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    Artificial Bene Gesserit

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    Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby georgiedenbro » 28 Oct 2014 15:06

    It seems to me that that throughout the series the Tleilaxu, through genetic experimentation, create technological equivalents to what the BG could do using normal human biology (and some drugs). In fact, they don't merely reproduce BG capabilities, since the first we ever hear of them is in connection to their fabrication of twisted mentats. But under the assumption that the BG techniques are far more secret and complicated to reproduce than a mere human computer, it would take the Tleilaxu far longer to achieve what they finally did starting in DM.

    In DM the Tleilaxu create an artificial analogue to The Agony. The Tleilaxu agony awakens the ghola to his previous (serial) memories into the equivalent of a RM, but for only his own previous incarnations rather than for his entire genetic bloodline. For the purposes of a ghola we might suppose that he has no genetic bloodline since the Tleilaxu would have effectively rubbed that out once they modified a person's genes and cut him off from his heritage.

    The Tleilaxu also created their own KH in their desire to find a way to thwart Paul, but we don't really know exactly what this means in terms of the properties of that KH. We expect he had both male and female OM, and I don't see how he could avoid being prescient and maybe even a mentat to be a real KH that the Tleilaxu could use as a blueprint to study Paul remotely. If he had lacked any of these things I wonder whether he would have been of any use to them in learning about Paul. But even so, this was not 'their version' of a KH; it sounded more like they just churned up a copy of the BG KH (or they managed to clone Paul, who knows).

    But what of the gholas as Tleilaxu analogue for a BG RM? The RM is, in a way, incomplete, and the full potential of a RM is realized in the KH. In keeping with my analogy, what, then, is the completely realized version of a ghola? Here is a quote from CoD that may shed some light:

    Children of Dune wrote:The life of a single human, as the life of a family or an entire people,
    persists as memory. My people must come to see this as part of their maturing
    process. They are people as organism, and in this persistent memory they store
    more and more experiences in a subliminal reservoir. Humankind hopes to call
    upon this material if it is needed for a changing universe. But much that is
    stored can be lost in that chance play of accident which we call "fate." Much
    may not be integrated into evolutionary relationships, and thus may not be
    evaluated and keyed into activity by those ongoing environmental changes which
    inflict themselves upon flesh. The species can forget! This is the special value
    of the Kwisatz Haderach which the Bene Gesserits never suspected: the Kwisatz
    Haderach cannot forget.

    -The Book of Leto, After Harq al-Ada


    If the KH has the ability to see that which is lost to history, to know the things about the past which otherwise would have been gone due to lost bloodlines and disappeared peoples, then he would be one who knows things that it doesn't make any logical sense for him to know in a linear sense, almost like magic. This may well be suggested throughout the series, as prescience and the powers of the KH are often expressed as defying understood logic and linear causation; causation itself is all but denied in general in various passages.

    There have been a lot of question marks about what the final incarnation of Duncan really is, and how he could have recovered his serial memories even of the Duncans that were lost and their genes not recovered. What if he is the Tleilaxu equivalent of the KH? Not actually a KH, but to a KH what a ghola is to a RM, by analogy? Maybe the Tleilaxu found the way, genetically, to achieve a 'filling in' of missing knowledge in their ghola's memories just as the KH can mysteriously fill in the gaps in human knowledge. Might this also imply that the Tleilaxu found a way to create their own version of prescience, just as naturally born humans occasionally had the ability? We wonder how Duncan could have visions of the old couple, for instance, or how he saw the Net.

    Then again, we have some hint in DM that Hayt possessed something like the capability of prescience, although perhaps it hadn't been unlocked in him fully. Maybe this innate potential for prescience, coupled with recovery of serial memories, would be enough to allow him to bridge space and time like the KH did, only in a different way. Recall that Marty & Daniel refer to Duncan as being spread thin, as the RM's are, and that this fact allowed them to have glimmers of M&D. In the case of the RM's it was only a mere shadowy hint of something, of being watched, but in Duncan's case he had something in him more than merely being spread thin (i.e. having a long line of memories). Maybe it was the same thing allowing him to see his own lost memories that allowed him to see M&D and the Net clearly - that KH-like trait that allowed him to fill in missing data seemingly 'from nowhere'.

    If I'm right then it would mean that Duncan really is the culmination of the Tleilaxu's attempts to create technologically artificial ways of achieving similar things to what the BG had to achieve through breeding and drugs. It would imply that Duncan is the Tleilaxu KH, although I'd like to state clearly that I don't mean by this to say his is a 'better' KH or 'super-KH' in any sense of being more powerful, like KJA and Brian wrote; just a different kind of KH.
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby Freakzilla » 29 Oct 2014 07:06

    The only problem I see with this is why would his latent prescience limit filling in missing information to his own serial lives?
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby georgiedenbro » 29 Oct 2014 10:21

    Freakzilla wrote:The only problem I see with this is why would his latent prescience limit filling in missing information to his own serial lives?


    Are you asking why the prescience alone wouldn't be enough to fill in the gaps, why he'd need to be a fancy KH on top of it to do that?

    If this is what you mean then what we've seen in the books suggests that prescience or latent prescience comes in one of two forms: Receiving random visions of the future or past while awake or asleep, and having rare moments of epiphany where some knowledge is suddenly realized; the former is like a gift, not controlled or summoned by the recipient, and the latter is something like a Prime Computation, except using data not immediately available (like an adab of the future). But Paul, for example, didn't really look into time deliberately until he took the water of life and accessed his OM; the bridging of space and time is something that I think comes only when all of the KH's faculties are awakened. In the case of a BG KH, that would be OM, prescience, and probably mentat training as well (I only say probably because Alia bridged space and time and wasn't a mentat, but I think this is part of why she crashed). In the case of the 'Tleilaxu KH' the faculties that would need to be aligned would presumably be a long line of ghola memories (their version of OM), prescience, and probably also mentat training. As well as the faculties being awakened, though, the BG KH needs drugs to activate his full capabilities; we see this with Leto II who doesn't want to bridge space and time fully and so stays away from large quantities of spice in CoD, and from Alia who deliberately overdoses to try to get her powers back in DM. I don't know if the Tleilaxu KH would need any enhancer to get his powers rolling. Maybe sexual imprinting?

    In the case of the final Duncan we might ask why he would suddenly have the time-bridging capability whereas Hayt also was awakened, had the latent prescience, and was a mentat. The reason could be because Hayt only had one extra lifetime of memories, and so by that standard wasn't 'stretched thin' enough; he didn't have enough of a link to the past to be able to connect past and future. Maybe by the time of the final Duncan he simply had enough serial memories that it was 'enough' to kickstart his ability to begin bridging space and time. It's also possible, as is hinted at in CH:D, that the Tleilaxu made a small adjustment to the final Duncan to bring into line one of his faculties that wasn't strong enough; maybe they strengthened his latent prescience? Or maybe it was some other modification that we were going to learn about in Dune 7. And also if the Tleilaxu KH does need some enhancer, like sexual imprinting, then presumably Hayt didn't have that either; I assume he'd have known if Alia had imprinted him.

    I hope I addressed the right question!
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby Freakzilla » 29 Oct 2014 11:27

    No, but great discussion anyway.

    I guess what I'm asking is, if it's prescience that allows Idaho to fill in the memory gaps, why is it so selective? Sure he sees M&D but that's it. Missing memories and M&D.

    While I agree that it takes OM and mentat abilities to increase prescience to the KH level, I think of OM and prescience as two completely different things. Prescience is to me a vision of events. It could be first person events in the future (Paul in DM) but it doesn't have to be (Leto II peering into 'windows' on other planets in CoD, or in GEoD, telling Duncan where to place troops to ambush rebels).

    While Idaho's OM isn't ancestral, it's still genetic. He has actual memories from the missing Duncans, not just knowledge of what they did. Duncan is missing the genes of those ghola incarnations so there's no way he should have those memories.

    Your point about the RMs being able to sense that their being watched (by M&D) does strengthen the argument Duncan's ability to see them is related to OM, though. I don't recall any hint of Duncan having even latent prescience except that he has the Siona gene from which, according to my own personal theory, latent prescience gives the bearer invisibility to other prescients.

    I see more evidence of latent prescience surfacing as new powers in Odrade (the aproaching hunter with the axe/sense of danger to the BG) and Teg (seeing no-ships).

    Sadly, there's probably only one person who could answer this. Break out the Ouija Board. Maybe the notes are real with something concerning this and one day they'll be published.
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby georgiedenbro » 29 Oct 2014 16:29

    I've been thinking along these lines for a little while as I try to think of what the Bene Tleilaxu agenda really is. We don't ever hear them come out and say it, and neither do we hear any such admissions by the BG, but at least with the BG we have more information about their immediate plans and their habits. It's up to our imagination to try to reverse engineer their actions into a set of original possible goals.

    I always took prescience to be the male bias in nature - looking forward towards the next action, what's to come, and OM to be the female bias - to look to the past, to think about what's come before, to carry on the genetic lineage and to commune with the unending line of ancestors. Whether we take this as legit science fiction or just as a metaphor, I think I'd be safe saying that the KH is the one who is neither thinking of what's to come or what's come before, but can see the 'now' as being part of an unbroken chain of time. But the trick is that to see the now requires knowledge of what's to come and what's come before, since an action is only a link between past and future and doesn't lie in a vacuum. As such, the bridging of space and time is the KH's special capability and isn't just a souped up version of prescience; this is the fact that the BG didn't foresee at all, since they were so locked into their reliance on peering into the past and didn't consider that the past by itself is irrelevant. A prescient, for example, lives in the present and sees images of other times and places. The KH, though, doesn't even distinguish between time and place, it's all one to him, and we saw from Paul that even defining "now" could be difficult. I'm agreeing with you, therefore, that OM and prescience are different, but I'm saying that OM is just as vital a part of bridging space and time as is prescience, as the moment prior to now and the moment after it are equal and opposite, and the immediate moment can't have any meaning without both. Politically speaking, this is FH's way of saying (I think) that tradition and history by themselves are just as irrelevant as making predictions with no eye to history; one needs to consider future people, past people, and living people, as all being part of a connected organism in making a political assessment.

    Regarding why Duncan's ability to fill in the gaps is so selective that he only gained his missing memories as well as the ability to see M&D, I don't know! But it's possible he hadn't yet come fully into his powers and this was just the beginning. It's also possible that since Duncan's OM was only of iterations of himself that this would restrict the flexibility of his ability to see the past; he certainly would have a far more limited perspective than a RM in terms of diversity of ancestors and maybe this difference would affect how his latent prescience (if he has it) can work. It may also be the case that since Duncan has so many memories of himself that would make him sort of super-specialized in his own best traits and amplify them.

    Here's a passage from DM that piques our interest about Duncan's possible latent prescience:

    Dune Messiah wrote:Why has no vision shown me this new Duncan Idaho? he asked himself. What concealed Time from an oracle? Other oracles, obviously.
    Paul opened his eyes, asked: "Hayt, do you have the power of prescience?"
    "No, m'Lord."
    Sincerity spoke in that voice. It was possible the ghola didn't know he possessed this ability, of course. But that'd hamper his working as a mentat.
    What was the hidden design?


    We surmise from this passage that Paul was determining that the conspiracy involved the Guild and that a Navigator was shielding Hayt. But the fact that Paul believed he could be a latent prescient and not know it is quite interesting. We are never quite told that Hayt isn't one, just that he believes he isn't one.

    Then there is this from DM:

    Dune Messiah wrote:He will become one with the desert, Idaho thought. The desert will fulfill him.
    It was a Zensunni thought washing through his mind like clear water. Paul would go on marching out there, he knew. An Atreides would not give himself up completely to destiny, not even in the full awareness of the inevitable. A touch of prescience came over Idaho then, and he saw that people of the future would speak of Paul in terms of seas. Despite a life soaked in dust,
    water would follow him. "His flesh foundered," they would say, "but he swam on."


    This isn't that huge a deal at first glance, although the "touch of prescience" line is given to us rather casually considering that for the reader seeing anything from the future is a pretty big damn deal!

    I'm also sure I remember a desert scene when Duncan (or Hayt?) has a prescient moment, realizes that's what it is, and decides not to tell anyone. For the life of me I can't find it, though. I'm not even sure if it's in DM or CoD. I'll also try to look for a quote regarding the serial Idahos under Leto II and whether any of them were prescient. I have a vague memory that some of them might have been...

    Anyhow it's sad we may never get an answer, as the puzzle to be solved it so exciting. I'll keep thinking along the lines of what the BT may have been up to as I continue my re-read...
    Last edited by georgiedenbro on 29 Oct 2014 20:11, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby Freakzilla » 29 Oct 2014 17:41

    Hayt's vision of the tiger attacking the twins is enough for me.

    I agree with OM/past=female and prescience/future=male. This is demonstrated by Reverend Mothers and Guild Navigators.

    Another item to mention, the scroll of weapons that Duncan saw.
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    Re: Artificial Bene Gesserit

    Postby georgiedenbro » 29 Oct 2014 20:16

    Freakzilla wrote:Hayt's vision of the tiger attacking the twins is enough for me.

    I agree with OM/past=female and prescience/future=male. This is demonstrated by Reverend Mothers and Guild Navigators.

    Another item to mention, the scroll of weapons that Duncan saw.


    Yeah, that's the scene I was thinking of! Thanks. Funny enough I'll probably come upon that in the book in a chapter or two. I'm too crazy busy right now to do as much reading every day as I'd like :x

    I'm reluctant to say anything about the scroll of weapons since I think the details of the scene might be important and I'd rather leave it alone until I get to that book again. There are a few threads I intend to look at again once I've done some more reading :D
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