might even include more broadly the idea of ecosystems. For instance, the idea that "you're adapted" to an ecosystem is a misunderstanding, because ecosystems are always changing. The real way to adapt is to always be changing with them. Likewise, a particular social structure is never anything you can rely on to remain as it is; at the start of Dune we found ourselves right at the moment of an inevitable upheaval from the previous order. And this definitely applies to sexuality and genetics, where the sexual combinations are always pushing forward, never staying the same. We see this shown through the worm cycle = penis/sex metaphor imagery, where 'the spice' would seem to be not just emotional or even sexual variety, but a general movement towards increasing diversity and change in all circumstances of life. All things in nature change or die.

    Getting back to Teg, I think maybe the idea here is that even information and historical understanding isn't just a static thing that you can package up and say 'that's what happened.' As we change, so therefore does the study of history, since we are the ones observing it. A historian doesn't 'see history', so much as have a point of view about history. It's something like the oracle, I think, where the observer isn't some distant bystander (which was the mentat mistake) but part of the thing being observed, and so history changes as we do even though it's "past." I think the BG, being such masters of past knowledge and memory, might very well have fallen into the trap of thinking that their accumulated knowledge amounted to a series of "facts" about the past, not realizing that it was actually a series of personal observations from people who are now contained in other peoples' memories, etc etc; it's like an endless series of mirrors, where your current POV of the past is shaded by the POV of those in your OM, and in turn will affect how the next RM's see it. It's not a series of facts, but rather a series of projections about the past, or perceptions even, and those will change just as fast as everything else in nature. The BG disposition was probably to want these facts to be permanently enshrined in their catalog, along with their genetic records and other information, with their usual level of detail and precision. Problem is, it turns out the past changes, in a manner of speaking, and you have to change with it. Mobility, once again. The sisters had been dug-in and entrenched in their storehouse of information, not realizing it was changing with them all along. It's a similar mistake to the one they made with the KH, only this time on a higher level; basically the realization is that all of our knowledge is subject to change all the time, and we have to keep up with it. No assumptions can be kept forever without being updated.

    Maybe that's the idea?
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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby rhpt » 13 May 2020 19:06

    Here is the relevant passage from the book ...

    The "Last Will and Testament of Miles Teg," which he had planted in the no-ship's submolecular storage systems, could not be discredited. Even Bellonda agreed to that.

    Chapter House required a complete revision of all its historical records. A new look had been demanded of them by what Teg had seen of the Lost Ones — the whores from the Scattering.

    "You seldom learn the names of the truly wealthy and powerful. You see only their spokesmen. The political arena makes a few exceptions to this but does not reveal the full power structure."

    The Mentat philosopher had chewed deep into everything they accepted and what he disgorged did not agree with Archival dependence upon "our inviolate summations."

    We knew it, Miles, we just never faced up to it. We're all going to be digging in our Other Memories for the next few generations.

    Fixed data, storage systems could not be trusted.

    "If you destroy most copies, time will take care of the rest."

    How Archives had raged at that telling pronouncement by the Bashar!

    "The writing of history is largely a process of diversion. Most historical accounts divert attention from the secret influences around the recorded events."

    That was the one that had brought down Bellonda. She had taken it up on her own, admitting: "The few histories that escape this restrictive process vanish into obscurity through obvious processes."

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    Re: Taraza's Plan in Heretics and other questions

    Postby rhpt » 14 May 2020 09:33

    I like this explanation. The idea that the BG think of OM as "facts" instead of a personal view into history is touched in Chapterhouse too

    georgiedenbro wrote:Maybe I was reading too much into the phrasing "due to something Miles discovered." If the issue is that he had a new idea, and it's something that escaped BG notice, then it would have to be pretty significant, I agree. "History is written by the victors" is too ridiculous for that to be the thing the BG couldn't face up to; so it has to be something deeper.

    Here's a stab at it: Miles did seem to pioneer the idea that mobility rules above all other factors, and that being dug-in or entrenched was a death sentence. I think maybe this can apply to other areas of life than combat strategy, and might even include more broadly the idea of ecosystems. For instance, the idea that "you're adapted" to an ecosystem is a misunderstanding, because ecosystems are always changing. The real way to adapt is to always be changing with them. Likewise, a particular social structure is never anything you can rely on to remain as it is; at the start of Dune we found ourselves right at the moment of an inevitable upheaval from the previous order. And this definitely applies to sexuality and genetics, where the sexual combinations are always pushing forward, never staying the same. We see this shown through the worm cycle = penis/sex metaphor imagery, where 'the spice' would seem to be not just emotional or even sexual variety, but a general movement towards increasing diversity and change in all circumstances of life. All things in nature change or die.

    Getting back to Teg, I think maybe the idea here is that even information and historical understanding isn't just a static thing that you can package up and say 'that's what happened.' As we change, so therefore does the study of history, since we are the ones observing it. A historian doesn't 'see history', so much as have a point of view about history. It's something like the oracle, I think, where the observer isn't some distant bystander (which was the mentat mistake) but part of the thing being observed, and so history changes as we do even though it's "past." I think the BG, being such masters of past knowledge and memory, might very well have fallen into the trap of thinking that their accumulated knowledge amounted to a series of "facts" about the past, not realizing that it was actually a series of personal observations from people who are now contained in other peoples' memories, etc etc; it's like an endless series of mirrors, where your current POV of the past is shaded by the POV of those in your OM, and in turn will affect how the next RM's see it. It's not a series of facts, but rather a series of projections about the past, or perceptions even, and those will change just as fast as everything else in nature. The BG disposition was probably to want these facts to be permanently enshrined in their catalog, along with their genetic records and other information, with their usual level of detail and precision. Problem is, it turns out the past changes, in a manner of speaking, and you have to change with it. Mobility, once again. The sisters had been dug-in and entrenched in their storehouse of information, not realizing it was changing with them all along. It's a similar mistake to the one they made with the KH, only this time on a higher level; basically the realization is that all of our knowledge is subject to change all the time, and we have to keep up with it. No assumptions can be kept forever without being updated.

    Maybe that's the idea?