“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.”– Frank Herbert, Dune
Dune is one of the most iconic science fiction reads of all time.
In a fascinating interview author Frank Herbert shares the messages showcased in its storyline.
He intended for the story to be a messiah not a Jesus story. (Both are discussed in the book “Hero With 1,000 Faces“) The difference between the two is that in a Jesus story it’s obvious who the hero is, in a messiah story it’s not.
A common thread in the book is to challenge people to consider how we give our lives over to leaders. Frank argues this pattern is a deep seated tribal root that can be very dangerous.
Jim Jones, the mass murder who is infamously remembered in the phrase “don’t drink the kool-aid”, is an example of the type of leader Frank Herbert sought to warn against in his writing.
What I found especially interesting was his emphasis on how leaders can become even more dangerous in todays age. “Tools of self destruction in the hands of sick leaders makes for real trouble as they infect the people who follow them.” He says.
At the end of the day leaders are humans, and their mistakes are often amplified by those that follow them. To turn and face those mistakes is often a path that includes fear. Fear of what you’ll find, the potential ostracization from the community, and unknown alternative.
Fear is often felt when thinking for yourself. But if you don’t, what will remain?