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.
Demagogues are so easy to identify. They gesture a lot and speak with pulpit rhythms, using words that ring of religious fervour and god-fearing sincerity. Sincerity with nothing behind it takes so much practice. The practice can always be detected. Repetition. Great attempts to keep your attention on words.
Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he or she is in. That person must reflect what is projected upon him or her.
Leto turned a hard stare at Kynes. And Kynes, returning the stare, found himself troubled by a fact he had observed here: This Duke was concerned more over the men than he was over the spice. He risked his own life, and that of his son to save the men. He passed off the loss of a spice crawler with a gesture. The threat to men's lives had him in a rage. A leader such as that would command fanatic loyalty. He would be difficult to defeat. Against his own will and all previous judgements, Kynes admitted to himself: I... Read more »
I now believe that evolution, or deevolution, never ends short of death, that no society has ever achieved an absolute pinnacle, that all humans are not created equal. In fact, I believe attempts to create some abstract equalization create a morass of injustices that rebound on the equalizers. Equal justice and equal opportunity are ideals we should seek, but we should recognize that humans administer the ideals and that humans do not have equal ability.
Good governance 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.
Clinging to any form of conservatism can be dangerous. Become too conservative and you are unprepared for surprises. You cannot depend on luck. Logic is blind and often knows only its own past. Logic is good for playing chess but is often too slow for the needs of survival.
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.