Paul Mu’ad Dib walked into the desert, where he must surely die. Why would he do that? I can think of reasons, from his character, experiences and desires, and possibly he is giving his life for his people. Rational and emotional explanations meld into myth. I swill that metaphor round my mouth like a fine single malt, and appreciate the different notes of its lingering aftertaste. More possibilities emerge from consciousness. Perhaps I will dream of it.
Dune is all about myth and religion. There are the created and merged religions of the Zensunni and the Orange Catholic Bible, and the myths spread by the “Missionaria protectiva” so that any Bene Gesserit witch can tap into them, and pretend to be an apostle or a God. Knowing of their origin, Jessica does not appreciate that on Dune, the myths have become true. In Dune, the rationality of the “Mentat”, a human computer, is kept separate from the spirituality of the Reverend Mother, but in the first sequel Dune Messiah they are united.
Wisdom-sayings litter the book:
The most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.
The clear safe course that leads downward into stagnation.
I told him that to endure oneself may be the hardest task in the universe.
Do not be trapped by the need to achieve anything. This way, you achieve everything.
Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?
Atmosphere is more important than action for the second novel. Dune has battles and knife-fights, Dune Messiah has one exercise with a fighting-machine more to show the character’s mood than be “exciting”, and has council meetings and conspiracies. What would knowing the future, and the horror of the best path through it, mean? The deliberately created religion has meaning for the pilgrims: perhaps, for some of them, it even has value.
Doctor Who has been playing with myth, during the Eleventh doctor. There is the Last Centurion, guarding the Pandorica for two millennia, and Clara jumping into the Doctor’s time-line, to merge with his life. The Doctor spends six hundred years in a town called Christmas, where the day is only minutes long, and the night hours, saving it from attack. Then there is the Ultimate Question- “Doctor-Who?” on which the Universe depends. For the plot, that question and its significance needed to be explained, and having one explanation it lost all its power.