Frank Herbert Quotes


The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?
Muad'Dib, from the Oral History
This wise man observed that wealth is a tool of freedom.
But the pursuit of wealth is the way to slavery.
Leto II
I have isolated the city-experience within me and have examined it closely. The idea of a city fascinates me. The formation of a biological community without a functioning, supportive social community leads to havoc. Whole worlds have become single biological communities without an interrelated social structure and this has always led to ruin. It becomes dramatically instructive under overcrowded conditions. The ghetto is lethal. Psychic stresses of overcrowding create pressures which will erupt. The city is an attempt to manage these forces. The social forms by which cities make the attempt are worth study. Remember that there exists a certain malevolence about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence by an artificial entity. Despotism and slavery hover at the edges. Many injuries occur and, thus, the need for laws. The law develops its own power structure, creating more wounds and new injustices. Such trauma can be healed by cooperation, not by confrontation. The summons to cooperate identifies the healer.
The Stolen Journals

The assumption that humans exist within an essentially impermanent universe, taken as an operational precept, demands that the intellect become a totally aware balancing instrument.
from The Book of Leto, After Harq al-Ada

Use me well, for I did love you.
Duncan Idaho to Leto II

There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.
Darwi Odrade
The assumption that a whole system can be made to work better through an assault on its conscious elements betrays a dangerous ignorance. This has often been the ignorant approach of those who call themselves scientists and technologists.
The Butlerian Jihad by Harq al-Ada
The person who takes the banal and ordinary and illuminates it in a new way can terrify. We do not want our ideas changed. We feel threatened by such demands. "I already know the important things!" we say. Then Changer comes and throws our old ideas away.
The Zensufi Master - Dune
The universe is just there; that's the only way a Fedaykin can view it and remain the master of his senses. The universe neither threatens nor promises. It holds things beyond our sway: the fall of a meteor, the eruption of a spiceblow, growing old and dying. These are the realities of this universe and they must be faced regardless of how you feel about them. You cannot fend off such realities with words. They will come at you in their own wordless way and then, then you will So understand what is meant by "life and death." Understanding this, you will be filled with joy.
Muad'Dib to his Fedaykin
- Dune
There exists no separation between gods and men; one blends softly casual to the other.
Proverbs of Muad'Dib - Dune
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
- Dune
And he saw the vision of armor. The armor was not his own skin: it was stronger than plasteel. Nothing penetrated his armor -- not knife or poison or sand, not the dust of the desert or its desiccating heat. In his right hand he carried the power to make the Coriolis storm, to shake the earth and erode it into nothing. His eyes were fixed upon the Golden Path and in his left hand he carried the scepter of absolute mastery. And beyond the Golden Path, his eyes looked into eternity which he knew to be the food of his soul and of his everlasting flesh.
Heighia, My Brother's Dream from the Book of Ghanima - Dune
Humankind periodically goes through a speedup of its affairs, thereby experiencing the race between the renewable vitality of the living and the beckoning vitiation of decadence. In this periodic race, any pause becomes luxury. Only then can one reflect that all is permitted; all is possible.
The Apocrypha of Muad'Dib - Dune
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of saphoo that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
Piter de Vries - Dune, the movie
What do you despise? By this are you truly known.
from "Manual of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan
A sophisticated human can become primitive. What this really means is that the human's way of life changed. Old values change, become linked to the landscape with its plants and animals. This new existence requires a working knowledge of those multiplex and cross-linked events usually referred to as nature. It requires a measure of respect, for the internal power within such natural systems. When a human gains this working knowledge and respect, that is called "being primitive." The converse, of course, is equally true: the primitive can become sophisticated, but not without accepting dreadful psychological damage.
The Leto Commentary After Harq al-Ada - Dune
Answers are a perilous grip on the universe. They can appear sensible yet explain nothing.
The Zensunni Whip - Dune
The writing of history is largely a process of diversion. Most historical accounts distract attention from the secret influences behind great events.
The Bashar Miles Teg
- Dune
Above all else, the mentat must be a generalist, not a specialist. It is wise to have decisions of great moment monitored by generalists. Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma. The mentat-generalist, on the other hand, should bring to decision-making a healthy common sense. He must not cut himself off from the broad sweep of what is happening in this universe. He must remain capable of saying: "There's no real mystery about this at the moment. This is what we want now. It may prove wrong later, but we'll correct that when we come to it." The mentat-generalist must understand that anything which we can identify as our universe is merely part of larger phenomena. But the expert looks backward; he looks into the narrow standards of his own specialty. The generalist looks outward; he looks for living principles, knowing full well that such principles change, that they develop. It is to the characteristics of change itself that the mentat-generalist must look. There can be no permanent catalogue of such change, no handbook or manual. You must look at it with as few preconceptions as possible, asking yourself: "Now what is this thing doing?"
The Mentat Handbook - Dune
Many things we do naturally become difficult only when we try to make them intellectual subjects. It is possible to know so much about a subject that you become ignorant.
Mentat Text Two (decto) - Dune
Truth suffers from too much analysis.
Ancient Fremen Saying - Dune
The Universe is God's. It is one thing, a wholeness against which all separations may be identified. Transient life, even that self-aware and reasoning life which we call sentient, holds only fragile trusteeship on any portion of the wholeness.
Commentaries from the C.E.T. - Dune
The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the wold within your fences. The packs ranging outside may not even exist.
The Azhar Book; Shamra I:4 - Dune
To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen.
The Amtal Rule - Dune
Because of the one-pointed Time awareness in which the conventional mind remains immersed, humans tend to think of everything in a sequential, word-oriented framework. This mental trap produces very short-term concepts of effectiveness and consequences, a condition of constant, unplanned response to crises.
- Dune
I'm being so candid with you that I must tell you about my unswerving honesty.
Bene Gesserit Protestation - Chapterhouse Dune
This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motions all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to understanding. You put aside understanding itself. The universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected any way by fixed perceptions. It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms may be projected. You have only one awareness here - the screen of the magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos.
The Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives - Dune
Technology, in common with many other activities, tends toward avoidance of risks by investors. Uncertainty is ruled out if possible. Capital investment follows this rule, since people generally prefer the predictable. Few recognize how destructive this can be, how it imposes severe limits on variability and thus makes whole populations fatally vulnerable to the shocking ways our universe can throw the dice.
Assessment of Ix, Bene Gesserit Archives - Dune
By your belief in singularities, in granular absolutes, you deny movement, even the movement of evolution! While you cause a granular universe to persist in your awareness, you are blind to movement. When things change, your absolute universe vanishes, no longer accesible for your self limiting perceptions. The universe has moved beyond you.
First Draft, Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives - Dune
Quite naturally, holders of power wish to supress wild research. Unrestricted questing after knowledge has a long history of producing unwanted competition. The powerful want a "safe line of investigations," which will develop only those products and ideas that can be controlled and, most important, that will allow the larger part of benefits to be captured by inside investors. Unfortunately, a random universe full of relative variables does not insure such a "safe line of investigations".
Assesment of Ix, Bene Gesserit Archives - Dune
Paired opposites define your longings and those longings imprison you.
The Zensunni Whip - Dune
Some never participate. Life happens to them. They get by on little more than dumb persistence and resist with anger or violence all things that might lift them out of resentment-filled illusions of security.
Alma Mavis Taraza - Dune
This was a line whose existence she thought few of her Sisters suspected. As she crossed it, she realized she has always known it was there: a place where she could enter the void and float free. She no longer was vulnerable. She could be killed but she could not be defeated.
Heretics of Dune
How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.
Frank Herbert
Uproot your questions from their ground and the dangling roots will be seen.
More questions!
Mentat Zensufi - Dune

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