Dune

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Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

This page includes quotations from all the Dune novels — both those by Frank Herbert and authorized works in the Dune universe written by others.

See also: Dune (film) and Dune (TV miniseries)

Frank Herbert novels[edit]

Dune (1965)[edit]

A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct...
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...
Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn...
Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.
Muad'Dib could indeed see the Future, but you must understand the limits of this power...
Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?
God created Arrakis to train the faithful.
Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now it's complete because it's ended here."

Book 1: Dune[edit]

  • A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.
    • from Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful.
    • Thufir Hawat
  • Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place.
    • Thufir Hawat
  • 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.
    • Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.
  • "You've heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There's an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind."
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, testing Paul Atreides with the Gom Jabbar.
  • Hope clouds observation.
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • "The drug's dangerous," she said, "but it gives insight. When a Truthsayer's gifted by the drug, she can look many places in her memory — in her body's memory. We look down so many avenues of the past . . . but only feminine avenues." Her voice took on a note of sadness. "Yet, there's a place where no Truthsayer can see. We are repelled by it, terrorized. It is said a man will come one day and find in the gift of the drug his inward eye. He will look where we cannot — into both feminine and masculine pasts."
    "Your Kwisatz Haderach?"
    "Yes, the one who can be many places at once: the Kwisatz Haderach. Many men have tried the drug . . . so many, but none has succeeded."
    "They tried and failed, all of them?"
    "Oh, no." She shook her head. "They tried and died."
    • Paul Atreides and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, on the subject of men undergoing the spice trance.
  • To attempt an understanding of Muad'Dib without understanding his mortal enemies, the Harkonnens, is to attempt seeing Truth without knowing Falsehood. It is the attempt to see the Light without knowing Darkness. It cannot be.
    • from Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • You well know the weakness there! Shield your son too much, Jessica, and he'll not grow strong enough to fulfill any destiny.
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • That which submits rules. ... The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows — a wall against the wind. This is the willow's purpose.
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam's hint to Paul regarding the Kwisatz Haderach
  • A world is supported by four things ... the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these are as nothing ... without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!
    • a recollection of Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam by Paul Atreides
  • The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam to Paul Atreides. This statement is derived from one attributed to Søren Kierkegaard.
  • A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
    • The First Law of Mentat, quoted by Paul Atreides to Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • In shield fighting, one moves fast on defense, slow on attack. Attack has the sole purpose of tricking the opponent into a misstep, setting him up for the attack sinister. The shield turns the fast blow, admits the slow kindjal!
    • Gurney Halleck, to Paul Atreides
  • Mood? What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood's a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It's not for fighting.
    • Counsel of Gurney Halleck to young Paul Atreides when he declares he is not in the mood for training.
  • If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.
    • Gurney Halleck
  • Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.
    • Arrakeen villager saying
  • Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?
    • Wanna Yueh's favourite passage from The Orange Catholic Bible
  • "Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!" goes the refrain. "A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!"
    • from A Child's History of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad'Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.
    • from The Humanity of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.
    • from Muad'Dib: Family Commentaries by the Princess Irulan
  • O you who know what we suffer here, do not forget us in your prayers.
    • from Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Let us not rail about justice as long as we have arms and the freedom to use them.
    • Duke Leto Atreides
  • I must rule with eye and claw — as the hawk among lesser birds.
    • Duke Leto Atreides
  • There is probably no more terrible instance of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man — with human flesh.
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • He shall know your ways as if born to them.
    • Liet-Kynes recalling the words of the prophecy of the Mahdi upon seeing Paul put on a Fremen suit without instruction.
  • Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.
    • Fremen saying, recited by Liet-Kynes, in the presence of Paul Atreides.
  • When God hath ordained a creature to die in a particular place, He causeth that creature's wants to direct him to that place.
    • Liet-Kynes, quoting the Orange Catholic Bible
  • Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never persistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • There is no escape — we pay for the violence of our ancestors.
    • Paul Muad'Dib
  • Is it defeatist or treacherous for a doctor to diagnose a disease correctly? My only intention is to cure the disease.
    • Lady Jessica
  • Anything outside yourself, this you can see and apply your logic to it. But it’s a human trait that when we encounter personal problems, these things most deeply personal are the most difficult to bring out for our logic to scan. We tend to flounder around, blaming everything but the actual, deep-seated thing that’s really chewing on us.
    • Jessica speaking to Thufir Hawat
  • Do you wrestle with dreams?
    Do you contend with shadows?
    Do you move in a kind of sleep?
    Time has slipped away.
    Your life is stolen.
    You tarried with trifles.
    Victim of your folly.
    • Dirge for Jamis on the Funeral Plain, from Songs of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan.
  • There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • One thought remained to him. Leto saw it in formless light on rays of black: The day the flesh shapes and the flesh the day shapes. The thought struck him with a sense of fullness he knew he could never explain.
  • Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.
    • Fremen proverb

Book 2: Muad'Dib[edit]

  • My father once told me that respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. "Something cannot emerge from nothing," he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be.
    • from Conversations with Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Muad'Dib could indeed see the Future, but you must understand the limits of this power. Think of sight. You have eyes, yet cannot see without light. If you are on the floor of a valley, you cannot see beyond your valley. Just so, Muad'Dib could not always choose to look across the mysterious terrain. He tells us that a single obscure decision of prophecy, perhaps the choice of one word over another, could change the entire aspect of the future. He tells us "The vision of time is broad, but when you pass through it, time becomes a narrow door." And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning "That path leads ever down into stagnation."
    • from Arrakis Awakening by the Princess Irulan
  • What do you despise? By this you are truly known.
    • from Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan.
  • There existed no need on Caladan to build a physical paradise or a paradise of the mind — we could see the actuality all around us. And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life — we went soft, we lost our edge.
    • from "Muad’Dib: Conversations" by the Princess Irulan
  • A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but a fools wrath is heavier than them both.
    • Esmar Tuek, recited by Staban Tuek to Gurney Halleck
  • Cool your sorrow—we’ve the diversions for it; three things there are that ease the heart—water, green grass, and the beauty of woman.
    • Staban Tuek to Gurney Halleck
  • The mind can go either direction under stress- toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.
    • Bene Gesserit axiom
  • The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences.
    • Pardot Kynes (voice heard by his son during a dying hallucination)
  • We are generalists. You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems. Planetology is a cut-and-fit science.
    • Pardot Kynes
  • Science is made up of so many things that appear obvious after they are explained.
    • Pardot Kynes
  • No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.
    • Pardot Kynes
  • Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.
    • The last thought of Liet Kynes before he died
  • Prophecy and prescience — How can they be put to the test in the face of the unanswered questions? Consider: How much is actual prediction of the "wave form" (as Muad'Dib referred to his vision-image) and how much is the prophet shaping the future to fit the prophecy? What of the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy? Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?
    • Private Reflections on Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • To save one from a mistake is a gift of paradise.
    • Stilgar to Jessica
  • The Fremen were supreme in that quality the ancients called "spannungsbogen" — which is the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of reaching out to grasp that thing.
    • from The Wisdom of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • The vision made him want to freeze into immobility, but this, too, was action with its consequences.
    • Said of Paul Muad'Dib
  • My mother obeyed her Sister Superiors where the Lady Jessica disobeyed. Which of them was the stronger? History already has answered.
    • In My Father's House by the Princess Irulan
  • May thy knife chip and shatter.
    • Fremen saying of ill will against an adversary; Jamis to Paul before their duel
  • God created Arrakis to train the faithful.
    • from The Wisdom of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Anger is one thing, violence another.
    • Count Fenring to Baron Harkonnen
  • It's easier to be terrified by an enemy you admire.
    • Thufir Hawat to Feyd-Rautha
  • To accept a little death is worse than death itself.
    • Chani to Jessica (in giving her plenty of the Water of Life as she took on the challenge to enter Reverend Motherhood)
  • Things persisted in not being what they seemed.
    • reflection of Paul on limitations of awareness, as he worries about ritual intake of changed Water of Life
  • You cannot back into the future.
    • Usul/Paul-Muad'Dib (to a shaking Chani, as they shared prescient consciousness due to the changed Water of Life)

Book 3: The Prophet[edit]

  • Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
    • from The Sayings of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe. It has symmetry, elegance, and grace - those qualities you find always in that which the true artist captures. You can find it in the turning of the seasons, in the way sand trails along a ridge, in the branch clusters of the creosote bush or the pattern of its leaves. We try to copy these patterns in our lives and our society, seeking the rhythms, the dances, the forms that comfort. Yet, it is possible to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection. It is clear that the ultimate pattern contains it own fixity. In such perfection, all things move toward death.
    • from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movement becomes headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thought of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.
    • Bene Gesserit proverb
  • "Control the coinage and the courts — let the rabble have the rest." Thus the Padishah Emperor advises you. And he tells you; "If you want profits, you must rule." There is truth in these words, but I ask myself: "Who are the rabble and who are the ruled?"
    • Muad'Dib's Secret Message to the Landsraad from Arrakis Awakening by the Princess Irulan
He was warrior and mystic, ogre and saint, the fox and the innocent, chivalrous, ruthless, less than a god, more than a man. There is no measuring Muad'Dib's motives by ordinary standards.
You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems. Planetology is a cut-and-fit science.
The highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.
All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax...
What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?
Symbols endure when their meaning is lost ... there is no summa of all attainable knowledge.
The eye that looks ahead to the safe course is closed forever.
Try looking into that place where you dare not look! You'll find me there, staring out at you!
  • You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.
    • from "Muad'Dib: The Religious Issues" by the Princess Irulan
  • When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual.
    • from Muad'Dib: The Ninety-nine Wonders of The Universe by the Princess Irulan
  • How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.
    • The Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • One of the most terrible moments in a boy's life ... is when he discovers his father and mother are human beings who share a love that he can never quite taste. It's a loss, an awakening to the fact that the world is there and here and we are in it alone. The moment carries its own truth; you can't evade it.
    • Paul to Jessica
  • There is in each of us an ancient force that takes and an ancient force that gives. A man finds little difficulty facing that place within himself where the taking force dwells, but it’s almost impossible for him to see into the giving force without changing into something other than man. For a woman, the situation is reversed. ... These things are so ancient within us that they're ground into each separate cell of our bodies. We're shaped by such forces. You can say to yourself, 'Yes, I see how such a thing may be.' But when you look inward and confront the raw force of your own life unshielded, you see your peril. You see that this could overwhelm you. The greatest peril to the Giver is the force that takes. The greatest peril to the Taker is the force that gives. It's as easy to be overwhelmed by giving as by taking. (And you, my son, are you one who gives or one who takes? I'm the fulcrum. I cannot give without taking and I cannot take without...)
    • Paul speaking to Jessica
  • He was warrior and mystic, ogre and saint, the fox and the innocent, chivalrous, ruthless, less than a god, more than a man. There is no measuring Muad'Dib's motives by ordinary standards. In the moment of his triumph, he saw the death prepared for him, yet he accepted the treachery. Can you say he did this out of a sense of justice? Whose justice, then? Remember, we speak now of the Muad'Dib who ordered battle drums made from his enemies' skins, the Muad'Dib who denied the conventions of his ducal past with a wave of the hand, saying merely: "I am the Kwisatz Haderach. That is reason enough."
    • from Arrakis Awakening by the Princess Irulan
  • The Guild navigators, gifted with limited prescience, had made the fatal decision: they’d chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward into stagnation.
  • It occurred to Paul then that he had seen his own dead body along countless reaches of the time web, but never once had he seen his moment of death.
  • The eye that looks ahead to the safe course is closed forever.
    • Paul-Muad'Dib to the Guild navigators, at his confrontation with the Emperor Shaddam IV.
  • The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it.
    • Paul-Muad'Dib to the Guild navigators, at his confrontation with the Emperor Shaddam IV.
  • Try looking into that place where you dare not look! You'll find me there, staring out at you!
    • Paul-Muad'Dib to Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
  • Expect only what happens in the fight. That way you'll never be surprised.
    • recollected from Duncan Idaho, the Swordsmaster of the Ginaz, by Paul

Appendices[edit]

  • Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who so survive.
    • Pardot Kynes in "Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune"
  • Life — all life — is in the service of life
    • Pardot Kynes in "Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune"
  • The thing the ecologically illiterate don’t realize about an ecosystem is that it’s a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained might miss that collapse until it was too late. That’s why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.
    • Pardot Kynes in "Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune"
  • Men, finding no answers to the sunnan [the ten thousand religious questions from the Shari-ah] now apply their own reasoning. All men seek to be enlightened. Religion is but the most ancient and honorable way in which men have striven to make sense out of God's universe. Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness.
    • The C.E.T. (Commission of Ecumenical Translators) Liturgical Manual opening statements, in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"
  • Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.
    • Conclusion of the "Commentaries" in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"
  • It was a time of sorceresses whose powers were real. The measure of them is seen in the fact they never boasted how they grasped the firebrand.
    • "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"
  • “We shouldn’t have tried to create new symbols,” he said. We should’ve realized we weren’t supposed to introduce uncertainties into accepted belief, that we weren’t supposed to stir up curiosity about God. We are daily confronted by the terrifying instability of all things human, yet we permit our religions to grow more rigid and controlled, more conforming and oppressive. What is this shadow across the highway of Divine Command? It is a warning that institutions endure, that symbols endure when their meaning is lost, that there is no summa of all attainable knowledge.
    • "Admission" of C.E.T. Chairman Toure Bomoko, in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"
  • Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, "I am not the kind of person I want to be." It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.
    • Last words of Toure Bomoko, in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"
  • When law and religious duty are one, your selfdom encloses the Universe.
    • The "Commentaries" in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"

Dune Messiah (1969)[edit]

Such a rich store of myths enfolds Paul Muad'dib, the Mentat Emperor, and his sister, Alia, it is difficult to see the real persons behind these veils...
There always come interludes of lonely power when the course of humankind, depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.
Let Muad'dib's subjects doubt his majesty and his oracular visions. Let them deny his powers. Let them never doubt Eternity.
You do not take from this universe. It grants you what it will.
  • Such a rich store of myths enfolds Paul Muad'dib, the Mentat Emperor, and his sister, Alia, it is difficult to see the real persons behind these veils. But there were, after all, a man born Paul Atreides and a woman born Alia. Their flesh was subject to space and time. And even though their oracular powers placed them beyond the usual limits of time and space, they came from human stock. They experienced real events which left real traces upon a real universe. To understand them, it must be seen that their catastrophe was the catastrophe of all mankind. This work is dedicated, then, not to Muad'dib or his sister, but to their heirs — to all of us.
    • Dedication in the Muad'dib Concordance as copied from The Tabla Memorium of the Mahdi Spirit Cult
  • Every civilization must contend with an unconscious force which can block, betray or countermand almost any conscious intention of the collectivity.
    • Tleilaxu Theorem (unproven)
  • No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society nor the complexity of the machine/human interface, there always come interludes of lonely power when the course of humankind, depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.
    • from The Tleilaxu Godbuk
  • The convoluted wording of legalisms grew up around the necessity to hide from ourselves the violence we intend toward each other. Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: "I feed on your energy."
    • Addenda to Orders in Council The Emperor Paul Muad'dib
  • The sequential nature of actual events is not illuminated with lengthy precision by the powers of prescience except under the most extraordinary circumstances. The oracle grasps incidents cut out of the historic chain. Eternity moves. It inflicts itself upon the oracle and the supplicant alike. Let Muad'dib's subjects doubt his majesty and his oracular visions. Let them deny his powers. Let them never doubt Eternity.
    • The Dune Gospels
  • Do not be trapped by the need to achieve anything. This way, you achieve everything.
    • Hayt, the ghola
  • There exists a limit to the force even the most powerful may apply without destroying themselves. Judging this limit is the true artistry of government. Misuse of power is the fatal sin. The law cannot be a tool of vengeance, never a hostage, nor a fortification against the martyrs it has created. You cannot threaten any individual and escape the consequences.
    • Muad'Dib on Law The Stilgar Commentary
  • He is the fool saint,
    The golden stranger living forever
    On the edge of reason.

    Let your guard fall and he is there!
    • The Ghola's Hymn
  • If you need something to worship, then worship life — all life, every last crawling bit of it! We're all in this beauty together!
    • Paul Muad'Dib Atreides
  • The flesh surrenders itself, he thought. Eternity takes back its own. Our bodies stirred these waters briefly, danced with a certain intoxication before the love of life and self, dealt with a few strange ideas, then submitted to the instruments of Time. What can we say of this? I occurred. I am not . . . yet, I occurred.
    • Paul Muad'Dib Atreides
  • Here lies a toppled god —
    His fall was not a small one.
    We did but build his pedestal,
    A narrow and a tall one.
    • Tleilaxu Epigram
  • I have said: "Blow out the lamp! Day is here!" And you keep saying: "Give me a lamp so I can find the day."
    • Bijaz to Hayt
  • What is more ridiculous than a Death Commando transformed into a priest?
    • Paul Muad-Dib
  • Four things cannot be hidden — love, smoke, a pillar of fire and a man striding across the open bled.
    • Hayt
  • Often I must speak other than I think. That is called diplomacy.
    • Stilgar
  • Power tends to isolate those who hold too much of it. Eventually, they lose touch with reality... and fall.
    • Edric
  • The greatest palatinate earl and the lowliest stipendiary serf share the same problem. You cannot hire a mentat or any other intellect to solve it for you. There's no writ of inquest or calling of witnesses to provide answers. No servant — or disciple — can dress the wound. You dress it yourself or continue bleeding for all to see.
    • Hayt, the ghola
  • What is justice? Two forces collide. Each may have the right in his own sphere. And here's where an Emperor commands orderly solutions. Those collisions he cannot prevent — he solves. [How?], in the simplest way: he decides.
    • Hayt, the ghola
  • You do not take from this universe. It grants you what it will.
    • Paul Muad'dib
  • When a creature has developed into one thing, he will choose death rather than change into his opposite.
    • Scytale
  • Was it defeat to choose a lesser evil?
    • Paul Muad'dib
  • What senses do we lack that we cannot see another world all around us?
    • Orange Catholic Bible
  • Any delusions of Free Will he harbored now must be merely the prisoner rattling his cage. His curse lay in the fact that he saw the cage. He saw it!
    • Narration
  • Ahh, but the dice cannot read their own spots.
    • Bijaz
  • There was a man so wise
    He jumped into
    A sandy place
    And burnt out both his eyes!
    And when he knew his eyes were gone,
    He offered no complaint.
    He summoned up a vision
    And made himself a saint.
    • Children's verse from History of Muad'dib
  • What? Deny my own oracle? How can I when I've seen it fulfilled thousands of times? People call it a power, a gift. It's an affliction! It won't let me leave my life where I found it!
    • Paul Muad'dib
  • There are problems in this universe for which there are no answers. Nothing. Nothing can be done.
    • Paul Muad'dib
  • He will not be found, yet all men will find him.
    • Stilgar, about Muad'dib
  • "'...What little information we have about the old times, the pittance of data which the Butlerians left us, Korba has brought it for you. Start with the Genghis Khan.' 'Ghenghis . . . Khan? Was he of the Sardaukar, m'Lord?' 'Oh, long before that. He killed . . . perhaps four million.' 'He must've had formidable weaponry to kill that many, Sire. Lasbeams, perhaps, or . . .' 'He didn't kill them himself, Stil. He killed the way I kill, by sending out his legions. There's another emperor I want you to note in passing--a Hitler. He killed more than six million. Pretty good for those days.' 'Killed . . . by his legions?' Stilgar asked. 'Yes.' 'Not very impressive statistics, m'Lord.' "
  • “’Sacred! As with all things sacred, it gives with one hand and takes with the other.’”
    • Excerpts from the Death Interview with Bronso of IX
  • “’I was brought to this cell by your Priests. As with all Priests, you learned early to call the truth heresy.’”
    • Excerpts from the Death Interview with Bronso of IX
  • “’Cynicism! That, no doubt is a greater crime than heresy.’”
    • Excerpts from the Death Interview with Bronso of IX
  • “’Reason is the first victim of strong emotion.’”
    • Scytale
  • “’Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.’”
    • Scytale
  • “To come under siege was the inevitable fate of power.”
  • “’What religion and self-interest cannot hide, governments can.’”
    • Edric
  • “’Rulers are notoriously cynical where religions are concerned. Religion, too, is a weapon. What manner of weapon is religion when it becomes the government?’”
    • Edric
  • “’An offer is only as good as the real thing it buys.’”
    • Hayt
  • “’We must not grieve for those dear to us before their passing.’ ‘Before their passing. Tell me, little sister, what is before?’”
    • Alia and Paul Muad'Dib
  • “’Don’t fear me. Forget mystery and accept love. There’s no mystery about love. It comes from life. Can’t you feel that?’”
    • Paul Muad'Dib
  • “’Government cannot be religious and self-assertive at the same time. Religious experience needs a spontaneity which laws inevitably suppress. And you cannot govern without laws. Your laws eventually must replace morality, replace conscience, replace even the religion by which you think to govern. Sacred ritual must spring from praise and holy yearnings which hammer out a significant morality. Government, on the other hand, is a cultural organism particularly attractive to doubts, questions and contentions. I see the day coming when ceremony must take the place of faith and symbolism replaces morality.’”
    • Lady Jessica


Children of Dune (1976)[edit]

Muad'Dib's teachings have become the playground of scholastics, of the superstitious and the corrupt. He taught a balanced way of life, a philosophy with which a human can meet problems arising from an ever-changing universe.
Transient life, even the self-aware and reasoning life which we call sentient, holds only fragile trusteeship on any portion of the wholeness.
Muad'Dib set himself the task of integrating genetic memory into ongoing evaluation. Thus did he break through Time's veils...
Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past. Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity.
I will not argue with the Fremen claims that they are divinely inspired to transmit a religious revelation...
This is the fallacy of power: ultimately it is effective only in an absolute, a limited universe. But the basic lesson of our relativistic universe is that things change. Any power must always meet a greater power.
We can still remember the golden days before Heisenberg, who showed humans the walls enclosing our predestined arguments.
You will learn the integrated communication methods as you complete the next step in your mental education.
There is no guilt or innocence in you. All of that is past. Guilt belabors the dead and I am not the Iron Hammer.
The future of prescience cannot always be locked into the rules of the past. The threads of existence tangle according to many unknown laws.
God's command comes; so seek not to hasten it. God's it is to show the way; and some do swerve from it.
Some actions have an end but no beginning; some begin but do not end. It all depends upon where the observer is standing.
  • Muad'Dib's teachings have become the playground of scholastics, of the superstitious and the corrupt. He taught a balanced way of life, a philosophy with which a human can meet problems arising from an ever-changing universe. He said humankind is still evolving, in a process which will never end. He said this evolution moves on changing principles which are known only to eternity. How can corrupted reasoning play with such an essence?
    • Words of the Mentat Duncan Idaho
  • I give you the desert chameleon, whose ability to blend itself into the background tells you all you need to know about the roots of ecology and the foundations of a personal identity.
    • Book of Diatribes from the Hayt Chronicles
  • The Universe is God's. It is one thing, a wholeness against which all separations may be identified. Transient life, even the self-aware and reasoning life which we call sentient, holds only fragile trusteeship on any portion of the wholeness.
    • Commentaries from the C.E.T. (Commission of Ecumenical Translators)
  • Either we abandon the long-honored Theory of Relativity, or we cease to believe that we can engage in continued accurate prediction of the future. Indeed, knowing the future raises a host of questions which cannot be answered under conventional assumptions unless one first projects an Observer outside of Time and, second, nullifies all movement. If you accept the Theory of Relativity, it can be shown that Time and the Observer must stand still in relationship to each or inaccuracies will intervene. This would seem to say that it is impossible to engage in accurate prediction of the future. How, then, do we explain the continued seeking after this visionary goal by respected scientists? How, then, do we explain Muad'Dib?
    • Lectures on Prescience by Harq al-Ada
  • I hear the wind blowing across the desert and I see the moons of a winter night rising like great ships in the void. To them I make my vow: I will be resolute and make an art of government; I will balance my inherited past and become a perfect storehouse of my relic memories. And I will be known for kindliness more than for knowledge. My face will shine down the corridors of time for as long as humans exist.
    • Leto's Vow After Harq al-Ada
  • This was Muad'Dib's achievement: He saw the subliminal reservoir of each individual as an unconscious bank of memories going back to the primal cell of our common genesis. Each of us, he said, can measure out his distance from that common origin. Seeing this and telling of it, he made the audacious leap of decision. Muad'Dib set himself the task of integrating genetic memory into ongoing evaluation. Thus did he break through Time's veils, making a single thing of the future and the past. That was Muad'Dib's creation embodied in his son and his daughter.
    • Testament of Arrakis by Harq al-Ada
  • Atrocity is recognized as such by victim and predator alike, by all who learn about it at whatever remove. Atrocity has no excuses, no mitigating argument. Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past. Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity. It is self-perpetuating upon itself — a barbarous form of incest. Whoever commits atrocity also commits those future atrocities thus bred.
    • The Apocrypha of Muad'Dib
  • I will not argue with the Fremen claims that they are divinely inspired to transmit a religious revelation. It is their concurrent claim to ideological revelation which inspires me to shower them with derision. Of course, they make the dual claim in the hope that it will strengthen their mandarinate and help them to endure in a universe which finds them increasingly oppressive. It is in the name of all those oppressed people that I warn the Fremen: short-term expediency always fails in the long-term.
    • The Preacher at Arrakeen
  • The life of a single human, as the life of a family or an entire people, persists as memory. My people must come to see this as part of their maturing process. They are people as organism, and in this persistent memory they store more and more experiences in a subliminal reservoir. Humankind hopes to call upon this material if it is needed for a changing universe. But much that is stored can be lost in that chance play of accident which we call "fate." Much may not be integrated into evolutionary relationships, and thus many may not be evaluated and keyed into activity by those ongoing environmental changes which inflict themselves upon flesh. The species can forget! This is the special value of the Kwisatz Haderach which the Bene Gesserits never suspected: the Kwisatz Haderach cannot forget.
    • The Book of Leto After Harq al-Ada
  • Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.
    • Law and Governance The Spacing Guild Manual
  • This is the fallacy of power: ultimately it is effective only in an absolute, a limited universe. But the basic lesson of our relativistic universe is that things change. Any power must always meet a greater power. Paul Muad'Dib taught this lesson to the Sardaukar on the Plains of Arrakeen. His descendants have yet to learn the lesson for themselves.
    • The Preacher at Arrakeen
  • Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
    • Politics as Repeat Phenomenon: Bene Gesserit Training Manual
  • Above all else, the mentat must be a generalist, not a specialist. It is wise to have decisions of great moment monitored by generalists. Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma. The mentat-generalist, on the other hand, should bring to decision-making a healthy common sense. He must not cut himself off from the broad sweep of what is happening in his universe. He must remain capable of saying: "There's no real mystery about this at the moment. This is what we want now. It may prove wrong later, but we'll correct that when we come to it." The mentat-generalist must understand that anything which we can identify as our universe is merely a part of larger phenomena. But the expert looks backward; he looks into the narrow standards of his own specialty. The generalist looks outward; he looks for living principles, knowing full well that such principles change, that they develop. It is to the characteristics of change itself that the mentat-generalist must look. There can be no permanent catalogue of such change, no handbook or manual. You must look at it with as few preconceptions as possible, asking yourself: "Now what is this thing doing?"
    • The Mentat Handbook
  • We can still remember the golden days before Heisenberg, who showed humans the walls enclosing our predestined arguments. The lives within me find this amusing. Knowledge, you see, has no uses without purpose, but purpose is what builds enclosing walls.
    • Leto Atreides II, His Voice
  • If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.
    • The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
  • Because of the one-pointed Time awareness in which the conventional mind remains immersed, humans tend to think of everything in a sequential, word-oriented framework. This mental trap produces very short-term concepts of effectiveness and consequences, a condition of constant, unplanned response to crises.
    • Liet-Kynes The Arrakis Workbook
  • You will learn the integrated communication methods as you complete the next step in your mental education. This is a gestalten function which will overlay data paths in your awareness, resolving complexities and masses of input from the mentat index-catalogue techniques which you have already mastered. Your initial problem will be the breaking tensions arising from the divergent assembly of minutiae/data on specialized subjects. Be warned. Without mentat overlay integration, you can be immersed in the Babel Problem, which is the label we give to the omnipresent dangers of achieving wrong combinations from accurate information.
    • The Mentat Handbook
  • There is no guilt or innocence in you. All of that is past. Guilt belabors the dead and I am not the Iron Hammer. You multitude of the dead are merely people who have done certain things, and the memory of those things illuminates my path.
    • Leto II to His Memory-Lives After Harq al-Ada
  • Peace demands solutions, but we never reach living solutions; we only work toward them. A fixed solution is, by definition, a dead solution. The trouble with peace is that it tends to punish mistakes instead of rewarding brilliance.
    • The Words of My Father: an account of Muad'Dib reconstructed by Harq al-Ada
  • The future of prescience cannot always be locked into the rules of the past. The threads of existence tangle according to many unknown laws. Prescient future insists on its own rules. It will not conform to the ordering of the Zensunni nor to the ordering of science. Prescience builds a relative integrity. It demands the work of this instant, always warning that you cannot weave every thread into the fabric of the past.
    • Kalima: The Words of Muad'Dib The Shuloch Commentary
  • The spirit of Muad'Dib is more than words, more than the letter of the Law that arises from his name. Muad'Dib must always be that inner outrage against the complacently powerful, against the charlatans and the dogmatic fanatics. It is that inner outrage that must have its say because Muad'Dib taught us one thing above all others: that humans can endure only in a fraternity of social justice.
    • The Fedaykin Compact
  • All Planetologists see life as expressions of energy and look for the overriding relationships. In small pieces, bits and parcels which grow into general understanding, the Fremen racial wisdom is translated into a new certainty. The thing Fremen have as a people, any people can have. They need but develop a sense for energy relationships. They need but observe that energy soaks up the patterns of things and builds with those patterns.
    • The Arrakeen Catastrophe After Harq al-Ada
  • Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is "Thou shall not question!" But we question. We break that commandment as a matter of course. The work to which we have set ourselves is the liberating of the imagination, the harnessing of imagination to humankind's deepest sense of creativity.
    • The Sisterhood's Credo
  • Any path that narrows future possibilities may become a lethal trap. Humans are not threading their way through a maze; they scan a vast horizon filled with unique opportunities. The narrowing viewpoint of the maze should appeal only to creatures with their noses buried in the sand.
    • The Spacing Guild Handbook
  • Muad'Dib was disinherited and he spoke for the disinherited of all time. He cried out against that profound injustice that alienates the individual from that which he was taught to believe, from that which seems to come to him as a right.
    • The Mahdinate, An Analysis by Harq al-Ada
  • Church and State, scientific reason and faith, the individual and his community, even progress and tradition — all of these can be reconciled in the teachings of Muad'Dib. He taught us that there exists no intransigent opposites except in the beliefs of men. Anyone can rip aside the veil of Time. You can discover the future in the past or in your own imagination. Doing this, you win back your consciousness in your inner being. You know then that the universe is a coherent whole and you are indivisible from it.
    • The Preacher at Arrakeen After Harq al-Ada
  • Is your religion real when it costs you nothing and carries no risk? Is your religion real when you fatten upon it? Is your religion real when you commit atrocities in its name? Whence comes your downward degeneration from the original revelation?
    • Paul Atreides
  • What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce ... Men must want to do things of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organisations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work, every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you overorganize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses.
    • A letter to CHOAM Attributed to The Preacher
  • When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.
    • Words of an ancient philosopher (Attributed by Harq al-Ada to one Louis Veuillot)
  • God's command comes; so seek not to hasten it. God's it is to show the way; and some do swerve from it.
    • Stilgar
  • Some actions have an end but no beginning; some begin but do not end. It all depends upon where the observer is standing.
    • Leto
  • Not knowing what you said, you said it.
    • Leto, to Stilgar
  • It is said of Muad'dib that once when he saw a weed trying to grow between two rocks, he moved one of the rocks. Later, when the weed was seen to be flourishing, he covered it with the remaining rock. "That was its fate," he explained.
    • The Commentaries
  • "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid. I don't find it strange that all you want to believe is only that which comforts you. How else do humans invent the traps which betray us into mediocrity? How else do we define cowardice?"
    • The Preacher, quoting Muad'dib
  • The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the wolf within your fences. The packs ranging outside may not even exist.
    • The Azhar Book; Shamra I:4
  • Travail and persecution are the lot of all who follow me.
    • Duncan Idaho, quoting Paul Atreides
  • To stay awake all night adds a day to your life.
    • Stilgar
  • It is said that the only fear we cannot correct is the fear of our own mistakes.
    • Stilgar
  • Often there's no need to tear off an arm to remove a splinter.
    • Stilgar
  • The body of Muad'dib is a dry shell like that abandoned by an insect. He mastered the inner world while holding the outer in contempt, and this led to catastrophe. He mastered the outer world while excluding the inner world, and this delivered his decendants to the demons. The Golden Elixer will vanish from Dune, yet Muad'dib's seed goes on, and his water moves our universe.
    • Leto
  • One of us had to accept the agony, and he was always the stronger.
    • Ghanima, about Leto
  • We've lost something vital, I tell you. When we lost it, we lost the ability to make good decisions. We fall upon decisions these days the way we fall upon an enemy — or wait and wait, which is a form of giving up, and we allow the decisions of others to move us. Have we forgotten that we were the ones who set this current flowing?
    • Irulan to Alia
  • All proofs inevitably lead to propositions which have no proof! All things are known because we want to believe in them.
    • The Lady Jessica, to Bene Gesserit delegation (from their manuals)
  • She noted that town Fremen were watching the pilgrim dancers below her, their eyes intense and unwavering. A basic sexual equality had come out of the desert to persist in Fremen town and city, but social differences between male and female already were making themselves felt. That, too, went according to plan. Divide and weaken. Alia could sense the subtle change in the way the two Freman watched those off-planet women and their exotic dance. Let them watch. Let them fill their minds with ghafla.
    • Alia
  • Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?
    • Leto II, to Stilgar
  • He had achieved harmony simply by accepting it.
    • narration, regarding Gurney Halleck

God Emperor of Dune (1981)[edit]

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

The sand beach as gray as a dead cheek,
A green tideflow reflects cloud ripples;
I stand on the dark wet edge.
Cold foam cleanses my toes.
I smell driftwood smoke.
Words I wrote when told of Ghani's death.

  • You should never be in the company of anyone with whom you would not want to die.
    • Duncan Idaho recites an ancient Fremen saying
  • Let me but imagine a topic — say... men who have died by the sword— and I have them in all of their gore, every image intact, every moan, every grimace. Joys of motherhood, I think, and the birthing beds are mine. Serial baby smiles and the sweet cooings of new generations. The first walkings of toddlers and the first victories of youths brought forth for me to share. They tumble one upon another until I can see little else but sameness and repitition. "Keep it all intact," I warn myself. Who can deny the value of such experiences, the worth of the learning through which I view each new instant? Ahhh, but it's the past. Don't you understand? It's only the past!
    • Reading by Rebeth Vreeb from Leto's journals.
  • "An Ixian machine? You defy the Jihad!" "There's a lesson in that, too. What do such machines really do? They increase the number of things we can do without thinking. Things we do without thinking — there's the real danger."
    • Leto and Siona, during her test on the Sareer
  • "My uncle Malky use to say that love was a bad bargain because you get no guarantees."
    "Your uncle Malky was a wise man."
    "He was stupid! Love needs no guarantees."
    • Hwi Noree and Duncan Idaho
  • "You know it's love when you want to give joy and damn the consequences."
    • Hwi Noree
  • I am the most ardent people-watcher who ever lived. I watch them inside me and outside. Past and present can mingle with odd impositions in me. And as the metamorphosis continues in my flesh wonderful things happen to my senses. It's as though I sensed everything close-up. I have extremely acute hearing and vision, plus a sense of smell extraordinarily discriminating. I can detect and identify pheromones at three parts per million. I know. I have tested it. You cannot hide very much from my senses. I think it would horrify you what I can detect by smell alone. Your pheromones tell me what you are doing or are prepared to do. And gesture and posture! I stared for half a day once at an old man sitting on a bench in Arrakeen. He was a fifth-generation descendant of Stilgar the Naib and did not even know it.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • I tell you we are a marvel and my memories leave no doubt of this.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • You, the first person to encounter my chronicles for at least four thousand years, beware. Do not feel honored by your primacy in reading the revelations of my Ixian storehouse. You will find much pain in it. Other than the few glimpses required to assure me that the Golden Path continued, I never wanted to peer beyond those four millennia. Therefore, I am not sure what the events in my journals may signify to your times. I only know that my journals have suffered oblivion and that the events which I recount have undoubtedly been submitted to historical distortion for eons. I assure you that the ability to view our futures can become a bore. Even to be thought of as a god, as I certainly was, can become ultimately boring. 'It has occurred to me more than once that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will.'
    • Inscription on the storehouse at Dar-es-Balat
  • Enemies strengthen you. Allies weaken. I tell you this in the hope that it will help you understand why I act as I do in the full knowledge that great forces accumulate in my Empire with but one wish — the wish to destroy me. You who read these words may know full well what actually happened, but I doubt that you understand it.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • You must remember that I have at my internal demand every expertise known to our history. This is the fund of energy I draw upon when I address the mentality of war. If you have not heard the moaning cries of the wounded and dying, you do not know about war. I have heard those cries in such numbers that they haunt me. I have cried out myself in the aftermath of battle. I have suffered wounds in every epoch-wounds from fist and club and rock, from shell-studded limb and bronze sword, from the mace and the cannon, from arrows and lasguns and the silent smothering of atomic dust, from biological invasions which blacken the tongue and drown the lungs, from the swift gush of flame and the silent working of slow poisons. . . and more I will not recount! I have seen and felt them all. To those who dare ask why I behave as I do, I say: With my memories, I can do nothing else. I am not a coward and once I was human.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • Your Lord knows very well what is in your heart. Your soul suffices this day as a reckoner against you. I need no witnesses. You do not listen to your soul, but instead to your anger and your rage.
    • Lord Leto to a penitent, From the Oral History
  • What is the most profound difference between us, between you and me? You already know it. It's these ancestral memories. Mine come at me in the full glare of awareness. Yours work from your blind side. Some call it instinct or fate. The memories apply their leverages to each of us — on what we think and what we do. You think you are immune to such influences? I am Galileo. I stand here and tell you: "Yet it moves." That which moves can exert its force in ways no mortal power ever before dared stem. I am here to dare this.
    • The Stolen Journals
The trance state of prophecy is like no other visionary experience. It is not a retreat from the raw exposure of the senses (as many trance states) but an immersion in a multitude of new movements.
The realization of what I am occurs in the timeless awareness which does not stimulate nor delude. I create a field without self or center, a field where even death becomes only analogy. I desire no results.
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.
You have square thoughts which resist circles.
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.
The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?
Much depends on what people dream in the secrecy of their hearts. I have always been as concerned with the shaping of dreams as with the shaping of actions.
Power bases are very dangerous because they attract people who are truly insane, people who seek power only for the sake of power.
The defiling of a god is an ancient human tradition. Why should I be an exception?
  • The trance-state of prophecy is like no other visionary experience. It is not a retreat from the raw exposure of the senses (as 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
  • The machine cannot anticipate every problem of importance to humans. It is the difference between serial bits and an unbroken continuum. We have the one; machines are confined to the other.
    • Reverend Mother Anteac, on the difference between automation and conscious intelligence
  • Remember that there exists a certain malevolence about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence by an artificial entity. Despotism and slavery hover at the edges. Many injuries occur and, thus, the need for laws. The law develops its own power structure, creating more wounds and new injustices. Such trauma can be healed by cooperation. The summons to cooperate identifies the healer.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • Let there be no doubt that I am the assemblage of our ancestors, the arena in which they exercise my moments. They are my cells and I am their body. This is the fravashi of which I speak, the soul, the collective unconscious, the source of archetypes, the repository of all trauma and joy. I am the choice of their awakening. My samhadi is their samhadi. Their experiences are mine! Their knowledge distilled is my inheritance. Those billions are my one.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • 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
  • Governments can be useful to the governed only so long as inherent tendencies toward tyranny are restrained.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • The realization of what I am occurs in the timeless awareness which does not stimulate nor delude. I create a field without self or center, a field where even death becomes only analogy. I desire no results. I merely permit this field which has no goals nor desires, no perfections nor even visions of achievements. In that field, omnipresent primal awareness is all. It is the light which pours through the windows of my universe.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • It is all around you — the feudatory, the diocese, the corporation, the platoon, the sports club, the dance troupes, the rebel cell, the planning council, the prayer group… each with its master and servants, its host and parasites. And the swarms of alienating devices (including these very words!) tend eventually to be enlisted in the argument for a return to "those better times." I despair of teaching you other ways. You have square thoughts which resist circles.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • I give you eons of life which slips gently toward death without fuss or stirring, without even asking 'Why?' I show you the false happiness and the shadow-catastrophe called Leto, the God Emperor. Now, will you learn the real happiness?
    • The Stolen Journals
  • I assure you from a God's Olympian perch that government is a shared myth. When the myth dies, the government dies.
    • Leto Atreides II to Moneo
  • The three legs of the agreement-tripod are desire, data and doubt. Accuracy and honesty have nothing to do with it. [...] Desire brings the participants together. Data sets the limits of their dialogue. Doubt frames their questions.
    • Leto Atreides II to Siona
  • The problem of leadership is inevitably: Who will play God?
    • Muad'Dib (From the Oral History)
  • 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.
  • Odd as it may seem, great struggles such as the one you can see emerging from my journals are not always visible to the participants. Much depends on what people dream in the secrecy of their hearts. I have always been as concerned with the shaping of dreams as with the shaping of actions. Between the lines of my journals is the struggle with humankind's view of itself — a sweaty contest on a field where motives from our darkest past can well up out of an unconscious reservoir and become events with which we not only must live but contend. It is the hydra-headed monster which always attacks from your blind side. I pray, therefore, that when you have traversed my portion of the Golden Path you no longer will be innocent children dancing to music you cannot hear.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • The haze of nostalgia covers their days among their sisters, making those days into something different than they were. That's the way today changes history. All contemporaries do not inhabit the same time. The past is always changing, but few realize it.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • Some believe, that you must compromise integrity with a certain amount of dirty work before you can put genius to work. They say the compromise begins when you come out of the sanctus intending to realize your ideals. Moneo says my solution is to stay within the sanctus, sending others to do my dirty work.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • I have created what I intended-a powerful spiritual tension throughout my Empire. Few sense the strength of it. With what energies did I create this condition? I am not that strong. The only power I possess is the control of individual prosperity. That is the sum of all the things I do. Then why do people seek my presence for other reasons? What could lead them to certain death in the futile attempt to reach my presence? Do they want to be saints? Do they think that thus they gain the vision of God?
    • The Stolen Journals
  • 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? The Bene Gesserit have been reasonably secure within the loyal walls of faith for thousands of years. But where has their power gone?
    • The Stolen Journals
  • "Hwi helps me. We had something few experience. We were joined in our strengths rather than in our weaknesses."
    "And look what it got you!"
    "Yes, and pray that you get the same!"
    • Exchange between Leto Atreides II and Siona
  • It was the Fremen custom to treat distant people as hostile until they threw sand into the air. Thrown sand is a profound gesture. It says: `We share the same burden. Sand is our only enemy. This is what we drink. The hand that holds sand holds no weapon.'
    • Leto Atreides II
  • It is difficult to live in the present, pointless to live in the future and impossible to live in the past.
    • Leto Atreides II
  • "My Uncle Malky always said the Lord Leto never responded to prayer. He said the Lord Leto looked on prayer as attempted coercion, a form of violence against the chosen god, telling the immortal what to do: Give me a miracle, God, or I won't believe in you!"
    • Hwi Noree
  • "I am all of God that need be seen. I am the word become a miracle. I am all of my ancestors. Is that not miracle enough? What more could you possibly want? Ask yourself: Where is there a greater miracle?"
    • Leto Atreides II
  • "I sneered at [Lord Leto], too. I threw his own words from the Oral History back at him: 'Give to the greater glory of God!' He laughed at me. He laughed and asked how I could give what already belonged to God?"
    • Moneo
  • Power bases are very dangerous because they attract people who are truly insane, people who seek power only for the sake of power.
    • Leto
  • What am I? The ultimate loner forced to look at what might have been. Every day I look at it...
    • Leto
  • Your original unselfish choice fills you now with selfishness.
    • Leto's Inner Voices
  • Did you build high walls around you only to sit within them and indulge in self-pity?
    • Leto's Inner Voices
  • The sins of this universe would trouble anyone.
    • Leto II's Fish Speaker guard
  • How persistent it is, this demand that our gods be perfect. The Greeks were much more reasonable about such things.
    • Leto
  • The defiling of a god is an ancient human tradition. Why should I be an exception?
    • Leto
  • Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it. If paradoxes bother you, that betrays your deep desire for absolutes. The relativist treats a paradox merely as interesting, perhaps amusing or even, dreadful thought, educational.
    • Leto
  • I never thought it would be easy to serve God. I just didn't think it would be this hard.
    • Hwi Noree
  • As long as there is life, every ending is a beginning. And I would save humankind, even from itself. This is why no death in the perpetuation of humankind can be a complete failure. This is why a birth touches us so deeply. This is why the most tragic death is the death of a youth.
    • Leto Atreides II to Hwi Noree
  • When I was most angry, and he saw himself through my eyes, he said: "How dare you be offended by me?" It was then — that he made me look into the horror... that he had seen. And I was only glad that I did not have to make his descision... that I could content myself with being a follower.
    • Moneo, on his testing
  • 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.
    • The Stolen Journals
  • We are primal elements linking one piece of Time to another. And when we have passed, everything behind us will drop off into no-sound, a place like the no-room of the lxians, yet never again the same as it was before we came.
    • Moneo, shortly before his death

Heretics of Dune (1984)[edit]

The interweaving of the many plot layers I had planned required a degree of concentration I had never before experienced.
It was to be a story exploring the myth of the Messiah...
This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motions all around.
This universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions.
When strangers meet, great allowances should be made for differences of custom and training.
  • When I was writing Dune there was no room in my mind for concerns about the book's success or failure. I was concerned only with the writing. Six years of research had preceded the day I sat down to put the story together, and the interweaving of the many plot layers I had planned required a degree of concentration I had never before experienced.
    It was to be a story exploring the myth of the Messiah.
    It was to produce another view of a human-occupied planet as an energy machine.
    It was to penetrate the interlocked workings of politics and economics.
    It was to be an examination of absolute prediction and its pitfalls.
    It was to have an awareness drug in it and tell what could happen through dependence on such a substance.
    Potable water was to be an analog for oil and for water itself, a substance whose supply diminishes each day.
    It was to be an ecological novel, then, with many overtones, as well as a story about people and their human concerns with human values, and I had to monitor each of these levels at every stage in the book.
    There wasn't room in my head to think about much else.
    • Foreword (April 1984)
  • Looking back on it, I realize I did the right thing instinctively. You don't write for success. That takes part of your attention away from the writing. If you're really doing it, that's all you're doing: writing.
    • Foreword (April 1984)
  • There's an unwritten compact between you and the reader. If someone enters a bookstore and sets down hard earned money (energy) for your book, you owe that person some entertainment and as much more as you can give.
    • Foreword (April 1984)
  • Most discipline is hidden discipline, designed not to liberate but to limit. Do not ask Why? Be cautious with How? Why? leads inexorably to paradox. How? traps you in a universe of cause and effect. Both deny the infinite.
    • The Apocrypha of Arrakis
  • At the quantum level our universe can be seen as an indeterminable place, predictable in a statistical way only when you employ large enough numbers. Between that universe and a relatively predictable one where the passage of a single planet can be timed to a picosecond, other forces come into play. For the in-between universe where we find our daily lives, that which you believe is a dominant force. Your beliefs order the unfolding of daily events. If enough of us believe, a new thing can be made to exist. Belief structure creates a filter through which chaos is sifted into order.
    • Analysis of the Tyrant, the Taraza File: BG Archive
  • Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?
    • A Guide to Trial and Error in Government, Bene Gesserit Archive
  • While you cause a granular universe to persist in your awareness, you are blind to movement. When things change, your absolute universe vanishes, no longer accessible to your self-limiting perceptions. The universe has moved beyond you.
    • First Draft, Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
  • This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motions all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to understanding. You put aside understanding itself. This universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions. It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms may be projected. You have only one awareness here — the screen of the magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos.
    • The Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
  • There was a man who sat each day looking out through a narrow vertical opening where a single board had been removed from a wooden fence. Each day a wild ass of the desert passed outside the fence and across the narrow opening — first the nose, then the head, the forelegs, the long brown back, the hindlegs, and lastly the tail. One day the man leaped to his feet with a light of discovery in his eyes and he shouted for all who could hear him: "It is obvious! The nose causes the tail!"
    • Stories of the Hidden Wisdom from the Oral History of Rakis
  • Technology, in common with many other activities, tends toward avoidance of risks by investors. Uncertainty is ruled out if possible. Capital investment follows this rule, since people generally prefer the predictable. Few recognize how destructive this can be, how it imposes severe limits on variability and thus makes whole populations fatally vulnerable to the shocking ways our universe can throw the dice.
    • Assessment of Ix, Bene Gesserit Archives
  • In my estimation, more misery has been created by reformers than by any other force in human history. Show me someone who says, "Something must be done!" and I will show you a head full of vicious intentions that have no other outlet. What we must strive for always! is to find the natural flow and go with it.
    • The Reverend Mother Taraza, Conversational Record, BG File GSXXMAAT9
  • When strangers meet, great allowances should be made for differences of custom and training.
    • The Lady Jessica from Wisdom of Arrakis
  • We are not looking at a new state of matter but at a newly recognized relationship between consciousness and matter, which provides a more penetrating insight into the workings of prescience. The oracle shapes a projected inner universe to produce new external probabilities out of forces that are not understood. There is no need to understand these forces before using them to shape the physical universe. Ancient metal workers had no need to understand the molecular and submolecular complexities of their steel, bronze, copper, gold, and tin. They invented mystical powers to describe the unknown while they continued to operate their forges and wield their hammers.
    • Mother Superior Taraza Argument in Council
  • Some people never observe anything. Life just happens to them. They get by on little more than a kind of dumb persistence, and they resist with anger and resentment anything that might lift them out of that false serenity.
    • Mother Superior Taraza
  • You could drag humankind almost anywhere by manipulating the enormous energies of procreation. You could goad humans into actions they would never have believed possible. ...This energy must have an outlet. Bottle it up and it becomes monstrously dangerous. Redirect it and it will sweep over anything in its path. This is an ultimate secret of all religions.
    • Bashar Miles Teg

Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)[edit]

Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt.
The person who takes the banal and ordinary and illuminates it in a new way can terrify. We do not want our ideas changed.
Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.
Give me the judgment of balanced minds in preference to laws every time.
To know a thing well, know it limits.
There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.
  • Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life. The object can be stated this way: Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play. Non-players often whine and complain that luck always passes them by. They refuse to see that they can create some of their own luck.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all the legal professions of history have based their job security.
    • Bene Gesserit Coda
  • Show me a completely smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's covering mistakes. Real boats rock.
    • Senior Watchdog, Bene Gesserit
  • The person who takes the banal and ordinary and illuminates it in a new way can terrify. We do not want our ideas changed. We feel threatened by such demands. "I already know the important things!" we say. Then Changer comes and throws our old ideas away.
    • The Zensufi Master
  • All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.
    • Missionaria Protectiva, Text QIV (decto)
  • Education is no substitute for intelligence. That elusive quality is defined only in part by puzzle-solving ability. It is in the creation of new puzzles reflecting what your senses report that you round out the definitions.
    • Mentat Text One (decto)
  • All states are abstractions.
    • Octun Politicus, Bene Gesserit Archives
  • To know a thing well, know it limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen. Do not depend only on theory if your life is at stake.
    • Bene Gesserit Commentary
  • Ready comprehension is often a knee-jerk response and the most dangerous form of understanding. It blinks an opaque screen over your ability to learn. The judgmental precedents of law function that way, littering your path with dead ends. Be warned. Understand nothing. All comprehension is temporary.
    • Mentat Fixe (adacto)
  • 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.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • No sweeteners will cloak some forms of bitterness. If it tastes bitter, spit it out. That's what our earliest ancestors did.
    • The Coda
  • Enter no conflict against fanatics unless you can defuse them. Oppose a religion with another religion only if your proofs (miracles) are irrefutable or if you can mesh in a way that the fanatics accept you as god-inspired.
    • Missionaria Protectiva, Primary Teaching
  • We witness a passing phase of eternity. Important things happen but some people never notice. Accidents intervene. You are not present at episodes. You depend on reports. And people shutter their minds. What good are reports? History in a news account? Preselected at an editorial conference, digested and excreted by prejudice? Accounts you need seldom come from those who make history. Diaries, memoirs and autobiographies are subjective forms of special pleading. Archives are crammed with such suspect stuff.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.
    • The Coda
  • Ultimately all things are known because you want to believe you know.
    • Zensunni koan
  • Intelligence takes chance with limited data in an arena where mistakes are not only possible but also necessary.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • When you think to take determination of your fate into your own hands, that is the moment you can be crushed. Be cautious. Allow for surprises. When we create, there are always other forces at work.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.
    • Darwi Odrade
  • Thinking you know why you behave as you do gives you all sorts of excuses for extraordinary behavior.
    • Duncan Idaho
  • And here lay the magical enticement of prescience, the lure to which Muad'Dib and his Tyrant son had succumbed. The oracle knows what is to come!

The horde of Lampadas had taught her not to seek oracles. The known could beleaguer her more than the unknown. The sweetness of the new lay in its surprises. Could the Rabbi see it? "Who will tell us what happens next?" he asks. Is that what you want, Rabbi? You will not like what you hear. I guarantee it. From the moment the oracle speaks your future becomes identical to your past. How you would wail in your boredom.

  • Power attracts the corruptible. Absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible. This is the danger of an entrenched bureaucracy to it's subject population. Even "spoils" systems are preferable because levels of tolerance are lower and the corrupt can be thrown out periodically. Entrenched bureaucracy seldom can be touched short of violence. Beware when Civil service and military join hands!
    • The Honored Matre achievement

Derivative works[edit]

Novels in the Dune milieu by other authors with authorization from the Herbert estate.

Dune: House Atreides (1999)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Like many culinary delicacies, revenge is a dish best savored slowly, after long and delicate preparation.
    • The Padishah Emperor

Dune: House Harkonnen (2000)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Discovery is dangerous… but so is life. A man unwilling to take risk is doomed never to learn, never to grow, never to live.
    • Planetologist Pardot Kynes
  • Facts mean nothing when they are preempted by appearance. Do not underestimate the power of impression over reality.
    • Crown Prince Raphael Corrino
  • The Fremen have a saying: every faintly evil thought must be put aside immediately before it takes root. *
    • Thoughts of Planetologist Liet-Kynes

Dune: House Corrino (2001)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Life improves the capacity of the environment to sustain life. Life makes needed nutrients more readily available. It binds more energy into the system through the tremendous chemical interplay form organism to organism.
    • Imperial Planetologist Pardot Kynes
  • It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.
    • Aristotle of Old Earth
  • Any training school for free citizens must begin by teaching distrust, not trust. It must teach questioning, not acceptance of stock answers.
    • Cammar Pilru
  • To produce the genetic alteration of an organism, place it in an environment which is dangerous but not lethal.
    • Tleilaxu Apocrypha
  • It is no secret that we all have secrets. However, few of them are as veiled as we intend them to be.
    • Piter de Vries, Mentat Analysis of Landsraad Vulnerabilities, private Harkonnen document.
  • An Emperor's slightest dislike is transmitted to those who serve him, and there it is amplified into rage.
    • Supreme Bashar Zum Garon, Commander of Imperial Sardaukar Troops
  • The natural destiny of power is fragmentation.
    • Padishah Emperor Idriss I, Landsraad Archives
  • Brutality breeds brutality. Love breeds love.
    • Lady Anirul Corrino, journal entry

Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (2002)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • In the desert, the line between life and death is sharp and quick.
    • Zensunni fire poetry from Arrakis
  • Home can be anywhere, for it is a part of one's self.
    • Zensunni saying
  • Only those with narrow minds fail to see that the definition of impossible is "Lack of imagination and incentive."
    • Serena Butler
  • Everything in the universe contains flaws, ourselves included. Even God does not attempt perfection in His creations. Only humankind has such foolish arrogance.
    • Cogitor Kwyna

Dune: The Machine Crusade (2003)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
The weakness of thinking machines is that they actually believe all the information they receive, and react accordingly.
  • Select your battles carefully. Ultimately, victory and defeat are a matter of your own careful- or reckless-choices.
    • Tlaloc, Weaknesses of the Empire
  • The weakness of thinking machines is that they actually believe all the information they receive, and react accordingly.
    • Vorian Atreides
  • In order to understand the meaning of victory, you must first define your enemies... and your allies.
    • Xavier Harkonnen
  • There is no such thing as the future. Humankind faces multiple possible futures, many of which hinge on seemingly inconsequential events.
    • The Muadru Chronicles
  • One can compare this new Jihad to a necessary editing process. We are disposing of the things that are destroying us as humans.
    • Cogitor Kwyna
  • A human lifespan is not always sufficient for a person to achieve greatness. To counter this, some of us have seized more time for ourselves.
    • General Agamemnon
  • Here is where the analystical power of the thinking machines fails them: they believe they have no weaknesses.
    • Vorian Atreides
  • The future, the past and the present are intertwined, a weave that forms any point in time.
    • The Legend of Selim Wormrider
  • Endurance. Belief. Patience. Hope. These are the key words of our existence.
    • Zensunni prayer
  • Invention is an art form.
    • Tio Holtzman
  • Peering back through the magnifying glass of time, men and women in the future view the personalities of the Great Revolt as larger-than-life. Such an impression comes not through any distortion of the glass, nor from a process of embellishment that generates mythology. Instead, the heroes of the Jihad were much as they are now remembered; they rose to the occasion when humanity needed them more then ever before.
    • Princess Irulan
  • Do not count what you have lost. Count only what you still have.
    • Zensunni Sutra of the First Order
  • The coward will not fight. The fool refuses to see necessity. The scoundrel puts himself ahead of humanity. The Zenshiites are all these things.
    • Xavier Harkonnen
  • Secrets give birth to more secrets.
    • A Saying of Arrakis
  • Unfortunately, some wars are won by the side that is the most fanatical in a religious sense. The victorious leaders harness the holy energy of collective insanity.
    • Cogitor Kwyna
  • We are fools to think the battle is ever over. A defeated foe can delude us into letting down our guard... to our eternal sorrow.
    • Xavier Harkonnen
  • There are a million ways to ask the same question, and a million ways to answer it.
    • Cogitors: Fundamental Postulate
  • With all the artillery, ships and manpower in the military, our commanders often forget that ideas can be the greatest weapon of all.
    • Cogitor Kwyna
  • Even victories take their toll on a man.
    • Saying of Old Earth
  • A tool wielded in ignorance can become the most dangerous of weapons.
    • Swordmaster Jav Barri
  • Those who refuse to fight against thinking machines are traitors to the human race. Those who do not use every possible weapon are fools.
    • Zufa Cenva
  • The more I study the phenomenon of human creativity, the more mysterious it seems. Their whole process of innovation is elusive, but is critical for us to understand. If we fail in this endeavor, thinking machines are doomed.
    • Erasmus
  • Where one person sees cause of rejoicing, another sees only reason for despair. Pray that you are the former.
    • Buddislamic Sutra
  • For all their computerized precision, thinking machines can be confused in many different ways.
    • Vorian Atreides
  • Sand keeps the skin clean, and the mind.
    • Zensunni fire poetry from Arrakis
  • Human beings can always improve themselves. This is one of the advantages they have over thinking machines... until I find the way to mimic all of their senses. And sensibilities.
    • Erasmus
  • He who strikes fastest strikes twice.
    • Swordmaster Jav Barri
  • Words are magic.
    • Zufa Cenva
  • Thoughts become weapons. Philosophies are distinct reasons for war. Good intentions are the most destructive arsenal of all.
    • Cogitor Kwyna
  • It is better to be envied than pitied.
    • Vorian Atreides
  • The army fosters technology, and technology breeds anarchy because it distributes the terrible machines of destruction. Even before this Jihad, one man alone could create and apply enough violence to ravage an entire planet. It happened! Why do you think the computer became anathema?
    • Serena Butler
  • There is a certain momentum to victory ... and to defeat.
    • Iblis Ginjo
  • Good intentions can bring about as much destruction as an evil conqueror. Either way, the result is the same.
    • Zensunni Lament
  • War: A manufactory that produces desolation, death, and secrets.
    • Statement of anti-Jihad protester

Dune: The Battle of Corrin (2004)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
The wise person ... views history as a set of lessons to be learned, choices and ramifications to be considered and discussed, and mistakes that should never again be made.
  • The gravest error a thinking person can make is to believe that one particular version of history is absolute fact. History is recorded by a series of observers, none of whom is impartial. The facts are distorted by sheer passage of time and — especially in the case of the Butlerian Jihad — thousands of years of humanity's dark ages, deliberate misrepresentations by religious sects, and the inevitable corruption that comes from an accumulation of careless mistakes. The wise person, then, views history as a set of lessons to be learned, choices and ramifications to be considered and discussed, and mistakes that should never again be made.
    • Princess Irulan, preface to the History of the Butlerian Jihad
  • It has often been said that it is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. This is defeatist talk: I intend to rule everywhere, not just in Hell.
    • The Titan Agamemnon
  • In truth, is it better to remember or to forget? We must balance this decision between our history and our humanity.
    • *Bashar Abulurd Harkonnen*, Private Logs
  • When others place impossible expectations on a man, he must redefine his goals, and forge his own path. That way at least someone is satisfied.
    • Swordmaster Istian Goss

The Winds of Dune (2009)[edit]

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • No one is ever completely forced into his position in life. We all have opportunities to take different paths.
    • Conversations with Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Memories and lies are painful. But my memories are not lies.
    • Bronso of IX, transcript of death-cell interview
  • Our most effective costumes are the assumptions and preconceptions the audience has about us.
    • Rheinvar the Magnificent
  • It is said that one can neither play nor hear the true beauty of music without first having experienced considerable pain. Alas, that may be why I find music to be so sweet.
    • Gurney Halleck, Unfinished Songs
  • There are countless definitions and interpretations of a life well spent, and of the opposite. There are often widely divergent biographies of a particular person. The same individual can be either demon or saint, and even shades of both.
    • The Wisdom of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
  • Sometimes the best way to search is to be found.
    • Zensunni postulate
  • The greatest obligation of a mother is to support her children, to show them love and respect, and to accept them. Sometimes this is a most difficult task.
    • Lady Jessica, Duchess of Caladan
  • When the true motive is love, there are no other explanations. Searching for them is like chasing grains of sand in the wind.
    • Fremen proverb

Related Wikipedia articles[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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