Frank Herbert

A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful.

Animal consciousness does not extend beyond the given moment nor into the idea that its victims may become extinct.

Teaching is one thing. The basic ingredient is another.

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.

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.

Hope clouds observation.

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.

In politics, the tripod ins the most unstable of all structures.

"I was thinking we'll all be out of here soon and likely never see the place again."

"Does that make you sad?"

"Sad? Nonsense! Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place."

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 ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel.

Knowing where the trap is—that's the first step in evading it.

There are worse things than dying, you know—even for an entire people.

Motivating people, forcing them to your will, gives you a cynical attitude toward humanity. It degrades everything it touches.

The proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.

Command must always look confident, he thought. All that faith riding on your shoulders while you sit in the critical seat and never show it.

"The whole theory of warfare is calculated risk," the Duke said, "but when it comes to risking your own family, the element of calculation gets submerged in... other things."

"Justice?" The Duke looked at the man. "Who asks for justice? We make our own justice. We make it here on Arrakis—or die."

"Bitterness I understand," the Duke said. "But let us not rail about justice as long as we have arms and the freedom to use them."

Most of the Houses have grown fat by taking few risks. One cannot truly blame them for this; one can only despise them.

What is money, if it won't buy the services you need?

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 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.

Pattern is susceptible to analysis and prediction.

Growth is limited by that necessity which is present in the least amount. And, naturally, the least favorable condition controls the growth rate.

Is it defeatist or treacherous for a doctor to diagnose a disease correctly? My only intention is to cure the disease.

Humans live best when each has his own place, when each knows where he belongs in the scheme of things. Destroy the place and destroy the person.

It's a human trait that when we encounter personal problems, those things most deeply personal are the most difficult to bring out for our logic to scan. We tent to flounder around, blaming everything but the actual, deep-seated thing that's really chewing on us.

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife—chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now, it's complete because it's ended here."

The day the flesh shapes and the flesh the day shapes.

One should never presume one is the sole object of a hunt.

A plan depends as much upon execution as is does upon concept.

If you rely only on your eyes, your other senses weaken.

One must always keep the tools of statecraft sharp and ready. Power and fear—sharp and ready.

What do you despise? By this are you truly known.

The way to control and direct a Mental is through his information. False information—false results.

Let us never deceive ourselves. The truth is a powerful weapon.

Never obliterate a man unthinkingly, the way an entire fief might do it through some due process of law. Always do it for an overriding purpose—and know your purpose!

A carnivore never stops. Show no mercy. Never stop. Mercy is a chimera. It can be defeated by the stomach rumbling its hunger, by the throat crying its thirst. You must always be hungry and thirsty.

Mercy was the ability to stop, if only for a moment. There was no mercy where there could be no stopping.

A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but the fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and it has power.

One does not risk everything to settle a score prematurely.

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.

The more life there is within a system, the more niches there are for life.

The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences.

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 from organism to organism.

We are generalists. You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems. Planetology is a cut-and-fit science.

Science is made up of so many things that appear obvious after they are explained.

Nature tends to compensate for diseases, to remove or encapsulate them, to incorporate them into the system in her own way.

No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.

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.

To save one from a mistake is a gift of paradise.

The Fremen are supreme in the 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.

Bribes are dangerous; they have a way of growing larger and larger.

What is important for a leader is that which makes him a leader. It is the needs of his people.

A leader, you see, is one of the things that distinguishes a mob from a people. He maintains the level of individuals. Too few individuals, and a people reverts to a mob.

He saw violence with the outcome subject to so many variables that his slightest movement created vast shiftings in the pattern. The vision made him freeze into immobility, but this, too, was an action with its consequences.

When the opponent fears you, then's the moment when you give the fear its own rein, give it the time to work on him. Let it become terror. The terrified man fights himself. Eventually, he attacks in desperation. That is the most dangerous moment, but the terrified man can be trusted usually to make a fatal mistake.

Keep the mind on the knife and not on the hand that holds it. The knife is more dangerous than the hand and the knife can be in either hand.

When you kill, you pay for it.

When you imagine mistakes there can be no self-defense.

"Mankind has only one mm-m-m science," the Count said...

"And what science is that?" the Baron asked.

"It's the um-m-m-ah-h science of ah-h-h discontent," the Count said.

It's easier to be terrified by an enemy you admire.

That which makes a man superhuman is terrifying.

We shouldn't waste sorrow over the aristocracy of misfortune.

Guilt starts as a feeling of failure.

Do not count a human dead until you've seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake.

Caution's a worthy trait in a man who'd lead.

He realized suddenly that it was one thing to see the past occupying the present, but the true test of prescience was to see the past in the future. Things persisted in not being what they seemed.

The man without emotions is the one to fear. But deep emotions ... ah, now, those can be bent to your needs.

"I don't understand you."

"Yes, that's plain enough."

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.

It's well known that repression makes a religion flourish.

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 perfection contains its own fixity. In such perfection, all things move toward death.

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.

Nothing about religion is simple.

Give as few orders as possible... once you've given orders on a subject, you must always give orders on that subject.

"Control the coinage and the courts—let the rabble have the rest." Thus the Padishah Emperor advised you. And he tells you: "If you want profits, you must rule." There is truth in those words, but I ask myself: "Who are the rabble and who are the ruled?"

Accident can strike down even the most capable.

You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion.

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.

They've lost the initiative, which means they've lost the war.

The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.

How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.

All men beneath your position covet your station.

Prophets have a way of dying by violence.

Grief is the price of victory.

Worry saps the strength.

The test of a man isn't what you think he'll do. It's what he actually does.

How little the universe knows about the nature of real cruelty!

The Sardaukar had never been prepared for such happenings as this day. They'd never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself. He put that thought aside for later consideration in his own training program.

There should be a word for memories that deny themselves.

Isn't it odd how we misunderstand the hidden unity of kindness of cruelty?

How can you tell what's ruthless unless you've plumbed the depths of both cruelty and kindness?

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.

The eye that looks ahead to the safe course is closed forever.

The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it.

Use the first moments in study. You may miss an opportunity for quick victory this way, but the moments of study are insurance of success. Take your time and be sure.

Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is nohow many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.

Life—all life—is in the service of life.

To understand how this came about, you must first understand the enormous single-mindedness, the innocence with which he approached any problem. He was not naive, he merely permitted himself no distractions.

Kynes was not a madman totally, just mad enough to be holy.

Highly organized research is guaranteed to produce nothing new.

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 that 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.

There is a fifth force which shaped religious belief, but its effect is so universal and profound that it deserves to stand alone.

This is, of course, space travel—and in any discussion of religion, it deserves to be written thus:


Men looked at their gods and their rituals and saw that bothy were filled with that most terrible of all equations: fear over ambition.

Riots and comedy are but symptoms of the times, profoundly revealing. They betray the psychological tone, the deep uncertainties... and the striving for something better, plus the fear that nothing would come of it all.

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.

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.

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 the 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.

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.

Each man is a little war.

When law and religious duty are one, your serfdom encloses the universe.

Religion often partakes of the myth of progress that shields us from the terrors of an uncertain future.

If a child, an untrained person, an ignorant person, or an insane person incites trouble, it is the fault of authority for not predicting and preventing that trouble.

Any sin can be ascribed, at least in part, to a natural bad tendency that is an extenuating circumstance acceptable to God.

Kindness is the beginning of cruelty.

Mysticism isn't difficult when you survive each second by surmounting open hostility.

The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience. Omens help you remember this.

When religion and politics ride the same cart, when that cart is driven by a living holy man (baraka), nothing can stand in their path.