Of myth

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.

19 thoughts on “Of myth

    • Welcome, Silentscreamings and thank you for commenting. The zenpencils link is worth seeing. You led me back to your blog: I had seen one post, but not your situation, of leaving your cult, just being cut off by your parents, and struggling with alcohol. And thank you for the quote from Heather Kopp:

      One recent afternoon, I was sitting at my desk feeling lonely and anxious when I noticed the sun was shining through the blinds in a way that felt perfect on my face.

      I shut my eyes and basked in the light. For the next few minutes, I let everything go and invited God to mend the achy places in my heart.

      Instead, he broke it open further.

      AA has a better understanding of God than the JWs.


      • Nope, I think I read the sequel to Dune and lost interest. My love of it was wrapped up in the film, which I watched kind of obsessively, but as a fantasy series beyond the first book it didn’t pull me in. Feist and Eddings were my staple fare in them days – lush and not so dark, kind of softer escapism. Have you read all the Dune books?


        • I am now re-reading Children of Dune (no.3) having ploughed through it with little enjoyment in my teens. I have the six Frank Herbert novels in one Kindle file. The David Herbert novels do not immediately tempt me.

          Ooh look! Arkenaten playing nicely!


          • And enjoying them more? I don’t think I’d be tempted back, the worlds weren’t cosy. Ark’s turned over a new leaf, he’s really boring (but don’t say I said because I’ve stopped being cheeky to him).


            • The worlds are indeed not cosy. The Harkonnens have a world based on hate and fear. Arguably, some of the wisdom-stuff- the Litany against Fear, etc, etc- has value. I am getting more out of them: some people are like that.


  1. I enjoyed Frank Herbert’s classic, but never got further than the first.
    I only began to study a bit of religion and read the bible long after reading Dune, and only then saw all the weird connections.

    The post made me want to give the movie another spin.

    Enjoyable read and cool graphics. 🙂


    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting. Mmm. Peaked cap, sunglasses, and bright lippy: that is a striking look, mi duck. I am very pleased to meet you.

      I will quote your poem:

      The sun is climbing down to
      meet the flames.
      Strangers gather on the green
      choking on smoke and the
      scent of seared flesh.
      He dampens her gown,

      soon her ashes will smolder
      on the ground.
      She is burning slowly.
      For just a moment,
      before the winds whip up,
      she is in Elysian Fields.

      I quote it because I really like it, and my other commenters may be tempted to have a look.

      So- why did you Follow?


  2. Thank you so much for bringing my poem “by fire” over. I found you in my reader and thought I would take a look.
    I am very much into poetry and art. I am an artist and love the paintings you are displaying. I am not into reading long texts right now but find your narrative interesting. What exactly is your message?


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