The Litany against fear (from Frank Herbert's Dune)

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Jun 15, 2009 6:58 PM GMT
    Just thought I'd post it as I'm finding use for it these days. It's struck me ever since I saw the first film (haven't read the books yet) and I like that it does not rely on anything divine in its invocation.


    Litany against fear

    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.



    (from Frank Herbert's Dune, as copied from the Wikipedia article on the Bene Gesserit)
  • Sebastian18

    Posts: 255

    Jun 15, 2009 10:16 PM GMT
    That's one of my favorite mantras/prayers to use in difficult times as well. Having recently re-read the series it's really taken on new meaning for me as well. I also like this quote from Chapterhouse Dune:

    "Give me the judgment of balanced minds in preference to laws every time. Codes and manuals create patterned behavior. All patterned behavior tends to go unquestioned, gathering destructive momentum."
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jun 15, 2009 10:20 PM GMT
    There's no deity referenced because it is a Bene Geserit incantation. The Bene Geserit have no religion except their own powerful telekenesis and mind control. They only strive to genetically engineer a god that they can control...
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    Jun 15, 2009 10:25 PM GMT
    Oh, Dune. It has been with me for years. I tend to read the whole series (Well, the Frank books) every summer. The litany has always been a favorite but for me the Van Gogh painting in the later books has been an image the keeps me grounded.
  • Sebastian18

    Posts: 255

    Jun 15, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    jarhead5536 saidThere's no deity referenced because it is a Bene Geserit incantation. The Bene Geserit have no religion except their own powerful telekenesis and mind control. They only strive to genetically engineer a god that they can control...


    True, the Bene Gesserit don't have a religion but, then again, one doesn't have to believe in God/Goddess/Atman/Grand Architecht/etc. in order to reap the benefits of prayer, mantra practice or meditation - it's all about controlling the mind anyways and making it receptive to a different way of thought which can be a very powerful experience and help one's personal development.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jun 15, 2009 10:38 PM GMT
    Sebastian18 said
    jarhead5536 saidThere's no deity referenced because it is a Bene Geserit incantation. The Bene Geserit have no religion except their own powerful telekenesis and mind control. They only strive to genetically engineer a god that they can control...


    True, the Bene Gesserit don't have a religion but, then again, one doesn't have to believe in God/Goddess/Atman/Grand Architecht/etc. in order to reap the benefits of prayer, mantra practice or meditation - it's all about controlling the mind anyways and making it receptive to a different way of thought which can be a very powerful experience and help one's personal development.


    I find them to be supremely manipulative in the end. When I first read Dune, I thought of them as the good guys trying to do the right thing, but now find those women to be practically the ultimate evil institution. They have perfected mind control and their telekinetic powers, but they use them for selfish reasons.

    Maybe it's maturity, but as time goes on I also become increasingly disenchanted with Muad D'ib. Comparisons to Osama bin Laden come readily to mind...
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    Jun 15, 2009 10:42 PM GMT
    But you have to keep in mind that Leto II kept them around for a reason. Their evil is someone necessary for the greater good. And, after the Golden Path, they learned their lesson.

  • Sebastian18

    Posts: 255

    Jun 15, 2009 10:57 PM GMT
    jarhead5536 said
    Sebastian18 said
    jarhead5536 saidThere's no deity referenced because it is a Bene Geserit incantation. The Bene Geserit have no religion except their own powerful telekenesis and mind control. They only strive to genetically engineer a god that they can control...


    True, the Bene Gesserit don't have a religion but, then again, one doesn't have to believe in God/Goddess/Atman/Grand Architecht/etc. in order to reap the benefits of prayer, mantra practice or meditation - it's all about controlling the mind anyways and making it receptive to a different way of thought which can be a very powerful experience and help one's personal development.


    I find them to be supremely manipulative in the end. When I first read Dune, I thought of them as the good guys trying to do the right thing, but now find those women to be practically the ultimate evil institution. They have perfected mind control and their telekinetic powers, but they use them for selfish reasons.

    Maybe it's maturity, but as time goes on I also become increasingly disenchanted with Muad D'ib. Comparisons to Osama bin Laden come readily to mind...


    I think in the respect to the Bene Gesserit, the narrative really goes on as a morality tale to show how they allowed their ambitions to overshadow the benefit of the greater humanity. Ultimately Leto II managed to bring them back to humane behavior when breeding them into his programme of combining Bene Gesserit and Atriedes.

    Beyond that point, I personally see little intrinsically wrong with using the abilities one has in order to promote a particular agenda. Some people are gifted with a degree of eloquence that others lack, if they use their eloquence I see nothing intrinsically bad about the situation although it may conversely be for something I'm diametrically opposed toward. In the grand scheme of things, the only thing that will be the ultimate voice in any event is History.

    As for building a controllable god... that idea's pretty tempting. icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 15, 2009 11:08 PM GMT
    One of the best litanies ever written!

    I've employed it many times in my life... sometimes with success.
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    Jun 15, 2009 11:30 PM GMT
    hahah YES!!! I used that before my first fight because I was so scared lol
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    Jun 16, 2009 12:00 AM GMT
    Cheesy, but if it works for you that's great.

    PS. the books are fucking incredible.
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    Jun 16, 2009 12:10 AM GMT
    I love the original movie.
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    Jun 16, 2009 12:19 AM GMT
    NickoftheNorth saidJust thought I'd post it as I'm finding use for it these days. It's struck me ever since I saw the first film (haven't read the books yet) and I like that it does not rely on anything divine in its invocation.


    Litany against fear

    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.



    (from Frank Herbert's Dune, as copied from the Wikipedia article on the Bene Gesserit)


    Read the books if you haven't yet. Even the Sci-Fi Channels miniseries doesn't do the books enough justice. The original Dune is probably the single best piece of science fiction ever written, one reason George Lucas stole so much from it. I've read the books multiple times and always catch something I missed from previous times.
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    Jun 16, 2009 1:00 AM GMT
    Interesting...

    *Adds to the must-read list*
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    Jun 16, 2009 1:19 AM GMT
    Awesome! Have you all seen the SciFi remake? Fantastic...

    Fear is the mind killer...
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    Jun 17, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
    Dune worms are sooo gaaay.
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    Jun 17, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
    Justmi saidI love the original movie.


    I love David Lynch's version too.

    Sting exiting that pillar of steam got me through many a fecund adolescent night.
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    Jun 17, 2009 3:28 PM GMT
    Sebastian18 saidTrue, the Bene Gesserit don't have a religion but, then again, one doesn't have to believe in God/Goddess/Atman/Grand Architecht/etc. in order to reap the benefits of prayer, mantra practice or meditation

    My best friend and motorcycling buddy in the late 1960s used to parody religion by choosing a new thing to worship every few weeks. One time it would be a potato, another time a rock, always some relatively small object, since he liked the convenience of God being portable.

    Not some idiot, BTW, despite being a riding pal of mine, rather one of those mythological guys with a supernatural IQ who got a perfect 1600 on his college SATs. But who, like me, threw it all away to ride motorcycles instead of attend college in the turbulent 60s, and we both enlisted in the US Army within a few months of each other.

    He got out disabled after his initial enlistment and became a worker bee for the Federal government, while I stayed for 25 and lost touch with him, and I still miss him a lot. I should have prayed more often to his spud.
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    Jun 17, 2009 3:35 PM GMT
    any mantra that is good enough to be used by arthur in the tick is good enough for me.


    SPOON!!!!!!!!!!!
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jun 17, 2009 3:39 PM GMT
    Justmi saidI love the original movie.


    The David Lynch film was a little to arty for me. The SciFi channel miniseries was better, but still overly stylized and theatrical. It seems no one can do a film treatment of this novel without indulging every little "autuer director" arrow they have in their quiver...