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    The Navigators

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      The monopolizer of all interstellar transportation and communication

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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby dunaddict » 29 Nov 2009 19:50

    FH in Dune wrote:"I'm going to watch our screens and try to see a Guildsman."
    "You won't. Not even their agents ever see a Guildsman. The Guild's as jealous of its privacy as it is of its monopoly. Don't do anything to endanger our shipping privileges, Paul."
    "Do you think they hide because they've mutated and don't look . . . human anymore?"
    "Who knows?" The Duke shrugged. "It's a mystery we're not likely to solve.


    This quote from the beginning of DUNE suggests the idea of mutated Navigators was there from the beginning. Maybe he forgot about it when he was writing the last chapter and remembered it while he was preparing DUNE: MESSIAH.

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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby SandChigger » 29 Nov 2009 22:32

    Seems an odd detail to totally forget, though, no?


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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby DragEgusku » 04 May 2010 11:47

    When I first read the Dune series, I was surprised by the notion of prescience. Why Frank Herbert introduced this ability, attributed Guild Navigators? From what I know from physics, because of the uncertainty principle, it is impossible to accurately predict the future.
    In addition, this ability seems more mystical than scientific. But then Dune is a science fiction or fantasy series?
    In short, how plausible is (eg) prescience, scientifically speaking?

    I have a lot of questions about the Dune universe. I hope that's okay. If you bother, tell me.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby TheDukester » 04 May 2010 12:25

    DragEgusku wrote:I have a lot of questions about the Dune universe. I hope that's okay. If you bother, tell me.

    Oh, you've come to the right place. Some of these guys really know their Dune ... they've gotten deep into it.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 May 2010 15:53

    DragEgusku wrote:I have a lot of questions about the Dune universe. I hope that's okay. If you bother, tell me.


    OK? It's what I live for. :D
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby MrFlibble » 05 May 2010 08:40

    DragEgusku wrote:In short, how plausible is (eg) prescience, scientifically speaking?

    Well, first off, the phenomenon of prescience is never explained in the books. It is mentioned in Messiah that those who practised it themselves did not fully understand its workings either. So Frank heavily used negative capability in this question, leaving it for the readers to work the details out.

    Personally I haven't been much interested in the issue of prescience in the Dune series, but you can read some sources on ESP (Extra-Sensory-Perception) to get a general idea of how modern science deals with suchlike phenomena.

    I also remember that Frank mentioned in the well-known McNelly interview that he once had a personal experience with ESP in his youth, when he was able to correctly guess all cards in a deck.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby SandRider » 05 May 2010 11:03

    I've always thought your question about prescience and that pesky uncertainty principle presented problems
    with the Guild Navigation methods .... how do the Navigators know the path they choose will not alter
    something during the passage, thus requiring another future look-see, and we never leave the gate ?

    of course, smarter people than me will point out that the uncertainty principle as we know it applies
    to subatomic particle behavior &etc.

    Paul said from a distance, Time was a wide horizon, a narrow door when passed thru ... he flew thopters blind ...
    perhaps Herbertarian prescient vision negates uncertainty, forcing matter to react in a concrete manner ...
    i.e., the dust particles that could've clogged the thopters engines weren't, and couldn't be, sucked into the
    intake because Paul had already seen himself surviving the flight ... or alot of other Deep Thought bullshit that's
    beyond my edskashun ....

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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 May 2010 11:13

    SandRider wrote:I've always thought your question about prescience and that pesky uncertainty principle presented problems
    with the Guild Navigation methods .... how do the Navigators know the path they choose will not alter
    something during the passage, thus requiring another future look-see, and we never leave the gate ?

    of course, smarter people than me will point out that the uncertainty principle as we know it applies
    to subatomic particle behavior &etc.


    I was watching "The Universe" last night, the one about Parallel Universes and they were using the Uncertainty Principal to justify belief in parallel universes. If your decision making process merely depends on which way an electron goes, then both outcomes must exist until you choose one, at that time you branch off into that parallel universe.

    Paul said from a distance, Time was a wide horizon, a narrow door when passed thru ... he flew thopters blind ...
    perhaps Herbertarian prescient vision negates uncertainty, forcing matter to react in a concrete manner ...
    i.e., the dust particles that could've clogged the thopters engines weren't, and couldn't be, sucked into the
    intake because Paul had already seen himself surviving the flight ... or alot of other Deep Thought bullshit that's
    beyond my edskashun ....

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    His fans eat boogers !
    Nyah !


    Navigator's prescience was very limited, Paul described it as linear. Paul saw all possible futures (or parallel universes, as described above) so in my opinion that completely jives with uncertainty.

    It's harder for me to explain how a Navigator's prescience works because we aren't told much about them.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby lotek » 05 May 2010 11:22

    could it have anything to do with the fact that the Guild chose a limited form of prescience?
    Again i know there is a quote on that subject in Dune, where paul explains how the guild survived by accepting to be constantly dependant on its host.
    Maybe that limited vision of the future was enough to guide a Heighliner through space but not enough to seize control for themselves.
    I dunno it feels like since they didn't look too far their vision would be less subject to change "in time".

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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 May 2010 11:41

    The way I see it, the Guild looked into the future to see what WOULD happen, Paul looked to see what COULD happen.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby lotek » 05 May 2010 11:50

    meaning they chose the way where they can only watch and not influence, when Paul could do both, that makes sense.#
    but i am pretty sure there is a quote that states that, just not sure where to find it but I seem to remember Paul explaining to someone how the Guild chose the path to stagnation for fear of the risk of losing everything.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 May 2010 12:07

    The Guild navigators, gifted with limited prescience, had made the fatal
    decision: they'd chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward
    into stagnation.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby lotek » 05 May 2010 12:17

    :clap:
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 May 2010 12:23

    Thank you, thank you. Try the roast beef and don't forget to tip your waitresses.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby SadisticCynic » 05 May 2010 16:45

    Freakzilla wrote:The Guild navigators, gifted with limited prescience, had made the fatal
    decision: they'd chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward
    into stagnation.


    This implies that they had a choice to begin with, so they can't have only seen one possibility.

    On the other hand maybe the linear prescience simply means they can only see the path that keeps the Guild in existence, and always followed it despite having the choice not to follow it.

    (I think the second one makes more sense).
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby DragEgusku » 06 May 2010 07:52

    When I asked prescience, I mean the concept itself, not necessarily in its shape (linear, etc.). How can this phenomenon be possible, logically speaking?

    You mentioned the ESP. From what I know, for scientists, ESP phenomena are regarded as charlatans or delusions. For this reason I asked about prescience. To tell me whether or not the concept is pure imagination.

    Interesting what you said about Frank Herbert. I never knew that. I refer to experience ESP.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 06 May 2010 10:43

    I posted a lecture Stephen Hawking did on predicting the future somewhere around here...

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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 May 2010 20:06

    Of all the things in Dune that are fantasy (prescience, they way he portays it anyways in my opinion), this is not the worst offended. Other Memory is WAY less scientific.

    Is prescience the way FH portrays it possible according to current scientific knowledge? No.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby merkin muffley » 06 May 2010 22:14

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Of all the things in Dune that are fantasy (prescience, they way he portays it anyways in my opinion), this is not the worst offended. Other Memory is WAY less scientific.

    Is prescience the way FH portrays it possible according to current scientific knowledge? No.


    Yeah, I also thought about Other Memory when I first read this post. Those two things require something mystical and are fantasy elements. Other Memory is an awesome idea, one of my favorite things in Dune, but it's obviously impossible to have that information in your DNA. It's an amazing character device, as is prescience, but it's fantasy. I'm no scientist, so I don't know if there's some form of theoretical physics that could be applied to this. Perhaps Barbara Hand Clow has something to say about this? Until then, I will trust A Thing of Eternity on this matter.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby DragEgusku » 10 May 2010 07:16

    I think I understand, thank you for clarification. It seems therefore that prescience is not a scientific concept, but mystical. That I wanted to know.

    I have a question, I hope that is not too off-topic: why Frank Herbert introduced the mystical elements in a series that wants to be SF?
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 May 2010 11:26

    DragEgusku wrote:I think I understand, thank you for clarification. It seems therefore that prescience is not a scientific concept, but mystical. That I wanted to know.

    I have a question, I hope that is not too off-topic: why Frank Herbert introduced the mystical elements in a series that wants to be SF?


    Ancestral Memory and ESP had more credibility, or should I say, was less debunked, in the early sixties than today.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 10 May 2010 11:49

    ...or maybe speculative fiction would be a better term for it.
    Although it seems we're stuck with the science fiction label, now, through long use.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Omphalos » 10 May 2010 13:18

    DragEgusku wrote:I think I understand, thank you for clarification. It seems therefore that prescience is not a scientific concept, but mystical. That I wanted to know.

    I have a question, I hope that is not too off-topic: why Frank Herbert introduced the mystical elements in a series that wants to be SF?


    Herbert published a lot of fiction in John W. Campbell's Astounding, which was one of the three big markets for short SF in the 50's and 60's. Campbell was the godfather of well reasoned, science fiction and required good characterization and spot on scientific reasoning in the stories that he published. But as he got older he got a little nutty. One of the things that he focused heavily on in the 60's was psi-powers; there was one point where you had to have psi-powers in your story if you wanted to publish in Astounding (later renamed to Analog). Campbell was such a powerful editor that other magazines started insisting on the same things he was asking for, even if it seemed a bit crazy. By the time Herbert's name got big in the 60s Campbell was trying to undo the damage he had done to SF, but by then psi-powers had become so ingrained in the SF canon that there was really no undoing it. Psi powers are still a big deal, even in modern SF. When Herbert wrote Dune it was therefore well accepted that ESP, psychometry, telekinesis, remote time-viewing, etc. were well within the SF canon; at that point it was not mysticism, it was genetics. Actually, I think that Herbert used them really well, by tying their use to genetics and giving limitations based on one's genome. That was pretty innovative. Prior to that the only only use genetics had with psi-powers was in determining how powerful one's offspring would be in their powers. In other words, Herbert tied it to biology, and thus added scientific credibility to that element of the story. But even still, its one of the reasons that Dune is considered Science Fantasy.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby merkin muffley » 10 May 2010 16:14

    Omphalos wrote:[When Herbert wrote Dune it was therefore well accepted that ESP, psychometry, telekinesis, remote time-viewing, etc. were well within the SF canon; at that point it was not mysticism, it was genetics. Actually, I think that Herbert used them really well, by tying their use to genetics and giving limitations based on one's genome. That was pretty innovative.


    Interesting stuff. And I also really like the way Other Memory and prescience are used in the story, regardless of whether or not it's been ruled out by science.
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    Re: The Navigators

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 May 2010 16:17

    They are essential to the story.
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