Litany Against Fear

Litany Against Fear

I just stumbled upon this again, The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, from one of my favorite books of all-time, Dune.

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.

Cool! I wonder what it would be like set to music, like Sarah McLaughlin’s rendition of a Prayer to St. Francis.

If you haven’t read Dune, you should, but you can get by with this a description of the Bene Gesserit (via wikipedia):

They are a secretive sisterhood who train their bodies and minds though years of physical and mental conditioning, attaining powers and abilities that can seem almost magical. Due to their secretive nature and misunderstood abilities, outsiders often call them witches.

I’ve always been impressed at the depth with which Frank Herbert described this fictional shadow organization. The Wikipedia entry is a great overview; I learned a lot of little details that I had forgotten or missed in my reading of the novel. I wonder how much of it is based on historical shadowy organized religious agenda setting?


  1. Roland Jones 19 years ago

    Try some Eon—Void Dweller which has a techno song featuring samples from the 1984 David Lynch version. My best friend and I used to fence (the sword fighting kind) and recited the litany against fear as part of our preparation for tournaments. While Herbert doesn’t usually get credit in the same league as Tolkien for storytelling (which he probably should), Herbert’s grasp of psychology and politics makes him a must read for anyone interested in fantasy/sci-fi (or as a general primer on corporate survival skills).

    The last couple of paragraphs here are classic Herbert wisdom. This page has some good bits culled from the Dune series. Just google =dune frank.herbert= for more…or better yet, read the books and take notes! ;)

  2. Dave 19 years ago

    Awesome comment, Roland…thanks for all the cool links! I haven’t read much from Herbert in the non-fiction sense…I’ll have to look for some more interviews.

    The idea of leadership having magnifying effects is something I’ve noticed in the workplace. I think some leaders are not aware of the effect, where every small comment they make is amplified many times and has incredible repercussive power among the lower ranks. Everyone in the leadership position gets that for free, except perhaps for the people who knew them before they were “the leader”. The ones that ARE aware of it, and have tailored their skills toward maximizing the effect, can be truly terrifying.

    Power is a fascinating subject.