Dune Club notes part 9

Continuing from part 8 of the Dune Book Club, run by Comic Book Girl 19.

Source

Pages 521-587

Notes Before the Twitch Stream

Page 521:

The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.

What this line means to me. It makes me think of Lord of the Flies, and the double edged sword of technological advancements. For instance, consider a society that hasn’t made any technological advancements for the past several centuries. Like some societies in Africa, or the Middle East. They tend to be war-torn countries, either due to infighting, or from foreign invasion by societies that have a technological edge. In the case of the Fremen, they fight using an old (but effective) style in the wilderness, and make slow progress towards making the wilderness more friendly towards human life. That progress provides them a goal to unite them. But what then? What happens if they achieve it? Sure it becomes more habitable to humans, but that invites more humans from all over to go to these lands.

As in Lord of the Flies, if there’s no progress being made towards a better future, we witness ourselves returning to a savage tribal nature. Because at our core, we are savages. We would tear each other apart if there wasn’t something out there that would cause us to unite against, whether it be an enemy, or a goal, something to strive towards defeating or achieving.

Regarding progress and technological advancements, technology is usually made to make life easier or more amusing. For instance, the Internet certainly makes things much easier with access to information and online stores, and means of instant communication with someone who isn’t physically in front of you (unless they’re one of those assholes who calls you on their cell phone when they’re only one room away from you). But the other side to that coin is that it also allows the terror to arrive in another form. With the Internet, it is easier for individuals to steal your identity, to track you down, to mess with your bank account, to threaten your family, etc. There is always a downside to progress, but there’s usually an upside as well. In the world of this novel, there was the rise and fall of artificial intelligence.

In any case, progress allows a distraction from the core issue that “us” as human beings have yet to overcome. The fear of each other, the terrors that we can inflict upon one another. A fear and paranoia that has grown with access to all this information online. A fear based primarily on, “What he/she can do” vs. “What he/she is going to do.” A fear based in pessimism. I’m a pessimist, but even I have some faith in humanity. At the same time, I’m cautious of others who I don’t know.

Page 533:

“I ah-h-h am filled with um-m-m only with a hm-m-m sense of anticipation, yes,” the Count said. “Always in the ah-h-h proces verbal, one um-m-m ah-h-h must consider the ah-h-h office of origin.”

The Baron did his sudden stiffening of surprise by stumbling on the first step down from the exit. Proces verbal! That was a report of a crime against the Imperium!

Proces verbal. According to the terminology: a semiformal report alleging a crime against the Imperium. Legally: an action falling between a loose verbal allegation and a formal charge of crime.

I’m not clear as to the meaning behind all this, what just transpired between the Baron and Fenring. I’m guessing that either Fenring or someone else reported a crime the Harkonnen’s committed (likely with what they did on Arrakis), and Fenring is toying with the Baron about it. I’m not sure.

Page 563:

Still she hesitated, staring at him.

“What is it?” he demanded.

“You’ve not the eyes of the Ibad,” she said. “It’s strange but not entirely unattractive.”

“Get the food,” he said. “I’m hungry.”

She smiled at him–a knowing, woman’s smile that he found disquieting. “I am your servant,” she said, and whirled away in one lithe motion, ducking behind a heavy wall hanging that revealed another passage before falling back into place.

I guess Paul isn’t quite ready for the temptations of women, at least not as much as I thought from the last reading section. You can tell she’s flirting with him, teasing him with sex, and attempting to get Paul to put her in a position to where she’s more than just a servant. Granted, it’s likely not going to work, because it’s not what Paul wants. But if he gives into the temptation of seduction, then that’s going to make things very tricky.

Page 578:

Why should a fall of sand from a clifftop stick in the memory? she asked herself.

Jessica doesn’t see/understand the significance of this the way Paul does. She doesn’t see time the way he does, and how any tiny rift in the present affects the future, that even a grain of sand can affect things significantly in the future. Even with her new awareness, as a Reverend Mother, Jessica still doesn’t have Paul’s power.

 

 

I guess the philosophical ramblings are more limited for this session.

 

 

Notes After the Twitch Stream

Hah! So I’m not the only one who was thinking Count Fenring was channeling Jeff Goldblum! With all his “Uhm…Ah uhm uhm huminaahuhm.”

 

 

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