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    Academic Dune Article(s)

    Postby Naib » 18 Nov 2017 14:42

    I just came across this article in the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction.

    http://publish.lib.umd.edu/scifi/article/view/247/23
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    Re: Academic Dune Article(s)

    Postby georgiedenbro » 01 Dec 2017 11:37

    I mustered up the will to read it, although I admit I skimmed some of the paragraphs. Ultimately there is a difficulty in applying some abstract theory to fit into a book like Dune because, unlike some other fiction, Frank already has a comprehensive worldview behind the story. One doesn't need to find some system to use to interpret Dune: the book itself instructs you in how to interpret it. So better than finding some specialist theory to try to apply, I would suggest the best strategy would be to learn from Frank how to read his books.

    Here's an example, from near the end of the essay:

    It would also be intriguing to see how Paul’s role as a charismatic leader and Kwisatz Haderach complicates the proposition by Hardt and Negri (2000) that we should rule out the possibility of “a single power and a single center of rationality transcendent to global forces, guiding the various phases of historical development according to its conscious and all-seeing plan” (p. 3). That is not to say, of course, that Paul is in control of every single event or sees every single outcome. The events of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, the third novel of the series which focuses on Paul’s children, certainly remove that possibility.


    This is a good example of trying to inspect some exterior academic theory in relation to Dune. Why do this, when the relationship between Paul and the rest of the Empire is at the heart of the book already? The clauses written here are both fence-sitting propositions that 'suggest' things on topics where Frank has already spelled it out.

    This is the concluding statement:

    No single, all-seeing individual may orchestrate the concert of imperial forces; but occasionally, a charismatic and powerful individual such as Paul Muad’Dib Atreides has the ability to break through systems, shift paradigms, and change the paths of those forces.


    Even the phrasing of this proposition is problematic, because it suggests some kind of dilemma between suggesting that the environment dominates, or that one individual can dominate. The example of Dr. Kynes (among many others) should have already made it clear that there's no possibility of dividing of the subject from the environment. They are tied together, and the question is how much effect different individuals within it have. And when they change it, it changes them. The's the whole problem of the oracle, of shaping the future but having it lock you in right with it. If you want my personal opinion I'd say that Frank's ultimate point is that any individual has the capability to shape the environment, but that we often don't see those effects immediately. Like the slowly shifting dune, people can be seen as the grains of sand, individually indistinct but still participating in a huge, unstoppable shifts.

    Not sure who I'm arguing against, really. If they had wanted to explore the issue they should have just come to Jacurutu to chat with us :/
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    Re: Academic Dune Article(s)

    Postby Freakzilla » 02 Dec 2017 08:18

    I got about half way through it and stopped, not knowing why. But I think you nailed the reason.
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    Re: Academic Dune Article(s)

    Postby distrans » 02 Dec 2017 22:11

    right on the verge where philosophy becomes to abstract to keep my interest but I managed to finish the read just the other day

    those closing remarks you cite were quotes from The Tleilaxu Godbuk in Dune Messiah and a poor way to wrap up what seemed to me to be that application of "assemblage theory" in order to deconstruct the work into bite sizes needing individual address. he should have left off his work at this point...



    Manuel DeLanda’s (2006) assemblage theory gives us the tools and lens through which the intricate nature of imperial power is demonstrated in Dune. However, this only begins to scratch the surface of the possibilities of how both assemblage theory and Hardt and Negri’s (2000) Empire can be applied to the series as a whole. A more in-depth analysis of the multitude of assemblages that appear in Herbert’s world-building could offer promising insights into his portrayals of religion and the politics of the masses. Moreover, the capitalistic nature of the spice trade and the Spacing Guild are ripe for an analysis based upon the issues of capitalism and globalization discussed in Empire. It would also be intriguing to see how Paul’s role as a charismatic leader and Kwisatz Haderach complicates the proposition by Hardt and Negri (2000) that we should rule out the possibility of “a single power and a single center of rationality transcendent to global forces, guiding the various phases of historical development according to its conscious and all-seeing plan” (p. 3).

    paul represents the truly novels introduction into the multitude of "things" from which an imperium has available to reorder its society from as was stated, and seemingly forgotten

    No human being before had ever received both Mentat and Bene Gesserit training... Combining these two already-formidable components with Paul’s initial spice consumption, the philosophies and religion of the Fremen, his personality as a Duke’s son, and his final consumption of the Water of Life could not fail to create an entirely unique entity that could not have been created or predicted by any of these elements individually. [3]

    charismatic's are nothing new...
    the kwisatz haderach was...




    try this,
    read the footnotes then each passage they refer to...




      In constructing his argument about the Vitality struggle, DiTommaso (1992) makes several claims about the operations of history in empire building, and how Paul is oriented to history, but his interpretation of history within these contexts is faulty. For instance, he states that the Vitality struggle is a conflict between the Imperium and Arrakis as entities that are different in degree, not in kind (DiTommaso, 1992, p. 313). Paul comes to power by operating within the system of the already established empire, the control of which, DiTommaso claims, “naturally encourages a lowering of race consciousness and a slowing of history” (1992, p. 313).[1]

    [1] Ironically, Hardt and Negri (2000) would posit almost the exact opposite: imperialism creates a perception of difference (among many lines, including race and ideology) as it develops a nationalized identity of “the people” (p. 128-129). Thus the Reverend Mother calls the Fremen “those people” and speaks of them as monstrous.

    It is essential first, though, to note the ways in which Paul himself is also an assemblage that cannot be predicted or controlled by the old system. DiTommaso (1992) argues that Paul’s abilities and status as the Kwisatz Haderach separate him from the Spacing Guild, the Mentats, and the Bene Gesserit by a difference in degree (p. 316). He views Paul’s abilities as simple extensions of the same “awareness-spectrum” that the Spacing Guild uses, increased by a combination of the Mentat training from Thufir Hawat and the Bene Gesserit training from his mother, Jessica. Furthermore, because Paul resorts to using his position as a Duke within the Imperium in his dealing with Shaddam IV, DiTommaso (1992) claims that he merely works within the already-established system and does not in any way constitute a break. There is no denying the importance of Paul’s background, the training that is the foundation of his development, or his connections to the institutions of the Spacing Guild, the Mentats, and the Bene Gesserit.
    Nevertheless, if we view Paul’s abilities as only an intensification of each institution we risk ignoring the novel ways these elements interact with each other. No human being before had ever received both Mentat and Bene Gesserit training. These two elements alone, powerful in their own rights, would interact in unpredictable ways, feeding off and building from the properties of each element to create entirely new abilities.[2]

    [2] It may be important to the overall interaction of the various components that make up Paul as an assemblage to note that Jessica disobeyed her Bene Gesserit by having a son instead of a daughter, and that by giving Paul Bene Gesserit training she is the one who makes the first paradigmatic break from the old system, in which Bene Gesserit training is for women only.

    Combining these two already-formidable components with Paul’s initial spice consumption, the philosophies and religion of the Fremen, his personality as a Duke’s son, and his final consumption of the Water of Life could not fail to create an entirely unique entity that could not have been created or predicted by any of these elements individually. [3]

    [3] Also a task meant only for women, specifically for women who are Bene Gesserit trained and intend to become Reverend Mothers.

    Paul embodies multiplicity in other ways as well, particularly by virtue of his many names. According to Deleuze and Guattari (1987),
    the proper name (nom proper) does not designate an individual: it is on the contrary when the individual opens up to the multiplicities pervading him or her, at the outcome of the most severe operations of depersonalization, that he or she acquires his or her true proper name. The proper name is the instantaneous apprehension of a multiplicity. (p. 17)
    That name, here, is Muad’Dib, which encompasses and gestures toward the multiplicity of Paul’s identity: Paul, Duke, Fremen, Usul, Lisan Al-Gaib, Kwisatz Haderach, and eventually Emperor. The name Muad’Dib signals the assemblage of Paul, the many elements and relations of exteriority that make him who and what he is. As Deleuze and Guattari explain: “Lines of flight or of deterritorialization, […] becoming-inhuman, deterritorialized intensities: that is what multiplicity is” (1987, p. 11). [4]

    [4] Defined by DeLanda (2006) as the process of destabilizing the internal homogeneity or boundaries of an assemblage (p. 12).

      Paul begins to deconstruct Shaddam’s empire when he changes the relations of exteriority with the Spacing Guild... As Paul states to Shaddam, the Guild only permitted him to mount the throne on the assurance that the spice would continue to flow. This balance of power changes in the final chapter, with Paul. When Shaddam threatens Paul with an armada of ships from the Great Houses of the Landsraad ready to attack at any moment, Paul does not respond to the Emperor, but to the two Spacing guildsmen in the room, ordering them to “Get out there immediately and dispatch messages that will get that fleet on its way home” (Herbert, 1965, p. 475). The guildsmen respond by explaining that they do not take orders from him. In order to gain their attention, Paul threatens to destroy all spice production on Arrakis: “The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it,” explains Paul (Herbert, 1965, p. 477), and therefore the Spacing Guild is now also under his control. [5]

    [5] Or, as the Baron Harkonnen says in the 1984 film version: “he who controls the spice controls the universe.”

      Paul breaks apart and rebuilds Shaddam’s Imperium in other ways as well. When he removes the Sardaukar from power, and announces that he will turn their prison/training planet Salusa Secundus into a “garden world, full of gentle things” (Herbert, 1965, p. 488), he eradicates the Galactic Imperium’s only other real method of enforcement outside the bureaucratic structures of the Spacing Guild. Instead, Paul replaces the Sardaukar with his Fremen forces, leading the Reverend Mother to burst out in fear and horror: “You cannot loose these people upon the universe!” (Herbert, 1965, p. 488) when she senses the coming jihad. Paul responds: “You will think back to the gentle ways of the Sardaukar!” (Herbert, 1965, p. 488). This further highlights the difference Paul envisions in the way his forces with interact with the empire and the universe at large. By making the Fremen one of the most significant components of his empire, Paul also restructures the ceremonial and expressive elements of the assemblage. The Fremen religion becomes a new method for enforcement and obedience as their sacred histories and rites influence the expected behavior, language, and hierarchies of all the people in the empire.
    Furthermore, these ritual aspects are not material components, but are highly important as expressive elements that sacralize, historicize, and justify both Paul’s power as emperor and the actions of himself and his followers (this is especially true in Dune Messiah, in the case of his sister who is called St. Alia of the Knife[6]).

    [6] Alia is often seen giving speeches or sermons about her brother’s philosophies and godhood, and is described as “a Reverend Mother without motherhood, virgin priestess, object of fearful veneration for the superstitious masses” (Herbert, 1969, p. 68).

    In addition, in Shaddam’s empire, religion had little influence or importance (perhaps none). While the Bene Gesserit are in some ways a religious group similar to an order of nuns, who seed messages of their beliefs within the myths and religions of all the worlds they contact (through a project called the Missionaria Protectiva, which left seeds within the Fremen religion making it possible for Jessica to claim support and safety), these religious elements have little to no effect on the governmental organization or bureaucracy of Shaddam’s empire. [7]

    [7] Defined in the Appendices of Dune as “the arm of the Bene Gesserit order charged with sowing infectious superstitions on primitive worlds, thus opening those regions to exploitation by the Bene Gesserit” (Herbert, 1965, p. 524).
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