Thursday, May 27, 2010

God Emperor of Dune : Ink Scrawl Nugget 32

Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune, the fourth book in the magnificent Dune Chronicles, is a treasure trove of quotable (and insightful) passages.

Here are a few of my favorites from the novel. I decided to club all of them together rather than put up each one in a separate post.

Free Will or Destiny?
I have come to believe that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will.

Good Vs. Bad Administrators
The difference between a good administrator and a bad one is about five heartbeats. Good administrators make immediate choices ... [that] usually can be made to work. A bad administrator, on the other hand, hesitates, diddles around, asks for committees, for research and reports. Eventually, he acts in ways which create serious problems ... A bad administrator is more concerned with reports than with decisions. He wants the hard record which he can display as an excuse for his errors ... [Good administrators] depend on verbal orders. They never lie about what they've done if their verbal orders cause problems, and they surround themselves with people able to act wisely on the basis of verbal orders. Often, the most important piece of information is that something has gone wrong. Bad administrators hide their mistakes until it's too late to make corrections ... One of the hardest things to find is people who actually make decisions.

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

On Love
"My uncle Malky use to say that love was a bad bargain because you get no guarantees."
"Your uncle Malky was a smart wise man."
"He was stupid! Love needs no guarantees."
[. . . ]
"You know it's love when you want to give joy and damn the consequences."

Building Civilizations
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.

Only Change is Permanent
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, fleeting 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.

On Being a Loner
Did you build high walls around you only to sit within them and indulge in self-pity?

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


Payal said...

Love this one ---> The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?

Also --> One of the hardest things to find is people who actually make decisions.

Dhanuska said...

Truly quotable ones! I luved them all but the one I absolutely understand is the one on Building Civilization. I see it happening every day and a few curious minds being deadened every day.