Monday, February 2, 2009

Dune: It's In There

I adore the book Dune. It's pretty much the awesomest book evar.

I adore it because of the way Herbert understood politics. This book should be required reading for all politicos and the people who love them. If you haven't read Dune, you should be made to get the hell out of politics and maybe even civil life.

Why? Because woven in the story is how political groups are relentlessly finding and using leverage–some, like the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, quickly and with gusto, and others, like the Bene Gesserit, looking patiently and biding their time.

It also gives the Diogenean seeker a sense of how power blocs play off each other, simultaneously giving with one hand while trying to slip the the knife in with the other, on how to be enemy and friend at once, and how a toxic environment can sometimes become tenable when the tensions (such as the Imperial House/Spacing Guild/CHOAM tripod) balance.

And, in the hero's quest of Paul Maud'Dib, the power–and the fear–that can result when you add too much religion into your politics (we rooted for the Fremen underdog in the book, but we wouldn't want to live in a Universe where they got swept into power. Talk about the devil you don't know!)

Anyway, Dune. Available at fine used book stores near you. Buy a tattered old copy–it's got all the same words as the new ones.

And read it.

That's your political textbook, Mentat.

I'm conveniced that we will see relevant political lessons throughout Dune. We'll extract them as they become obvious and deconstruct them if we have to.

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