“This is interesting. How long have you thought that?”
“I never thought that, in the sense of believing it. It is merely an alternative to be considered.”
If, from a distance of seven thousand parsecs, the fall of Kalgan to the armies of the Mule had produced reverberations that had excited the curiosity of an old Trader, the apprehension of a dogged captain, and the annoyance of a meticulous mayor–to those on Kalgan itself, it produced nothing and excited no one. It is the invariable lesson to humanity that distance in time, and in space as well, lends focus. It is not recorded, incidentally, that the lesson has ever been permanently learned.
What had happened to them wasn’t like losing your best friend so much as it was like losing your shadow or your soul; you barely knew it was there sometimes, but you knew it was crucial to you.
Rosie could feel him thinking, but he was silent for long enough that she had the opportunity to notice that he was the only one of all of them who was not blundering over his own feet. She felt him notice her noticing—there was a certain sense of “at last” about it—and then he said: The things that aren’t there are not there in different ways. Some of them are almost there and some of them are nearly not-there.
Narl said slowly, “Yes. This seems to be a—neither here nor there sort of place. And the things here are neither here nor there either.”
“Only they don’t seem to—upset Flinx’s sense of balance,” said Rosie.
“Perhaps cats are neither here nor there all the time,” said Narl, and Flinx, picking up the gist of this through Rosie, gave Narl a thoughtful look before returning to his tail.
…But the wing had not healed as it should, and so it was given the vaulted height of the Great Hall to live in, where no one dared trouble it, and it was fed by a falconer with a very long pole.
The merrel also knew its wing had not healed. But I could reach a great height once more before it failed me, it said. And from there I would fold my wings and plummet to the earth as if a hare or a fawn had caught my eye; but it would be myself I stooped toward. It would be a good flight and a good death. And so I eat their dead things cut up on a pole, dreaming of my last flight.
“There’s always a prevailing mystique in any civilization,” Leto said. “It builds itself as a barrier against change, and that always leaves future generations unprepared for the universe’s treachery. All mystiques are the same in building these barriers—the religious mystique, the hero-leader mystique, the messiah mystique, the mystique of science/technology, and the mystique of nature itself.”
Let the future happen of itself, he thought. The only rule governing creativity is the act of creation itself.
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.
Knowing was a barrier which prevented learning.
“You, Priest in your mufti,” The Preacher called, “you are a chaplain to the self-satisfied. I came not to challenge Muad’dib but to challenge you! 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? Answer me, Priest!”
But the challenger remained silent.