The import of the Sardonic and the Uncertain


From Frank Herbert’s Dune .

Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never persistent. 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.

from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan

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.

from The Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan

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

from Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan

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