I hear the wind blowing across the desert and I see the moons of a winter night
rising like great ships in the void. To them I make my vow: I will be resolute
and make an art of government; I will balance my inherited past and become a
perfect storehouse of my relic memories. And I will be known for kindliness more
than for knowledge. My face will shine down the corridors of time for as long as
-Leto's Vow, After Harq al-Ada
Alia is contemplating her own possession. As a child she’d used the prana-bindu trance to strengthen her own persona against the hoard of her ancestors. As a Fremen, she couldn’t escape the spice. She envied the other Fremen who could release the built up pressures of their own ancestral memories in the spice orgy but there was no release for her. She was forced to confront the personas of all her ancestors and those shared by Jessica before birth. She had all the knowledge of a Reverend Mother and more before she was even born. Of course with this came the knowledge of her own abomination. She was able to keep her own persona intact through childhood but there were always intrusions from ancestors trying to live through her. That’s what she’ll be doing one day, trying to live through a descendant. She had no one to turn to for help. Jessica could only think of her as abomination, and Paul walked into the desert. Afterwards she married Hayt and Jessica fled to Caladan. She was left alone with the twins and in charge of the universe. In an attempt to deal with this pressure, she sought advice from Other Memory, this opened a flood of ancestors until finally the Baron appeared to her. Terrified, she was able to block it all out temporarily until one day they all attacked her and she feared she was going insane. Then the Baron offers to hold back the others if she would let him live through her occasionally. He convinces her to have an affair with Javid and kill him because he is dangerous and he wants to experience it through her senses. She arranges it.
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Children of Dune wrote:On this morning, Alia took her pre-breakfast walk through the Keep's roof
garden. In a new attempt to win the inner battle, she tried to hold her entire
awareness within Choda's admonition to the Zensunni:
"Leaving the ladder, one may fall upward!"
This maxim, that one always requires a solid frame of reference, can apply as well to psychology as to nature itself. A person, when reduced to the component elements, is some combination of body, mind, memories, and their environment. So where is the "I" in all this, where is the individual? When real memory is accessed and opened up, as the RM's and pre-born do, one can be lost in the sea of past memories. When a prescient like Paul drifts through future paths he can be lost there too. In both cases a tether is needed, a pillar that can always be grasped to return one to the present time and the real self. But what is the real self? How can the self be separated from the ancestral memories, and from the knowledge of the future? And if they are intertwined, then what is this 'self' that one can come back to that somehow seems to exist apart from future and past? For Alia there is no such self, apparently; the battle to find a pillar or a tether was a losing battle from the start.
Alia thinks about how the Fremen can shut out their Other Memory through the tau orgy, but that she can't do that. Is the act of self-deception involved in denying one's own memories the very thing which can allow there to be a 'real self'? Presumably the same would be true of ignoring the future to focus on the present; willful ignorance is required, a sort of fantasy that one resides only 'now.' Perhaps Frank is saying that in order to have a real sense of self we must embrace the illusion that we exist separately from what came before and what is to come, that we must pretend we stand alone like a unmoving stone in a flowing river, because to think of ourselves as part of the river would be too chaotic to make sense of. Might we think of Alia as being too wise for the illusion; that she cannot have a self of her own due to seeing through the facade too well, not having spent the years others do in building up imaginary walls?
Children of Dune wrote:"The morality of this lesson escapes --"
"Don't be dense, grandchild! Morality must always be based on practicality.
Render unto Caesar and all that nonsense. A victory is useless unless it
reflects your deepest wishes. Is it not true that you have admired Javid's
The Baron here is right. To have a self one must recognize that one has deep wishes, to think of oneself as apart and to want things. Contrast Alia with Paul or the twins; Alia seems to want nothing, to aspire for nothing, we never hear her speak of goals or what she would like for the future. She was as full a KH as Paul was but still was content for him to think about what he wanted while she just went along with it. The same goes for the twins, who seem always to be worried about what will come next and what they should do for the future; they want things. Alia seems portrayed always as a passenger to the plans of others, never to have plans of her own. The Baron is trying to tell her that she needs to begin to be someone, rather than no one; to fulfill her own wishes rather than carry out plans enacted by others. In this sense he is right; since she is incapable of generating the illusion of self that she would need to do this, her only remaining option for mental stability is to become the Baron.