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Chapter 11

Posted: 12 Feb 2008 21:30
by Freakzilla
I think what a joy it is to be alive, and I wonder if I'll ever leap inward to
the root of this flesh and know myself as once I was. The root is there. Whether
any act of mine can find it, that remains tangled in the future. But all things
a man can do are mine. Any act of mine may do it.

-The Ghola Speaks Alia's Commentary

Paul is in the spice trance and has a vision of a moon falling. It didn't set, it was gone. There is a great hissing, the earth quakes and he's in terror. He’s trying to figure out what it means, it suggests a loss of personal security and wonders if it means his civilization will fall. It took a massive dose of spice to see though the tarot fog and the only thing it showed him was that to end the Jihad he must discredit himself and the vision of the moon falling. He recalls that his Fremen call themselves "children of the moon". He wonders if he should choose his own death while he still has the willpower. Hayt enters and Paul asks him to interpret his vision. Hayt says he’s running from death, living in the future. Hayt doesn’t bring Paul any comfort. Chani's absence in his visions of the future haunts him.

Re: Chapter 11

Posted: 19 Apr 2012 11:14
by Freakzilla
Revised, clean.

Re: Chapter 11

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 00:46
by georgiedenbro
I found this chapter surprisingly strange. I think maybe it reads differently from other chapters because Paul is still on a spice drug high and is not entirely lucid during it. This vision of the falling moon, which Paul experiences again near the chapter's end, gives a sense of a psychedelic experience, and if this is what is meant then it would be one of the few passages I've seen where we get a real sense of the spice being a drug, and not just this stuff that gives you powers and longevity.

I wonder at the meaning of the falling moon. The shadow on Dune's 2nd moon in the shape of a muad'dib comes to mind, which would directly suggest that the falling moon is Paul himself, and not his civilization. Given Paul's exchange with Hayt I think that Paul was under no illusions about the immortality of his empire; but his own death would be something that not even knowledge could shield him from fearing. Is it his own death he fears, though, or is it the falling towards death that he knows is happening, that he fears? In other words, as Hayt points out, Paul's foreknowledge is the thing terrorizing Paul, not the prospect of death that each man knows will happen but can put out of his mind. Paul could put it out of his own mind too - but then would have to eschew prescience, whose visions show his death. And since Paul clings to his prescience as a 'crutch', he cannot avoid seeing his own death constantly.

Here's a quote from Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound:
Aeschylus wrote:Chorus. Iron-hearted must he be and made of rock 272
Who is not moved, Prometheus, by thy woes:
Fain could I wish I ne’er had seen such things,
And, seeing them, am wounded to the heart.

Prometheus. Yea, I am piteous for my friends to see. 276

Chor. Didst thou not go to farther lengths than this?

Prom. I made men cease from contemplating death. 16

Chor. What medicine didst thou find for that disease?

Prom. Blind hopes I gave to live and dwell with them. 280

Chor. Great service that thou didst for mortal men!

Prom. And more than that, I gave them fire, yes, I.

Chor. Do short-lived men the flaming fire possess?

Prom. Yea, and full many an art they’ll learn from it. 284

Chor. And is it then on charges such as these
That Zeus maltreats thee, and no respite gives
Of many woes? And has thy pain no end?

Prom. End there is none, except as pleases Him.
The great gift given to man by Prometheus, that of being able to cling to blind hopes in order to live day-to-day without being terrorized by the sure knowledge of doom and death - this great gift Paul denies to himself by using himself as an oracle. Prometheus says that man needed this blindness in order to live well, and this thought is mirrored in other ancient Greek works. The power of the oracle tended to be seen in ancient Greek literature as being a curse more than anything, dooming a man to live out his days knowing his fate but unable to change it. That the man in question who knows his fate is also the one who makes it, makes the knowledge even more terrible.

This strange chapter does get us more into the issue of the use of prescience being a great trap for the user. It grants power, in one sense, but also removes all power that its user has, because what possibilities are left for the man with no blind hopes and dreams?