edgecase
Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2019-07-14
Datafeed Article 116
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1904 words - 683 lines - 18 pages - 1 comment





I do not recommend this book. However, there are some excerpts from it that I wish to preserve.




[excerpt: page 90]


The past is always changing, but few realize it.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 124]


Hypocrisy brings on the witch hunt and the demand for scapegoats.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 124]


In the shadow of every religion lurks a Torquemada.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 135]


The truth always carries the ambiguity of the words used to express it.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 135]


Although much sought after, truth can be dangerous to the seeker. Myths and reassuring lies are much easier to find and believe. If you find a truth, even a temporary one, it can demand that you make painful changes.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 136]


There are inevitably more than enough words.

[end of excerpt]


I'll rewrite this as:

There are always more than enough words.





[excerpt: page 136]


How soothing it is to forget. And how dangerous!

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 136]


"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: pages 136-137]


All of history is a malleable instrument in my hands. Ohhh, I have accumulated all of these pasts and I possess every fact - yet the facts are mine to use as I will and, even using them truthfully, I change them. What am I speaking to you now? What is a diary, a journal? Words."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 153]


Words can carry any burden we wish. All that's required is agreement and a tradition upon which to build.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 172]


Militant missionary religions can share this illusion of the 'proud past', but few understand the ultimate peril to humankind - that false sense of freedom from responsibility for your own actions.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 173]


That is the beginning of knowledge - the discovery of something we do not understand.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 175]


Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 175]


If patterns teach me anything it's that patterns are repeated.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 189]


I point out to you, Marcus Claire Luyseyal, a lesson from past over-machined societies which you appear not to have learned. The devices themselves condition the users to employ each other the way they employ machines.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 191]


The trance-state of prophecy is like no other visionary experience. It is not a retreat from the raw exposure of the senses (as are many trance-states) but an immersion in a multitude of new movements. Things move. It is an ultimate pragmatism in the midst of infinity, a demanding consciousness where you come at last into the unbroken awareness that the universe moves of itself, that it changes, that its rules change, that nothing remains permanent or absolute throughout all such movement, that mechanical explanations for anything can work only within precise confinements and, once the walls are broken down, the old explanations shatter and dissolve, blown away by new movements. The things you see in this trance are sobering, often shattering. They demand your utmost effort to remain whole and, even so, you emerge from that state profoundly changed.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 226]


The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?

- Muad'Dib (from the Oral History)

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 235]


Any religion circles like a planet around a sun which it must use for its energy, upon which it depends for its very existence.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 239]


[Duncan Idaho] "The more I find out, the more I realize that I don't know what's going on. "

"How fortunate that you have discovered the way to wisdom", Leto said.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 242]


"Information is frozen in patterns, Duncan. We can use one pattern to solve another pattern. Flow patterns are the hardest to recognize and understand."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 245]


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.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 257]


"When I need to identify rebels, I look for men with principles", he said.

[...]

"Where do you think I find my best administrators?" he asked.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 258]


"One of the hardest things for a tyrant to find", he said, "is people who actually make decisions."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 276]


"Aristocracy looks mostly to the past. That's a failure. You don't see much of any path unless you are Janus, looking simultaneously backward and forward."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 277]


"All gods have this problem, Hwi. In the perception of deeper needs, I must often ignore immediate ones. Not addressing immediate needs is an offense to the young."

"Could you not reason with her and..."

"Never attempt to reason with people who know they are right!"

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 280]


"How persistent it is, this demand that our gods be perfect. The Greeks were much more reasonable about such things."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 286]


"Throughout our history", Leto said, "the most potent use of words has been to round out some transcendental event, giving that event a place in the accepted chronicles, explaining the event in such a way that ever afterward we can use those words and say: 'This is what it meant.'"

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 288]


"Make no heroes", my father said.

- The voice of Ghanima
from the Oral History

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 294]


The aristocrat's unspoken duty - to teach, and sometimes by horrible example.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 297]


The prophet is not diverted by illusions of past, present and future. The fixity of language determines such linear distinctions. Prophets hold a key to the lock in a language. The mechanical image remains only an image to them. This is not a mechanical universe. The linear progression of events is imposed by the observer. Cause and effect? That's not it at all. The prophet utters fateful words. You glimpse a thing "destined to occur". But the prophetic instant releases something of infinite portent and power. The universe undergoes a ghostly shift. Thus, the wise prophet conceals actuality behind shimmering labels. The uninitiated then believe the prophetic language is ambiguous. The listener distrusts the prophetic messenger. Instinct tells you how the utterance blunts the power of such words. The best prophets lead you up to the curtain and let you peer through for yourself.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 297]


Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 301]


Governments can be useful to the governed only so long as inherent tendencies toward tyranny are restrained. Monarchies have some good features beyond their star qualities. They can reduce the size and parasitic nature of the management bureaucracy. They can make speedy decisions when necessary. They fit an ancient human demand for a parental (tribal/feudal) hierarchy where every person knows his place.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 324]


We carry all of our ancestry forward like a living wave, all of the hopes and joys and griefs, the agonies and the exultations of our past. Nothing within those memories remains completely without meaning or influence, not as long as there is a humankind somewhere.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 328]


The right is known because it endures.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 329]


Leto spoke with infinite sadness: "You, too, shall pass away. Will all your works be as dust forgotten?"

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 348]


The wall of past-beyond-recall
Hides me from an ancient fall
Where all the waters tumble!
And plays of sprays
Carve caves in clays
Beneath a torrent's rumble.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 367]


The Duncans sometimes ask if I understand the exotic ideas of our past? And if I understand them, why can't I explain them? Knowledge, the Duncans believe, resides only in particulars. I try to tell them that all words are plastic. Word images begin to distort in the instant of utterance. Ideas embedded in a language require that particular language for expression. This is the very essence of the meaning within the word exotic. See how it begins to distort? Translation squirms in the presence of the exotic. The Galach which I speak here imposes itself. It is an outside frame of reference, a particular system. Dangers lurk in all systems. Systems incorporate the unexamined beliefs of their creators. Adopt a system, accept its beliefs, and you help strengthen the resistance to change. Does it serve any purpose for me to tell the Duncans that there are no languages for some things? Ahhhh! But the Duncans believe that all languages are mine.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 369]


Continued too long, argument always leads to violence.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 371]


Dependency fosters weakness!

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 378]


Given enough time for the generations to evolve, the predator produces particular survival adaptations in its prey which, through the circular operation of feedback, produce changes in the predator which again change the prey, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... Many powerful forces do the same thing. You can count religions among such forces.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 382]


"The God Emperor's moods are like a river - smooth where nothing obstructs him, foaming and violent at the least suggestion of a barrier. He is not to be obstructed."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 390]


"Moneo, why do you insist on taking pieces out of the continuum?" Leto asked. "When you see a spectrum, do you desire one colour there above all the others?"

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 392]


Most civilization is based on cowardice. It's so easy to civilize by teaching cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery. You restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons. You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos. You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 398]


What is the most immediate danger to my stewardship? I will tell you. It is a true visionary, a person who has stood in the presence of God with the full knowledge of where he stands. Visionary ecstasy releases energies which are like the energies of sex - uncaring for anything except creation. One act of creation can be much like another. Everything depends upon the vision.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 401]


"When a thing vanishes", Leto said, "that is as much of a message as when a thing suddenly appears. The empty spaces are always worthy of our study."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 407]


"'The present is distraction; the future a dream; only memory can unlock the meaning of life.' Aren't those beautiful words?"

[...]

"But my words were a foolish lie", Leto said. "I knew it at the time, but I was infatuated with the beautiful words. No - memory unlocks no meanings. Without anguish of the spirit, which is a wordless experience, there are no meanings anywhere."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 409]


You cannot understand history unless you understand its flowings, its currents and the ways leaders move within such forces. A leader tries to perpetuate the conditions which demand his leadership. Thus, the leader requires the outsider.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 415]


You think power may be the most unstable of all human achievements? Then what of the apparent exceptions to this inherent instability? Some families endure. Very powerful religious bureaucracies have been known to endure. Consider the relationship between faith and power. Are they mutually exclusive when each depends upon the other?

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 417]


"Moneo is trapped. He has learned that it is difficult to live in the present, pointless to live in the future and impossible to live in the past."

[...]

"Most believe that a satisfactory future requires a return to an idealized past, a past which never in fact existed."

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 419]


History is a constant race between invention and catastrophe. Education helps but it's never enough.

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 436]


In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable. This universe presents only changing relationships which are sometimes seen as laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshy sensoria which we call self are ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change. If you must label the absolute, use its proper name: Temporary.

- The Stolen Journals

[end of excerpt]





[excerpt: page 450]


Whatever has form has mortality. Beyond form is the formless, the immortal.

[end of excerpt]











[start of notes]



I have a paper copy of God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert in my possession. I have marked various excerpts..

Details from the first few pages:
- First published in Great Britain in 1981 by Victor Gollancz Ltd
- Copyright © Frank Herbert 1981

I googled "god emperor of dune text".

First result:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi1-N6wpaLjAhU6TRUIHbycCLoQFjAAegQIBRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Farchive.org%2Fstream%2Ffrank-herbert-dune-1-dune%2Ffrank-herbert-dune-4-god-emporer-of-dune_djvu.txt&usg=AOvVaw3G1QgftDHOUlfiROFScoKY

This provided me with a starting text. I copied the target excerpts into this article, and checked them against the paper copy.


[end of notes]












All quotations are from the character Leto II, the God Emperor, unless otherwise indicated.

There is a superfluous space at the end of the quoted sentence "The more I find out, the more I realize that I don't know what's going on. "