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    Chapter 01

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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby JustSomeGuy » 17 Dec 2011 14:02

    Is there a limit to the pain he would have put up with? Reverend Mother Mohiam said that no woman-child had ever withstood so much. It's just a question that came to me right now. I'm not sure if I should be posting it here.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 17 Dec 2011 18:07

    I think he was pretty much max'd out on pain when she shut it off. At a certain point pain just becomes a blur, no matter how much more you add it doesn't seem like as much as that same increase would have if you were in lesser pain (for example, punch me in the head when I have a backache, huge increase in perceived pain, punch me in the head when I have a cluster headache... sure it's more pain than I was in before the punch, but once you're at that level you really just don't give a shit anymore).
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Visigoth » 05 Jun 2012 02:42

    Freakzilla wrote:A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are
    correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of
    the life of Muad'Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born
    in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special
    care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be
    deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen
    years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.

    -from "Manual of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan

    Paul endures more pain than any male child ever,


    Is it male child or female child?
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Serkanner » 05 Jun 2012 04:01

    "Female child," is what Mohiam says during the test.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 05 Jun 2012 06:07

    And we all know females can indure WAY more pain.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Mr. Teg » 06 Jun 2012 06:48

    Freakzilla wrote:And we all know females can indure WAY more pain.


    And we all know males can endure WAY more stupidity :wink:

    I don't have HoD in front of me but there is a reference to pain during the roof top attack near the end.
    If I remember correctly, the pain from her injury is compared to the test..
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 06 Jun 2012 08:05

    Mr. Teg wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:And we all know females can indure WAY more pain.


    And we all know males can endure WAY more stupidity :wink:

    I don't have HoD in front of me but there is a reference to pain during the roof top attack near the end.
    If I remember correctly, the pain from her injury is compared to the test..


    Actually, she compared her legs being cut off to The Agony:

    Taraza clung to the tree, shunting the agony aside. She managed to cut off most
    of the bloodflow from her wounds but the pain was great. Not as great as the
    spice agony, though, she reminded herself. That helped but she knew she was
    doomed. She heard shouts and the multiple sounds of violence all around the
    museum now.
    I have won! Taraza thought.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 06 Jun 2012 09:02

    Let's try to stay on topic in the reading group, please.

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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Kralizec » 27 Jul 2012 23:08

    Irulan says, "A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows." She somehow knows that every sister knows what she "knows" they do. Does every sister of the Bene Gesserit know that this is something every sister knows? I do not think we can know that. However, does any sister, even Irulan, think a universal opinion is true merely for being universal or held to be universal? In any case, this does not seem to be a very Bene-Gesseritic opinion. A beginning in which all the balances are correct is open to the critique that, at the beginning, one does not know what is correct. As for delicate care, I would agree if Irulan were to propose that one must be delicately careful in giving attention to every detail; however, delicate care in balancing everything correctly seems to be a formula for paralysis. I think Irulan has made a bad beginning. With my prescient vision, I foresee that everyone will regard the Princess Irulan as a mediocrity.

    "To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV," she continues, and she just seems pedantic. But very well, I take care to place him in that year, and I move on. "And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place." I am doubtful that there is a special difference between a castle on an outcropping of rock, surrounded by storm-tossed water, and a sietch in an outcropping of rock, surrounded by storm-tossed sand. There are particular differences, but both are swept becoming.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jul 2012 06:54

    Kralizec wrote:Irulan says, "A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows." She somehow knows that every sister knows what she "knows" they do. Does every sister of the Bene Gesserit know that this is something every sister knows? I do not think we can know that. However, does any sister, even Irulan, think a universal opinion is true merely for being universal or held to be universal? In any case, this does not seem to be a very Bene-Gesseritic opinion. A beginning in which all the balances are correct is open to the critique that, at the beginning, one does not know what is correct. As for delicate care, I would agree if Irulan were to propose that one must be delicately careful in giving attention to every detail; however, delicate care in balancing everything correctly seems to be a formula for paralysis. I think Irulan has made a bad beginning. With my prescient vision, I foresee that everyone will regard the Princess Irulan as a mediocrity.


    Since she went through the same schooling every other Sister of the BG went through, yes, we can assume she knows that every sister knows this.

    "To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV," she continues, and she just seems pedantic. But very well, I take care to place him in that year, and I move on.


    She's a historian.

    "And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place." I am doubtful that there is a special difference between a castle on an outcropping of rock, surrounded by storm-tossed water, and a sietch in an outcropping of rock, surrounded by storm-tossed sand. There are particular differences, but both are swept becoming.


    Are you trying to piss me off?
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Kralizec » 28 Jul 2012 13:07

    Freakzilla wrote:Are you trying to piss me off?

    Good gosh, no. I accepted your critique of some earlier posts as having been off topic. I was tempted to argue about matters of degree, but I put the thought aside because, having come to understand better your purpose for this part of the board, I could accept that the posts were not the sort to which you've dedicated it.

    It seemed good to begin re-reading and discussing the passages in the text themselves, as time permits, and Dune ch. 1 seemed to be the place to start. However, FH begins by quoting from a work by Irulan, a character whose understanding and authority he later makes other characters deny. On a second or third reading, I think we're permitted to ask about each thing Irulan says and does, even from the beginning, and to consider whether she's right or wrong. In general, I think I do the sorts of things FH hoped we would do. I think he's like his character Leto II, always instructing and always testing, even to the extent of giving us something to grapple with on the very first page, something we don't even know to grapple with until we've read and then returned to the beginning. None of this is to say I'm sure I'm right about each thing I wrote last night. I think these books are difficult.

    Returning to some of the particulars: It's true that Irulan is a historian. Historians and similar figures like the mentats and archivists seem to have their good characteristics and bad ones, in FH's estimate. FH is pretty rough: He makes Leto II take an ambivalent, would-be emperor and turn him into his personal historian, call him a tame bird, change his name, and make him the founding father of his breeding program. Later, FH makes Leto II burn some historians, on grounds they were knowingly false. In the same vein, I think it's all right to knock the historian Irulan off her pedestal from page 1. After that, one can find many things, good and bad, to say about her.

    As for Dune and Caladan, FH makes Irulan claim a special status for Dune, then much later, he makes the Bene Tleilax, Ixians, and Bene Gesserit take actions that altogether take away that planet's ongoing importance and uniqueness, and then he makes the Honored Matres turn it into a cinder. In the same vein, I think it's all right to observe, for whatever it's worth, that living in a stone dwelling surrounded by one wind-blown, hostile element is much like living in a stone dwelling surrounded by another wind-blown, hostile element. It's much like life, in which we each have a bit of clay to call our own, and a doubtful relationship with everything else. It's all right for Irulan to perhaps be wrong about Paul and "his place." She seems to have a proud attachment to Paul and to Dune, but both of them get really rough treatment from FH, just as she does.

    As for Irulan and what every sister knows, Irulan had the same early education as the other sisters. We gradually learn that BG organization and education is layered. In Chapterhouse: Dune, Darwi Odrade and Streggi have a revealing conversation about the BG manuals and the Coda--and histories, for that matter. Odrade is unsparing, and I think she would have some hard things to say about Irulan. When we're re-reading the series, I think we're allowed to giggle at Irulan, which to be clear is not the same as dismissing her altogether.

    FZ, I'm grateful for the forum and the work you put into developing and maintaining the content.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Nekhrun » 28 Jul 2012 13:39

    The point is that there is clearly a difference between living in a castle having your needs taken care of for you and living in a cave where survival is not guaranteed. To believe anything else is to miss the entire point of the environment and how it makes the Fremen what they are: the most dedicated, hardened, patient force in the universe.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jul 2012 13:51

    Also, I think that in the very first chapter we can take what Irulan has written for its face value (as well as in the rest of the epigraphs). I don't think FH is trying to mislead us here or trying to make a point about historians.

    And while you're in the reading group, please try not to spoil later chapters and books, try to think of the first time reader.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 07 Oct 2012 16:45

    I've been wondering what, specifically, it means to say that the "balances are correct." My best guess it that it refers to balance scales, and that the metaphor is that before you start weighing, you should check your instruments and your reference weights to make sure they're correctly calibrated. The saying is perhaps related to the Bene Gesserit claim that their first lesson is learning how to learn.

    I'm not sure I agree with Freakzilla that we should take Irulan's chapter heading at face value. Of course she has the basic facts correct, but I do find it ironic that she would introduce the book by saying, effectively, "Caladan is not important; forget about Caladan; do not start with Paul on Caladan!" and then we get like five chapters set on Caladan, with people more or less lining up to show how much they've influenced Paul there (in this chapter, Jessica and Gaius Helen). I think that'sFrank playing a joke on the historian-princess.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby SadisticCynic » 08 Oct 2012 16:17

    That history book was written after the events of Dune. To understand Paul at the end of the book we have to think of him as being from Arrakis, not from Caladan. As in, he has fully adopted an Arrakis mentality. At least, that's how I interpreted it.

    (Hard to say more without spoilers really.)
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 15 Oct 2012 08:20

    I relly don't think FH is trying to trick us with the epigraph to the first chapter.

    Paul was born on Caladan but his true home is Dune.

    'Making sure the balances are correct' is just a BG axiom, I don't think you need to read much more into it than that except maybe that she's trying to set the record straight at the begining of her biography of Paul.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Naïve mind » 15 Oct 2012 12:46

    Of course, we could also look at its value as a piece of exposition. Imagine reading it for the first time:

    • Dune is a planet, also known as Arrakis. But there's also Caladan, which is not on Dune.
    • This Muad'dib guy must be really important to have a historian write about him. And he's from Caladan.
    • Padishah Emperor Shaddam ... so he lives under some kind of weird space monarchy?
    • What is a Bene Gesserit?

    My guess is that the paragraph does what it seems to do:
    • Establish some background scenery
    • Indicate to the reader that anything involving "Muad'dib" is going to be important.
    • Maybe prime them to be curious about these "Bene Gesserit"
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 16 Oct 2012 16:00

    Yes, Naïve Mind, that's obviously the primary purpose of the intro: To provide some exposition, do a little foreshadowing and set up some mysteries. Plus helping to set the tone for the book. But given that FH was playing with the relationship between events as lived and events as recorded by history (after all, he ended it on the line "history will call us wives"), I think we always need to question whether we're meant to blithely accept Irulan's spin on things. To borrow from another one of her chapter intros:

    Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.

    We are meant to scoff, to use our own judgment rather than just accept hers.

    Freakzilla wrote:I relly don't think FH is trying to trick us with the epigraph to the first chapter.

    Paul was born on Caladan but his true home is Dune.

    Like I said, I don't think he's trying to "trick" us, either. Obviously Irulan's facts are correct; it's just her interpretation of them that isn't necessarily on the mark. It's undeniably ironic to have her introduce the book by saying, "To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib [...] take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis," and then have the main narrative right away place him on Caladan, isn't it?

    'Making sure the balances are correct' is just a BG axiom, I don't think you need to read much more into it than that except maybe that she's trying to set the record straight at the begining of her biography of Paul.

    Yeah, it's a BG axiom, but clearly it means something. We can all gloss it as something to the effect of "It's important to get the basic facts right at the outset (because if you start from the wrong premises, you're going to go astray)," but are we able to explain how "ensure that the balances are correct" can mean "get the basic facts right"? Is there an ordinary definition of "balances" that makes sense in context? Is the whole thing a metaphor, like "The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows -- a wall against the wind. This is the willow's purpose"?
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Freakzilla » 16 Oct 2012 16:39

    It means, don't be fooled by the fact that the story starts on Caladan, Dune is his place.

    At least that's what it mans to me, you can read into it what you want.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 16 Oct 2012 17:54

    Aren't you mixing up two different things?

    A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. - Effective meaning clear, literal meaning unclear.

    And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place. - Meaning obvious, whether we're supposed to agree with it disputed.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Naïve mind » 17 Oct 2012 00:14

    I think I concur. Irulan seems to be saying that Paul's birth on Caladan is irrelevant; that Dune is the planet that most formed him. But Paul is first and foremost a child of his parents; Atreides ethics paired with Bene Gesserit cunning, and most importantly, a desire for power that's so ingrained that Paul, a fairly self-aware character, almost never questions that particular urge.

    Dune may have formed him, but he does numerous things he could never have done had he grown up on Dune. His respect for Fremen traditions is almost purely functional; its display is necessary because he needs their loyalty, but he's able to quickly disregard them when a greater need arises. He is brazen and impatient; where the Fremen are willing to tolerate outside oppressors and quietly work on their plans for many generations, Paul needs to have his revenge now, even though he can see the terrifying costs.

    Of course, Dune being not as formative as implied by the paragraph does not mean that Caladan is the planet that formed him. Paul grew up in an extremely sheltered environment, where rulers were a substitute for parents, and swordsmasters were an excuse for playmates. So Irulan may be right that Caladan must not be mistakenly seen as Paul's formative environment. And I don't see evidence either for or against the speculation that Herbert purposefully prefaced his book with a subtle historic misinterpretation of its main character.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 17 Oct 2012 06:17

    Well put, NM!
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby chuck_boris » 22 Oct 2012 15:10

    ok, guys... I've just finished reading the entire thread so here are some thoughts:

    the gom jabbar:
    I think Paul was the first male ever to be tested with the gom jabbar. Except maybe for Fenring :) And also I think that the test was meant for women (girls) joining the BG. that would explain the risk of killing the person. I can't imagine them randomly testing boys and girls to see if they are human and "set them free". only people who would receive an important task from the BG had to be tested.

    now, about the OM:
    I don't think it's a good idea to try and explain them scientifically, because we obviously know too little. science can't even really explain simple memories. and I don't think FH intended them to be scientifically plausible either. it's a matter of voluntary suspension of incredulity.

    I have a question, though: how far do the OM go? from a creationist point of view, it's simple - Eve. but from an evolutionary perspective? where do you draw the line? when do we stop being human if you look backwards? I mean... even animals have memories: they recognize each other, they remember who the leader of the pack is, and so forth.
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby chuck_boris » 22 Oct 2012 15:14

    oh, and about the quotations from Irulan: think of the book she is writing, think of her readers. that book is meant for the religious people. you can't speak to them about Paul's real interests, the missionaria protectiva and all that, can you? :)
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    Re: Chapter 01

    Postby Serkanner » 22 Oct 2012 15:28

    chuck_boris wrote: that book is meant for the religious people.


    No it isn't.
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