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.