The Lesson of the Box

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    One of the two remaining Great Schools tasked with mentoring humanity

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georgiedenbro
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The Lesson of the Box

Postby georgiedenbro » 30 Sep 2014 11:07

Dune wrote:The old woman said: “You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind.”


This is the story of Paul, Leto II, and the Golden Path. Paul found himself caught in a prescient trap, and in a desire to be free chose to ‘chew off’ his vision to escape it. Leto II made the more ‘human’ choice to endure the pain, to feign death (i.e. avoid it), and to remove a threat to his kind. Paul going into the desert may seem like feigning death, but he didn't remain in the trap; he removed himself from it but still condemned his kind to its dangers. Paul did protect the universe from one trapper (himself) but left it open to other trappers. When the trapper is the same person as the one caught in the trap, a more sophisticated solution is needed than merely removing oneself. Leto II, it seems, learned the BG lesson better and tried to safeguard against all trappers; perhaps one reason he respected them?

The box itself resembles the prescient experience: a series of horrors and pain experienced only by the mind of the user, but requiring an immediate decision of what to do: to remain, or to escape. The idea of a ‘black box’, i.e. the area of the unknown, resembles prescience somewhat. The user doesn't know what's inside by direct observation, but must stick his hand inside and meet his personal reality there. Information comes to his brain by direct 'nerve induction', much in the way prescient knowledge comes to the mind directly. The box seems to be a metaphorical analogue to the use of prescience. I wonder whether the Sisterhood chose this as their human-testing method precisely for this reason, so that it could function as a lesson on prescience as well for any Sisters who had the ability like Mohiam, and eventually for the KH.
"um-m-m-ah-h-h-hm-m-m-m!"

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lotek
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Re: The Lesson of the Box

Postby lotek » 30 Sep 2014 12:32

I feel more like it's Paul who chewed off his hand to escape the trap of prescience (to no avail, since the wheels were already in motion)

Leto embraced it so he could utimately make it irrelevant, he even calls himself the ultimate predator.

And if I remember well, I think it was Paul who compared prescience to walking the desert dunes/sailing the sea, sometimes you're on a crest you can see ahead, sometimes you're not and the future remains a mystery.
Spice is the worm's gonads.

georgiedenbro
Posts: 755
Joined: 11 Jun 2014 13:56
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: The Lesson of the Box

Postby georgiedenbro » 30 Sep 2014 13:36

lotek wrote:I feel more like it's Paul who chewed off his hand to escape the trap of prescience (to no avail, since the wheels were already in motion)

Leto embraced it so he could utimately make it irrelevant, he even calls himself the ultimate predator.

And if I remember well, I think it was Paul who compared prescience to walking the desert dunes/sailing the sea, sometimes you're on a crest you can see ahead, sometimes you're not and the future remains a mystery.


I think what you said about Paul and what I said are the same thing...

Paul and Alia do use a dune crest image when explaining prescience to Stilgar in DM, and Leto II uses the image of a surfboard in CoD to explain how he feels:

CoD wrote:"You know why you torment yourself this way," she said.
He heard the gentle chiding in her voice. Yes, he knew. The answer lay there
in his awareness, obvious: Because that great known-unknown within moves me like
a wave. He felt the cresting of his past as though he rode a surfboard. He had
his father's time-spread memories of prescience superimposed upon everything
else, yet he wanted all of those pasts. He wanted them. And they were so very
dangerous. He knew that completely now with this new thing which he would have
to tell Ghanima.
"um-m-m-ah-h-h-hm-m-m-m!"


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