Frank Herbert – Heretics of Dune

In the name of our Bene Gesserit Order and its unbroken Sisterhood, this account has been judged reliable and worthy of entry into the Chronicles of the Chapter House.

This well-recognized prescript has been tossed into limbo by the words and actions of the Bashar Miles Teg, the last person in the universe we might have suspected capable of such a revelation.

What opened Teg’s eyes? He says it was his encounter with a captive soldier from the Scattering, taken on Gammu and subjected to heavy interrogation. The man called upon the Great God Dur (Archives ref: “Guldur”, another name for the Tyrant) to fill his captors’ pockets with jewels if they would restore him to the Honoured Matres.

Teg, mindful of the Missionaria Protectiva’s workings, wondered aloud if this prayer had ever been answered. Teg thought that this question would bring a call by the captive for Dur’s wrath to fall upon his enemies.

Instead, the captive was amused. He appeared to think about it for a moment and then said that no one in his acquaintance had ever been answered with jewels.

“Would you want such a divine response?” Teg asked, probing for the man’s real beliefs.

“It would frighten me,” the captive said. “Too many would ask for their share.”

Teg’s account relates that he immediately saw through to this man’s granular universe, becoming fully aware of how that construct was perfectly submissive to the choices of the believer. It was a matter of faith. The universe was that way because the believer chose to view it that way.

“I saw immediately that it was the same for me and for everyone I had ever met,” Teg tells us, adding that he recognized in that instant the true nature of the Mother Superior Taraza’s design for the ghola and for Rakis.

Teg’s revelation focused his attention on fixed accounts of historical events. He was reminded of our teaching that exotic ideas embedded in particular languages require those languages for expression. Translation always falters without the original mode of expression. The fixed accounts, he said, mostly divert attention from the secret influences around the recorded events. He calls this “stage-managed history”.

We have often remarked how easily the major historians can be lured into furthering the aims of those who would divert attention. I remind you of how the Tyrant killed the historians who angered him for this very reason.

The ease with which historians can be captivated is explained in part by the fact that bloody events exert a magnetic attraction on humankind. Historians are no exception. They cater to that ancient human desire you see manifested in the mobs gawking at executions or people stopping to stare at the scene of an accident.

Historians have the added incentive that catering to this bloody attraction often produces wealth and power. It is popular. Digging deeply into obscure events and the secret machinations of unknown people is not only more difficult, it is observably dangerous to careers if not to lives. Such activity seldom produces historical works which attract popular approval. Even when such revelatory works do appear, they have a way of vanishing, along with their authors. This is but an extension of what our Order calls “the constant conflict”. The stakes in conflicts do not change. Battle determines who will control the wealth or its equivalent.

Teg reminds us of what we already knew but did not apply fully to ourselves. We of the Sisterhood are miners digging ever deeper into veins of human complexity. We know very well that appearance, stature, bodily shape and

colour—none of these things necessarily signals human worth or human intelligence.

No person or society is ever a pinnacle. Evolution does not end short of death for an entire species. The fixed pattern of the seasons has been imposed on countless planets but few have dared a perpetual springtime, or even a perpetual summer. Lack of change creates boredom. Those who are bored become unruly.

Did the Tyrant not warn us?

“I am anthropology,” he said. “Study me and you will see why no argument justifies any belief in the natural superiority of your own kind. Individuals may be superior. Some societies may demonstrate superiority. But all is transient.”

Do not tell me you understand this! If you dare say that I will throw the Zensunni Warning into your faces!

“Assumptions built on ideas of ‘understanding’ assail us from all sides. Such assumptions place a faith in words stronger than that promoted by the organized religions. It is a faith seldom questioned. The very act of saying that things exist which cannot be described shakes a universe where words and the systems for sharing and transmitting them are the ultimate god.”

Systems, my sisters! There is the heart of Teg’s revelation. Rank and social position may be at the core of all social evolution but systematic remains a dangerous word. Systems, following the unconscious patterns of their human creators, always take over. It is our systems which have brought us to our present sorry state! But we still have that deathless choice: degenerate or overcome our adversities!

—Mother Superior Darwi Odrade, Argument in Council


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