Frank Herbert, formally Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.

Herbert, formally Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.

American Science Fiction Writer, most notably the "Dune" series

Author Quotes

War is the most readily available form of chaos.

We say of Muad'dib that he has gone on a journey into that land where we walk without footprints.

What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce. When did you last hear of a clerk giving his life for the company? Perhaps your deficiency rests in the false assumption that you can order men to think and cooperate. This has been a failure of everything from religions to general staffs throughout history. General staffs have a long record of destroying their own nations. As to religions, I recommend a rereading of Thomas Aquinas.

Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality.

You can say things which cannot be done. This is elementary. The trick is to keep attention focused on what is said and not on what can be done.

You who have defeated us say to yourselves that Babylon is fallen and its works have been overturned. I say to you still that man remains on trial, each man in his own dock. Each man is a little war.

War is useful because it is effective in so many areas. It stimulates the metabolism. It enforces government. It diffuses genetic strains. It possesses a vitality such as nothing else in the universe.

We say, Well, the only answer is.... or, If you would just... Whatever follows these two statements narrows the choices right there. It gets the vision right down close to the ground so that you don't see anything happening outside. Humans tend not to see over a long range. Now we are required, in these generations, to have a longer range view of what we inflict on the world around us. This is where, I think, science fiction is helping. I don't think that the mere writing of such a book as Brave New World or 1984 prevents those things which are portrayed in those books from happening. But I do think they alert us to that possibility and make that possibility less likely. They make us aware that we may be going in that direction.

When a creature has developed into one thing, he will choose death rather than change into his opposite.

Which is the better: a good friend, a good heart, a good eye, a good neighbor, a good wife, or understanding of consequences? It is none of these. A warm and sensitive soul which knows the worth of fellowship and the price of the individual dignity - this is best.

You can’t buy security.

You will become whatever it is you most deeply desire.

War… the ultimate predator… the cohesive force which shatters.

We should grant power over our affairs only to those who are reluctant to hold it and then only under conditions that increase the reluctance.

When denied an external enemy, the all-male army always turned against its own population. Always.

Who shall guard the guardians? Who shall see that the guardians commit no offenses?

You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. The power struggle permeates the training, education and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably much face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.

Your head is where ideas go to die.

We accept too damned many things on the explanations of people who could have good reasons for lying.

We should not be afraid. Fear destroys reason. The fear is that ignoble death that brings total destruction. I will stand face to face with my fear. I will allow him to pass over me and through me. And when you go away, you turned your inner eye to follow his path. Where I fear is gone, there is nothing left. Only I will remain

When he wanted, he could radiate charm and sincerity, but I often wonder in these later days if anything about him was as it seemed. I think now he was a man fighting constantly to escape the bars of an invisible cage.

Why are you mad at me?

You cannot fend off such realities with words. They will come at you in their own wordless way.

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.

We are questioning more than the philosophy behind our dependence upon limited and limiting systems. We question the power structures that have grown up around such systems.

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Herbert, formally Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.
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American Science Fiction Writer, most notably the "Dune" series