Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

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Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Naïve mind » 15 Oct 2014 15:33

God Emperor mentiones that the Bene Gesserit trained Hwi Noree, but 'hadn't managed to touch her core of essential goodness', or something similar.

Obviously the BG weren't training Hwi to become a Reverend Mother, but ... maybe that's a big part of why people fail the agony—they're not cynical and jaded enough to bear the survivor guilt?

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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby georgiedenbro » 15 Oct 2014 16:13

I get the distinct sense that surviving the agony is similar to surviving the ghola reawakening. Looking at Hayt in DM, I wouldn't call him cynical or jaded; he claims it's his Zensunni training that got him through his agony. Also, for the gholas, what triggers the awakening is the person being confronted with a traumatic event that the memories in the flesh rebel against, which suggests that a sense of inner truth is what allows the ghola to realize his real self and to awaken. Being a Zensunni mystic would also equip someone to be in tune with inner truth, and so we expect this is why the Tleilaxu knew in advance what sort of education would help Hayt best in surviving. The poison introduced to a BG's body for the agony is just a such a traumatic event, and survival depends on communion with the inner voices who scream at the potential RM to endure and survive.

In the case of both BG and gholas I would guess that being in harmony with oneself and knowing the truth of one's own character and connection to the past is crucial. In the case of the BG they change the poison, which triggers the full inner awareness, and we can easily see the changing of the poison as being a nice metaphor for being able to take particular wounds and damage accumulated during one's own lifetime and to change the pain into health by realizing a greater truth; in the case of the BG, it's about realizing the truth of one's genetic inheritance and the fact that each person is really connected to every person that came before and isn't alone. On a literal level the ability to reach within and to change the poison seems to allow a BG to finally have the inner connection and the sensitivity to reach the ancestral memories. This is much like a ghola who can finally establish the connection with his previous self.

Based on these points I would suggest that Hwi would have been an ideal candidate for surviving the agony, as she seems to me to have been completely in touch with herself and with reality, and was extraordinarily sensitive in general.

I suspect that people fail to survive the agony for similar but not identical reasons to why people die to the gom jabbar with the Box Test. They aren't in full control of themselves, aren't honest enough with themselves about their own nature, and are too insensitive to their real inner workings.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Oct 2014 07:09

She may have survived the Agony but I believe Leto remarked that she wouldn't make a good Bene Gesserit, I think because of her dedication to truth.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Apjak » 16 Oct 2014 08:20

Freakzilla wrote:She may have survived the Agony but I believe Leto remarked that she wouldn't make a good Bene Gesserit, I think because of her dedication to truth.


That's an interesting thought, especially put into the context of the failure of Sister Chenoeh to become a Reverend Mother.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Oct 2014 11:20

"You will provide the answers as I require them." It was
a statement full of such trust that it stopped Leto's voice. He could only look
at her, realizing how extraordinary was this accomplishment of the Ixians-this
human. Hwi remained precisely true to the dictates of her personally chosen
morality. She was comely, warm and honest and possessed of an emphatic sense
which forced her to share every anguish in those with whom she identified. He
could- imagine the dismay of her Bene Gesserit teachers when confronted by this
immovable core of self-honesty. The teachers obviously had been reduced to
adding a touch here, an ability there, everything strengthening that power which
prevented her from becoming a Bene Gesserit. How that must have rankled!


It was her core of self-honesty. I was close.

Chenoeh was completely opposite regarding the topic. She was an excellent BG but couldn't survive the Agony.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Oct 2014 11:41

Freakzilla wrote:"You will provide the answers as I require them." It was
a statement full of such trust that it stopped Leto's voice. He could only look
at her, realizing how extraordinary was this accomplishment of the Ixians-this
human. Hwi remained precisely true to the dictates of her personally chosen
morality. She was comely, warm and honest and possessed of an emphatic sense
which forced her to share every anguish in those with whom she identified. He
could- imagine the dismay of her Bene Gesserit teachers when confronted by this
immovable core of self-honesty. The teachers obviously had been reduced to
adding a touch here, an ability there, everything strengthening that power which
prevented her from becoming a Bene Gesserit. How that must have rankled!


It was her core of self-honesty. I was close.

Chenoeh was completely opposite regarding the topic. She was an excellent BG but couldn't survive the Agony.


Great find, thanks! This quote begs the question of whether any person, if they knew themselves well and had a core of self-honesty, would refuse to join any group that would dictate their thoughts and actions. To be BG, in other words, you'd have to be loyal to them, even above being loyal to yourself and your chosen morality, and I guess above even having a loyalty to the truth. I guess you couldn't even have a chosen morality among the BG; you'd have to adopt theirs, at least officially.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby mizar » 16 Oct 2014 12:11

I guess Odrade's and her "seachild" states just the opposite. Same for a few Taraza's OM on Chapterhouse. I also consider Taraza's quite "personal" on HD. Not to mention Jessica...
I get the feeling that FH intentionally set such behaviors on them in order to show that there can be BGs different from the standarts and with a core of their own.
Or perhaps Odrade's was just too much of a Atreides :P
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Oct 2014 13:02

mizar wrote:I guess Odrade's and her "seachild" states just the opposite. Same for a few Taraza's OM on Chapterhouse. I also consider Taraza's quite "personal" on HD. Not to mention Jessica...
I get the feeling that FH intentionally set such behaviors on them in order to show that there can be BGs different from the standarts and with a core of their own.
Or perhaps Odrade's was just too much of a Atreides :P


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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Naïve mind » 16 Oct 2014 14:33

Freakzilla wrote:She may have survived the Agony but I believe Leto remarked that she wouldn't make a good Bene Gesserit, I think because of her dedication to truth.


But can you pass the Agony and not be a good Bene Gesserit? Males excepted, of course.

But my suggestion relates to Odrade's description of the horrors of Other Memory in chapterhouse; the realisation that you're alive because your ancestors slaughtered their competitors, and that the successful ones amongst your offspring are going to do the same.

Hwi is kind, caring, selfless to a fault; that might be a problem for a Reverend Mother. Maybe you need a core of selfishness to face all that and decide to go on with life.

If that's a fault she shares with Chenoeh, it might explain the God Emperor's liking for her as well.

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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Oct 2014 14:54

Naïve mind wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:She may have survived the Agony but I believe Leto remarked that she wouldn't make a good Bene Gesserit, I think because of her dedication to truth.


But can you pass the Agony and not be a good Bene Gesserit? Males excepted, of course.

But my suggestion relates to Odrade's description of the horrors of Other Memory in chapterhouse; the realisation that you're alive because your ancestors slaughtered their competitors, and that the successful ones amongst your offspring are going to do the same.

Hwi is kind, caring, selfless to a fault; that might be a problem for a Reverend Mother. Maybe you need a core of selfishness to face all that and decide to go on with life.

If that's a fault she shares with Chenoeh, it might explain the God Emperor's liking for her as well.


Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained. Paul, for instance, had the full powers of their training systems and knowledge, but was obviously not a good BG. I guess you might argue that he was a better BG than the BG were, but either way they certainly didn't consider him one of them.

As for the horrors of the ancestry, my best guess would be that honesty would make it easier, not harder, to accept the truth of the past. It can only be honesty, which is dedication to the truth (as Hwi has), that will allow a person to be in harmony with their inner life. The OM ancestors are present in all people in the Duniverse and ignoring them or being unaware doesn't make them go away, it just means you're not fully integrated. Being dedicated to honesty, which we might just choose to use as a definition of selflessness, wouldn't have to mean being a complete pacifist; the Atreides still had to kill Harkonnens even in seeking a more ethical way of life. I would suggest that Leto II was completely selfless, in that he chose a path that would benefit others and which he would not enjoy. This is probably why he and Hwi found such a simpatico; she may not have chosen his exact path given the chance, but she seemed to understand it and approve of the type of choice he made.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Freakzilla » 16 Oct 2014 15:22

Luyseyal, Schwangyu... bad Reverend Mothers?
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby mizar » 16 Oct 2014 15:55

Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained.


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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Naïve mind » 17 Oct 2014 12:46

georgiedenbro wrote:Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained.


But contrast Murbella, who becomes loyal to the Bene Gesserit thanks to her training and (in no small part) the Agony; Rebecca who turns into a Bene Gesserit through the weight of the Lampadas Horde.

georgiedenbro wrote:As for the horrors of the ancestry, my best guess would be that honesty would make it easier, not harder, to accept the truth of the past. It can only be honesty, which is dedication to the truth (as Hwi has), that will allow a person to be in harmony with their inner life.


What gave you the impression that Other Memory is a Harmonious thing? Most of your ancestors are assholes, and even most of the ones that aren't will happily take over your body given half a chance.

georgiedenbro wrote:the Atreides still had to kill Harkonnens even in seeking a more ethical way of life.


Not sure if those are the Atreides I know.

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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby Freakzilla » 17 Oct 2014 13:31

I don't really think of Murbella as a wild RM. She received BG training, although accelerated, at Chapterhouse from Mother Superior who also supervised her Agony.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby georgiedenbro » 17 Oct 2014 13:38

Naïve mind wrote:
georgiedenbro wrote:Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained.


But contrast Murbella, who becomes loyal to the Bene Gesserit thanks to her training and (in no small part) the Agony; Rebecca who turns into a Bene Gesserit through the weight of the Lampadas Horde.


My understanding from my last read-through was that it was entirely the result of the agony that Murbella came around; the idea being that the BG didn't make up their principles out of thin air but that they are suggested by having enough insight into the past. Especially in CH:D we are more or less told that going through the agony would bring a person in line with BG principles, but it doesn't follow from this that they will necessarily align themselves with the actual BG faction as well. In Murbella's case she surely saw the necessity to create a political union, and in Rebecca's case - where else was she supposed to go? The BG were the only OM game in town. But how they both differ from Paul is that Paul had powers as his disposal other than just OM, which we might suggest made him more informed in important ways. Recall Scytale and Edric in DM when they say that having a power is a crutch, because one will focus too hard on that power; so I think it is with each of the factions, the BG included. Paul had many powers and even in his case he possibly made the mistake of focusing too much on them.

georgiedenbro wrote:As for the horrors of the ancestry, my best guess would be that honesty would make it easier, not harder, to accept the truth of the past. It can only be honesty, which is dedication to the truth (as Hwi has), that will allow a person to be in harmony with their inner life.


What gave you the impression that Other Memory is a Harmonious thing? Most of your ancestors are assholes, and even most of the ones that aren't will happily take over your body given half a chance.


I see the confusion here; I didn't mean that the ancestors would be harmonious with each other, I meant that the bearer of them would be in better harmony with the ancestors. This is just to say that the bearer in contact with OM would be reconciled to the truth of the past and where she came from, which doesn't have to mean being happy about every memory. But at the end of the day let's be clear - there are no ancestors in OM, just memories of their lives. They don't literally speak as if there are people trapped in one's head; I think it's more the case that the memories are so vast compared to the experiences of just one lifetime that it's very hard to sort out 'real life' from the memories of other lives. FH was, I believe, writing about the genetic heritage we all have and our direct connection to previous generations, and not about ancestors who literally carry on as if alive in the heads of their descendents; if it were the second I think it would be horror or fantasy, and no longer sci-fi, as I seriously doubt FH was intending to suggest that some active parts of our livings minds are passed down to our children.

georgiedenbro wrote:the Atreides still had to kill Harkonnens even in seeking a more ethical way of life.


Not sure if those are the Atreides I know.


Can we really doubt the narrative that refers to "Duncan the moral" and treats him as the quintessential Atreides? Consider whether any Harkonnen in Dune could have "the moral" given to him as an epithet. We would have to doubt many people if we question Duncan as being moral, since he is called that by at least Mohiam, Paul, and Leto II, off the top of my head. Unless we want to butcher the language I think that when FH uses the word moral he means more or less what we think he does. Duncan really is moral, and so are the Atreides to whatever extent they could be given that they had to also rule and survive. I know in modern times we like to shine a cynical light on things, and so we can point out that the Atreides made full use of the tools of statecraft, including propaganda, mass extermination, assassins, and so forth. But I think we have to look at this within its proper context and see that these things were required in order to rule, no matter what anyone felt, but that in any areas where there was wiggle room it appears to me that the Atreides tried to be moral in the way we think of morality.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby lotek » 18 Oct 2014 05:49

I reckon the Atreides themselves can shed some light on this.

“My father once told me that respect for truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. 'Something cannot emerge from nothing,' he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable 'the truth' can be.”
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Oct 2014 10:46

lotek wrote:I reckon the Atreides themselves can shed some light on this.

“My father once told me that respect for truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. 'Something cannot emerge from nothing,' he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable 'the truth' can be.”


The funny thing is that this quote isn't ascribed directly to Muad'Dib, but comes from a conversation with him from Irulan's book. It might even be Irulan saying it TO Muad'Dib, which would make it Shaddam's quote. That said, I agree that it's probably reasonable to assume Paul was the one who said it.

I think this quote suggests that while morality must derive from real facts and first principles, i.e. it shouldn't just be a complete fiction that we decide on arbitrarily, whatever truth it's based on will change over time, as all truth does, and so morality will change with it. It seems to be saying that there is a such thing as real morality, but that there is no such thing as THE morality that will be true always and never change. Even moral people, it seems, need to improvise, and doing so shouldn't necessarily be considered to be compromising one's principles.

If this is, indeed, what it means, it is perhaps a better way of saying what I said before, which is that it is entirely consistent to refer to the Atreides as moral people and striving towards a more ethical way of life, while still admitting that they must conduct operations which in our modern age we consider abhorrent.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby lotek » 18 Oct 2014 19:21

All heroes have flaws, no system is perfect.
Knowing this, the complexity of life becomes natural.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby JasonJD48 » 05 Feb 2015 14:09

I think she would survive the Agony. I also think she could be part of the Bene Gesserit as a Reverend Mother. I take the comment that she would be bad at it to mean more along the lines that her opinions would make her an outlier. Leto's problem with the BG in GE and Heretics is that for all the self-reflection they do, there's no honesty in it, at-least as an order on the whole. That's why they couldn't do what Leto did, despite sensing the need of it, even in Heretics they have gotten better but still need his message at Dar-es-Balat. Hwi would rankle under the level of selfishness and lack of self-truth. Then again, while to the sisterhood that may make her a bad BG, it was kinda exactly what they needed. As for her training, we know the training isn't needed 100% of the time for the Agony.
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Re: Odds on Hwi Noree surviving the Spice Agony

Postby JasonJD48 » 05 Feb 2015 14:20

Naïve mind wrote:
georgiedenbro wrote:Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained.


But contrast Murbella, who becomes loyal to the Bene Gesserit thanks to her training and (in no small part) the Agony; Rebecca who turns into a Bene Gesserit through the weight of the Lampadas Horde.


Leto himself says that any RM is Bene Gesserit, they can be nothing else, official training or no. Romallo (sp) was a BG ultimately, so was the Rebecca, so was Murbella.



georgiedenbro wrote:As for the horrors of the ancestry, my best guess would be that honesty would make it easier, not harder, to accept the truth of the past. It can only be honesty, which is dedication to the truth (as Hwi has), that will allow a person to be in harmony with their inner life.


What gave you the impression that Other Memory is a Harmonious thing? Most of your ancestors are assholes, and even most of the ones that aren't will happily take over your body given half a chance.


Seems to depend on the person, some have greater control and can make it harmonious, some can't.


georgiedenbro wrote:the Atreides still had to kill Harkonnens even in seeking a more ethical way of life.


Not sure if those are the Atreides I know.


It is the one in the books. Leto I was all to happy to continue kanly. The Atreides are not perfect.

----

georgiedenbro wrote:
Naïve mind wrote:
georgiedenbro wrote:Anyone who is a 'wild Reverend Mother' passed the agony without being a BG. The BG is just an organization, and they conduct training, but they don't have a monopoly on inner awareness. They just happen to be the most powerful group that teaches these things. Being a 'good BG' means loyalty to them just as much as being well-trained.


But contrast Murbella, who becomes loyal to the Bene Gesserit thanks to her training and (in no small part) the Agony; Rebecca who turns into a Bene Gesserit through the weight of the Lampadas Horde.


My understanding from my last read-through was that it was entirely the result of the agony that Murbella came around; the idea being that the BG didn't make up their principles out of thin air but that they are suggested by having enough insight into the past. Especially in CH:D we are more or less told that going through the agony would bring a person in line with BG principles, but it doesn't follow from this that they will necessarily align themselves with the actual BG faction as well. In Murbella's case she surely saw the necessity to create a political union, and in Rebecca's case - where else was she supposed to go? The BG were the only OM game in town. But how they both differ from Paul is that Paul had powers as his disposal other than just OM, which we might suggest made him more informed in important ways. Recall Scytale and Edric in DM when they say that having a power is a crutch, because one will focus too hard on that power; so I think it is with each of the factions, the BG included. Paul had many powers and even in his case he possibly made the mistake of focusing too much on them.


See above.

georgiedenbro wrote:As for the horrors of the ancestry, my best guess would be that honesty would make it easier, not harder, to accept the truth of the past. It can only be honesty, which is dedication to the truth (as Hwi has), that will allow a person to be in harmony with their inner life.


What gave you the impression that Other Memory is a Harmonious thing? Most of your ancestors are assholes, and even most of the ones that aren't will happily take over your body given half a chance.


I see the confusion here; I didn't mean that the ancestors would be harmonious with each other, I meant that the bearer of them would be in better harmony with the ancestors. This is just to say that the bearer in contact with OM would be reconciled to the truth of the past and where she came from, which doesn't have to mean being happy about every memory. But at the end of the day let's be clear - there are no ancestors in OM, just memories of their lives. They don't literally speak as if there are people trapped in one's head; I think it's more the case that the memories are so vast compared to the experiences of just one lifetime that it's very hard to sort out 'real life' from the memories of other lives. FH was, I believe, writing about the genetic heritage we all have and our direct connection to previous generations, and not about ancestors who literally carry on as if alive in the heads of their descendents; if it were the second I think it would be horror or fantasy, and no longer sci-fi, as I seriously doubt FH was intending to suggest that some active parts of our livings minds are passed down to our children.


I agree



georgiedenbro wrote:the Atreides still had to kill Harkonnens even in seeking a more ethical way of life.


Not sure if those are the Atreides I know.


Can we really doubt the narrative that refers to "Duncan the moral" and treats him as the quintessential Atreides? Consider whether any Harkonnen in Dune could have "the moral" given to him as an epithet. We would have to doubt many people if we question Duncan as being moral, since he is called that by at least Mohiam, Paul, and Leto II, off the top of my head. Unless we want to butcher the language I think that when FH uses the word moral he means more or less what we think he does. Duncan really is moral, and so are the Atreides to whatever extent they could be given that they had to also rule and survive. I know in modern times we like to shine a cynical light on things, and so we can point out that the Atreides made full use of the tools of statecraft, including propaganda, mass extermination, assassins, and so forth. But I think we have to look at this within its proper context and see that these things were required in order to rule, no matter what anyone felt, but that in any areas where there was wiggle room it appears to me that the Atreides tried to be moral in the way we think of morality.


I agree, Duncan was quintessential Atreides, case in point, Hwi, who was designed to beguile an Atreides, guess who falls for her too.
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