Three Figures

Frank Herbert’s History of the Future


Paul the boy, Paul the heir, Paul the conqueror, Paul the messiah, this one called Atreides and Muad’dib, product and agent of “terrible purpose,”1 this one whom we might say, with Whitman (that other writer of American epic), “contain[s] multitudes,”2 this one of whom we must ask, what makes a man when his history is other than his own? Indeed, the question of history is of the utmost importance in Frank Herbert’s Dune, informing this masterwork of speculative fiction from the dedication onward—Dune is an “effort at prediction,”3 or, in other words, a history of the future.4 As prediction, Dune is also a projection, a theorization of otherwise,5 a casting forward of the net of imagination, which is itself woven of plots and purposes and people drawn from the figurations of the everyday. These projected figures are complex textual objects, sites for the intersections of a myriad of meanings and forces, artefacts of past narratives reinscribed in Herbert’s novel. So, then, Dune, in its capacity as speculative fiction, con-figures these objects into an image of a time yet to come, structuring and ordering and emplotting them so as to re-figure for us his present in the pre-figuration of this other, projected future.6 It is through these specific figures, these images or projections, that the plot of Dune is given its unique form that draws attention to the very predictive act that Herbert undertakes and acknowledges in his dedication. The predictive act is the conceit of speculative fiction (scientific, fantastical, and otherwise), but more so, it is one of the chief concerns of modern, technical man in his life beyond the pages of fiction.7 The following paper intends to examine a selection of these figures to argue that history in Dune, both in Herbert’s purposeful construction of the narrative and within the narrative itself, is a figuration of human agency. Taking as its premise the ‘artefactuality’ of these figures as textual objects, insofar as Herbert draws them from his specific context with specific intentions (regardless of his success in said intentions), this paper will concentrate on three in particular—the world of Dune, the protagonist Paul Atreides, and history itself as it is seen within the narrative—to perform an “archaeology”8 of the meanings present in the text. This paper will argue that Herbert’s Dune is a critique of history as an instrument used by humans to subject and do violence to other humans, but also that Dune presents a radical reorientation of the self to history as its constitutes the human person in relation, opening our own histories to the imagining of something new.9

Figure I: World

Herbert’s Dune takes place over 21,000 years in the future. Humans inhabit numerous worlds, living within the order of the Faufreluches, a rigid class system that Herbert describes as a “place for every man and every man in his place.”10 Governance in the world of Dune is divided between the Landsraad (an assembly like the House of Lords)11, the Emperor, and the Spacing Guild (which maintains a monopoly on interstellar travel).12 CHOAM, the “Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles,” is a “universal development corportation”13 that is jointly controlled by these three powers, and which is at the centre of much of the political maneuvering throughout the novel. Indeed, politics is woven into the fabric of Dune, and any archaeology of the text must be concerned, in part, with a textual excavation of the system Herbert depicts.

Arrakis, the desert planet colloquially referred to as “Dune”, is the geographic hub for the political machinations that drive Herbert’s plot, a barren wasteland from beneath which the incredibly valuable spice melange is harvested. As such, Arrakis is a “place” in the sense defined by Michel de Certeau in The Practice of Everyday Life.14 A place is always “a place of [one’s] own (une place propre),” inextricable from the demands of ownership and production.15 The place obscures “the traces of belonging to a network—traces that always compromise the author’s rights.”16 Place is always contested, constructed as it is “from a variety of disparate practices,”17 which is to say, from human behaviour. A place emerges when one such behaviour or practice is “foregrounded,” leaving behind a “multifarious and silent “reserve” of procedures” not conducive to the execution of power.18 For both de Certeau and Herbert, the “foregrounded” practice in question is “economy” which takes “two forms”: “the maximization of capital ... that constitutes the essence of patrimony” and the “development of the body, both individual and collective, that generates duration (through its fertility) and space (through its movements).”19 In short, the “proper place” is an exclusionary construct, excising a locale from the contingency and plurality of relationships of which it is comprised.

In Dune, the violence of the proper place that “works to reproduce and make fruitful these two distinct, and yet complementary, forms of the “dwelling”: wealth and the body—land and heirs,” is ever-present.20 Dune begins with the House Atreides preparing to relocate to Arrakis, as commanded by the Emperor, who intends to ruin them with the aid of their enemies, the Harkonnens, and so redistribute (excising further) the economic power of Arrakis to the Emperor and the House Harkonnen. This redistribution (which is always mediated by the “order” of place21) will, in turn, upset the delicate threefold balance of power referred to above, allowing the Emperor and his vassals to gain advantage against the Landsraad and the Spacing Guild. To this end, the Emperor and the Harkonnens must not only take control of the land, de Certeau’s first form of dwelling, but the body, which entails the destruction of “the Atreides line—meaning Paul, too,”22 the heir, and not only the Duke Leto Atreides and his forces. The family is not exempt from the violence of the proper place, but is, in fact, essential to it: the “patrimony” that ensures the stability of the place depends on the “duration” 23 of familial inheritance, the “line” of which Paul is the heir. Herbert rightly perceives the interrelationship of place and power, bodies and wealth, family and capital, a dynamic that he perceives in his 1960’s America and which he refigures as a speculative projection in Dune.

Auxiliary to this nexus of forces that is the proper place is the advanced technology with which Herbert fills his universe, which is to be expected from science fiction. What is not expected, however, is the conspicuous absence of computing technologies and artificial intelligence (those hallmarks of the genre) from this far-flung future, an aspect of the story that proves to be more than just narrative decoration. Well before the events of Dune the Butlerian Jihad, also referred to as the Great Revolt,24 swept through human space, a “crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots.”25 From this fictional historical event (that is, historical within the universe of Dune, though still technically future for its readers) Herbert projects a future in which humans, dispossessed of their technical apparatus, must find other instruments for the development of their projects. The solution: melange, “spice of spices,”26 commodity of commodities, addictive substance imparting to those who consume it increased longevity and cognitive ability (including, in certain circumstances, prescience), ultimate object of desire and power. Found only on Arrakis, melange makes possible the abilities of Mentats, “[h]uman computers” capable of “supreme accomplishments of logic,”27 as well as space-flight, affording Guild Navigators the foresight required to navigate between the stars. This is the politico-economic significance of Arrakis.

This projection of Herbert’s accomplishes two things. First, by reintegrating technics with the body, and so by rendering the technological carnal, Herbert indicates the integrative nature of all human tool use, a point attested to by the chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi in his book The Tacit Dimension.28 Insofar as human beings implement tools to interact with the world, we “incorporate” these tools into our bodies and come to “dwell”29 in them. As such, a technology is most useful when it disappears in our use of it, when it becomes just another member of one’s body. So, through the incorporation of melange into one’s body, through the corporealization of technology, a sort of hyper-corporealization occurs, a supreme (re)integration of the body to itself, a re-membering of the body as technology. The human person ascends to a position of supreme agency. The body, our first and most unconscious “dwelling,” is possessed, owned, claimed, made an instrument for the “fruitful” utilization of place. 30

Second, by making the commodity of melange the implement of this radical self-technologization Herbert foregrounds the economic dimension of technology. If technology improves one’s ability to shape the world in the manner one pleases and to consolidate one’s power in a proper place, then the power of technology is of a decidedly material form and is the effective force of the immaterial social powers of patrimony and inheritance. The primary role of the Mentat is to advise his Lord in matters of “Kanly,” the “formal feud[s] or vendetta[s]”31 that Great Houses undertake in their efforts to gain and maintain control of places of power. In the world Herbert projects, total war has been outlawed by the Great Convention and the Guild Peace, limiting the Great Houses to “war[s] of assassins,” 32 a form of war, we have seen, that involves families as much as soldiers. In such a war, the more competent one’s Mentat, the more likely one’s success; but, for a Mentat to be competent in the first place, he must have long and continued access to melange. The Spacing Guild, too, with its monopoly on star-travel, is both the vehicle for the spice trade and dependent on it, its Navigators even more reliant on spice than Mentats. Without the Spacing Guild, there is no star travel and so no trade, depriving the Houses of their commerce; but, without melange, there is no Spacing Guild. Once again we see the intricacies of power, place, and commodity at work.

In Dune Herbert depicts a social system of circular dependency, propagated by the bodies and family lines through which and against which power is always exacted. So, then, in the technologization of the body made possible by melange, power is reified, made a thing in the form of spice. Simultaneously, melange is fetishized, becoming the medium of relation throughout the Imperium. Every “relation between men” becomes a “relation between things,”33 or rather, a relation with one thing, melange, which, moving beyond Marx, actually possesses in its “physical nature”34 the material power that makes the immaterial powers of patrimony and inheritance, and thus the consolidation of a proper place, possible. In the game of power, in all the purposing and plotting of human beings, bodies are always on the line: living, breathing human persons. This is a point often lost in science fiction, obscured by the countless adornments of fantastic worlds. But in Dune, by resituating the play of power, that complex of place, commodity, and force, in the body, Herbert is able to use the unique figure of his world to draw the human back to the fore.

Figure II: Paul

Whenever we speak of the body, our reference is, necessarily, bodies in the plural, those we know and interact with and within which we unconsciously dwell. To speak, then, of the body, is always to speak of these particular, plural bodies, which continuously implies the question whose? If Herbert’s project of the refiguration of the human through the body is to succeed, we must concentrate on the materiality of power as effected by technology and mediated by the physical persons into whom that technology is incorporated (e.g., the Mentat; the Guild Navigator). Through melange-as-fetish we see Althusser’s ideological apparatus corporealized, fused with the repressive apparatus in the bodies of these individual persons.35 One is not merely interpellated36 by ideology but by actual physical power, called out and into the game by the capacity for action imparted by an actual physiological change, the hypercorporealization of the body caused by the ingestion of melange. The socio-legal hierarchy is constantly being collapsed in Dune, the right to violence and its execution a constant threat. This is not to say that in our present the force of ideology is not actual or real, but rather that, in Herbert’s projection, the force of law (violence), which legal scholars such as Robert Cover tell us is usually displaced in a “system of roles,”37 is almost entirely coextensive with that by which it is authorized (ideology). In that the supreme commodity of the Dune universe is not a mere fiat but has actual use-value (and, we might say, supreme use-value, enabling both star-travel and subterfuge), the power immanent in melange effectively cuts across the elaborate “system of roles” that constitutes our own system of law, restoring the body (and the human, by extension) to presence. The bodies which are displaced and obscured, often even obliterated, by the machinations of power, take centre stage.

So, whose body? The question of human agency as it is instrumentalized through history must be approached from this position of particularity. In Dune, the body of greatest import is Paul’s. In the same way that Arrakis (place) and melange (commodity) are confluxes of a myriad of forces, Paul (person; heir), is such a conflux. It is in Paul, too, that the matter of history in Dune begins to emerge. In the first chapter of the text we are made aware of the nebulous “terrible purpose”38 that has taken hold of him, which is, to itself, its “own necessity.”39 Remember, in Dune there is no abstract force (patrimony; inheritance) that does not first have a bodily agent, but here Paul is only aware of the purpose as such, and not the various particulars that motivate it. He is not even aware of the purpose outside of tautology—purpose as purpose—which is to say, he is aware of its force, but not its end. As Herbert’s plot unfolds we learn, with Paul, more and more of the forces with which he is entangled. Those listed above—the Great Houses, the Emperor, the Spacing Guild, CHOAM—and others: the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen, and all those persons, family, friends, and enemies, with whose purposes his own intersect. Even within himself his purpose is not unified, not singular. Paul presents the “‘singular plural’ of Being” that Jean-Luc Nancy has written of,40 which is the constant togetherness of Being with beings, and of beings with one another.41 Indeed, motivation, as the (ideological) force behind the (repressive) force of physical power, is always plural, an overflow of one’s tradition inasmuch as that tradition is a heterogeneous corpus of texts, purposes, and actions received from others.42 The sheer complexity of such a corpus precludes any possibility of total knowledge, and so we can say that a singular person like Paul is not determined in his action, while his horizon43 is necessarily circumscribed by the plurality of his others. It is because of the unique capacity of speculative fiction, and Herbert’s visionary projection in particular, that Paul’s “terrible purpose” (which is determined by the plurality of his motivations) is of the fantastic order, and is, therefore, exemplary for our inquiry into the figure of history in Dune.

Who, then, is Paul? Paul is the son of the Duke Leto Atreides, formerly the lord of Caladan, and the Lady Jessica, beloved concubine of the Duke, who is a sister of the Bene Gesserit order (an “ancient school of mental and physical training established ... after the Butlerian Jihad”).44 It is from his father and his father’s sworn men—the Mentat Thufir Hawat, the minstrel Gurney Halleck, and the swordmaster Duncan Idaho—that Paul learns the arts of rule and subterfuge, and it is from his mother that he learns the Bene Gesserit way. As the son of Leto and Jessica, Paul takes the noble name Atreides, inheriting the purposes invested in it, but, as we quickly learn, Paul is the inheritor of more than just a lordly tradition. Paul is the product of a massive breeding program (one should recall de Certeau here45) conducted by the Bene Gesserit, designed to bring about the birth of the Kwisatz Haderach (“Shortening of the Way”46), the male Bene Gesserit who is said to be the “unknown ... whose organic [read: not mechanical, and thus, hypercorporeal] mental powers would bridge space and time.”47 The Bene Gesserit, who themselves are supreme manipulators, implanting in susceptible societies the “Missionaria Protectiva”48 (prophecies designed to be fulfilled by Bene Gesserit sisters if and when circumstances require it), are driven by a purpose that has lost its origin to time. The Kwisatz Haderach is a fulfillment, a culmination—of something. The Bene Gesserit, whose agents are everywhere, whose plots shape so much of Herbert’s universe, and so much of the plot of Dune, are so up caught in the complexity of their own purposes that the inevitable happens—one of their plurality interferes out of the particularity of her desire. Paul is the product of this interference.

This particularity, which is the plurality of which the singularity of power and purpose is comprised, is the human factor that is of such interest to Herbert. Lady Jessica was to bear a daughter to Duke Leto, who would in turn bear a son who would become the Kwisatz Haderach. But, using her abilities (her material power, the hypercorporealization of the body-as-technology), she chooses, instead, to conceive a son, Paul, whom she hopes will become the Kwisatz Haderach a generation early. The Bene Gesserit’s ability to foresee and manipulate, to direct the forces of patrimony and inheritance toward the place that they desire, is interrupted by human contingency. This is (in part) the terrible purpose that infects Paul, the terrible purpose that will lead to his embrace by the Fremen natives of Arrakis as Paul Muad’dib, the “Lisan al-Gaib” (“Voice from the Outer World”),49 and eventually to his assumption of the title of Emperor. And yet, the narrowing of the plurality of motivations that brings him to this place, the singularity of power, place, and commodity, through the successful manipulation of his circumstances, is not presented by Herbert as an ultimately heroic thing, an overcoming of the forces of evil by a figure of good. As Hayden White writes, history, as it is mediated and enacted by the body and the forces that intersect within it, is “never innocent,” a fact made all too clear by Herbert’s exemplar.50

Figure III: History

So, this excursus into the intricacies of Dune’s politics, economics, and social structure brings us to the figure of history that Herbert projects. There is a terrible echo that pervades Dune: the trace of appalling violence. The Butlerian Jihad, crusade against the thinking machines, is, in its distance and its scope, one of the most significant originary points (which, we must remember, are always plural) in Herbert’s projection. The figuration of violence haunts human society throughout the text, haunts every purpose and plot, every desire, every whim. As we have seen, the universe of Dune is radically shaped by the confluence of power in melange. We have also seen that Paul is a similar conflux, but it is in Paul, specifically, that Herbert foregrounds history as a figuration of human agency. Paul is the refiguration of human power as it is corporeally executed and historically motivated, a figure intensified by the narrative force of fiction insofar as he is the configuration of specific elements of non-fictional reality that Herbert perceives. Indeed, Paul embodies the historical sense that precedes human purposing, while also presenting its dangers.51

Recall figures I and II. The social system Herbert depicts is built on the fusion of place, commodity, and power, and of ideology and force. Paul is the plural figure that corporealizes these forces, and does so to supreme effect. Because these forces function in a tectonic way, shifting, sliding, colliding and dividing, driven by a sort of historical convection beneath the surface of the present, we can say that the exercise of power is always historically motivated (i.e., shaped by a determining, but not determined, complexity).52 In Paul, then, we see the consummation of the human capacity to configure this plurality of forces into the form of a singular will or purpose through the recognition in the present and projection into the future of historical force. Paul derives this ability from his heritage, being trained as both a Mentant and a Bene Gesserit as a child, and so accomplishes the hypercorporealization of his body at a remarkably young age. Early on, readers of Dune learn of Paul’s dreams, dreams of the future that he knows in some peculiar way to be true. His prescience is of an unprecedented order, rivaling that of a mature Mentat or a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother, and will only deepen in its capacity as the plot progresses. It is this prescience, like the materialization of power in melange, or agency in the body that executes its force, that embodies the historical sense, gives it flesh and effect in the figuration of a future from the matter of the past and the energy of present. And it is this presience in which the echoes of catastrophic bloodshed reverberate the loudest.

Paul is no hero. In Paul’s prescience Herbert projects the desire for total knowledge into his extrapolated universe, refiguring such trends as ‘Big Data’53 and ‘Big History,’54 those contemporary articulations of Laplace’s demon that, through its omniscience, can calculate the future.55 Such an ability is forever just beyond our reach, requiring an unknown, we might say, that is always not yet.56 Paul corporealizes this dream, harnessing in his body the plurality of his tradition and the commodity-power nexus of melange, becoming the organic bridge that makes available the perpetually removed future.57 But, as Herbert shows, this dream is not just a dream but a nightmare. As Paul wields that history which is other than his own (our first question, above), indwelling it and projecting himself and his world from it, drawing together the was, the now, and the not yet, ‘shortening the way,’58 conquering the known universe, embracing the messianic desires of the plurality of his others, the inevitable outcome is violence. A boy becomes a man becomes a murderer, guilty of over sixty billion casualties—a terrible purpose indeed. History allows Paul to draw together the forces of patrimony and lineage, effectuating them with supreme technological prowess, to bring about a never before seen “duration”59 of rule with catastrophic consequences.

Two questions arise: how could Paul do such a thing, and why does Herbert present his protagonist in such a way? As Herbert so poignantly makes clear, Paul struggles and struggles with his future. His abilities allow him to see what is to come, but as his powers increase and his knowledge becomes clearer, the possibility of other paths steadily close before him. The conflux of motivations narrows, becomes singular, the plurality of Being—those countless bodies that comprise it—shaped into a deadly instrument of the will. Relationships are excised from the complexity and freedom of their circumstances, the “traces of belonging to a network” erased.60 Total knowledge effects total power. Paul, who becomes such a power in himself through the hypercorporealization of his body as a social, political, historical instrument, accomplishes something of which technologists and economists and politicians have only a premonitory anticipation—a fusion, a configuration, of the will of the many into a truly General Will, a plural singularity, a Leviathan in whose body and through whose voice power is perfectly, totally actualized, the future finally grasped. Herbert prefigures no utopia. The world of Dune, projected from Herbert’s 1960’s America, is not hopeful. Dune refigures for us that so seemingly banal human tendency, the desire to know, at its most extreme, curiosity metastasized into an insatiable hunger for perfect comprehension and total vision.

So, then, Dune, the “Supreme Masterpiece” of science fiction, as the publisher declares on its cover, is the tragedy of human supremacy, figuring for its readers the catastrophic outcomes of power and desire. In his configuration of the social forces of his day into a narrative projected far into our future, Herbert accomplishes something remarkable—a critique of the human that simultaneously expresses a deep longing for it. Paul, despite everything, is no monster: this is the wound that Dune inflicts. Early on, Paul challenges the reverend Mother who would use him for her own purposes: ““You think I should be this Kwisatz Haderach,” he said. “You talk about me, but you haven’t said one thing about what we can do to help my father. I’ve heard you talking to my mother. You talk as though my father were dead. Well, he isn’t!””61 This is the tragic heart of Dune, and also the sign of Herbert’s great compassion. Paul the boy, Paul the heir, Paul the conqueror, Paul the messiah, is also a son, a son who loves his father, and wishes only for the preservation of the trace of that relationship. To read Dune is to come face to face with this desire, the desire for the other from whom we receive our history, the other who sees us and calls us by name. This is the otherwise that emerges from the violence of Herbert’s narrative, the “interstitial future”62 upon which no one can make a claim and which no one can fix in place.

Works Cited

Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Toward an Investigation),” in Critical Theory, edited by Robert Dale Parker. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012, 449-61.

Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988).

Cover, Robert M. “Violence and the Word,” Yale Law Journal 95, no. 8 (1986): 1601-1629.

Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. New York, NY: Routledge, 1994.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013 [1975].

Grant, George. Time as History. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1995.

Herbert, Frank. Dune. New York, NY: Ace Books, 1990 [1965].

Jameson, Fredric. Archaeologies of the Future. New York, NY: Verso, 2005.

Laplace, Pierre Simon. A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities.New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1902 [1814].

Karl Marx, Capital. London, UK: Penguin Classics, 1990.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. Being Singular Plural. Translated by Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. O’Byrne. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Polanyi, Michael. The Tacit Dimension. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

“What is Big Data?” IBM, (accessed December 2, 2016).

“What is Big History?” Big History Project, (accessed December 2, 2016).

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. San Diego, CA: World Cloud Classics, 2015 [1855].

White, Hayden. The Content of the Form. Baltimore, ML: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.


  1. Frank Herbert, Dune (New York, NY: Ace Books, 1990 [1965]), 17. 

  2. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (San Diego, CA: World Cloud Classics, 2015 [1855]), 83. 

  3. Herbert, Dune, Dedication. 

  4. See Frederic Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future (New York, NY: Verso, 2005) for an in-depth study of other such ‘histories.’ 

  5. This is Jameson’s project in Archaeologies of the Future, to assess the viability of ‘otherwise’ as a political project—specifically, of utopia—and it is Herbert’s project as well. Dune is dedicated to “the people whose labors go beyond ideas in to the realm of “real materials,”” a reference to the United States Department of Agriculture, whose work to combat climate change in Oregon in the 1950’s Herbert researched (Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, The Road to Dune, 2005, 264). See also Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (New York, NY: Routledge, 1994), for another theorization of ‘otherwise. 

  6. See Hayden White’s The Content of the Form (Baltimore, ML: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987) regarding plot and history (p. 21), and his discussion of Ricoeur for the relationship between “prefiguration” and “configuration” in the work of history, and the way these figures provide the past with meaning through the structure of narrative (p. 174). 

  7. George Grant, Time as History (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1995): the human creature accomplishes things in history by his “mastery through prediction over human and non-human nature” (p. 16, my emphasis). 

  8. Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future. 

  9. See Bhabha’s The Location of Culture for a vision of this new, “interstitial future” that “emerges in-between the claims of the past and the needs of the present” to render the “future ... (once again) an open question” (pp. 313-14). 

  10. Herbert, Dune, 840. 

  11. Ibid., 19. 

  12. Ibid., 6. 

  13. Ibid., 837. 

  14. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988), 117. “A place (lieu) is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are distributed in relationships of coexistence.” 

  15. Ibid., 44. 

  16. Ibid. 

  17. Ibid., 48. 

  18. Ibid. 

  19. Ibid., 55. 

  20. Ibid. 

  21. Ibid., 117. 

  22. Herbert, Dune, 162. 

  23. De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 55. 

  24. Herbert, Dune, 836, 843. 

  25. Ibid., 845. 

  26. Ibid., 848. 

  27. Ibid. 

  28. Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1966). 

  29. Ibid., 6. 

  30. De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 55. 

  31. Herbert, Dune, 846. 

  32. Ibid., 861. 

  33. Karl Marx, Capital (London, UK: Penguin Classics, 1990, 165). 

  34. Ibid. 

  35. Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Toward an Investigation),” in Critical Theory, ed. Robert Dale Parker (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012), 449-61. 

  36. Ibid., 456: “all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects, by the functioning of the category of the subject” (Althusser’s emphasis). That “call” that renders the individual a “concrete subject” is itself a “concrete” force in Dune. 

  37. Robert M. Cover, “Violence and the Word,” Yale Law Journal 95, no. 8 (1986): 1619. 

  38. Herbert, Dune, 17. 

  39. Ibid. 

  40. Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), xv. 

  41. Ibid., xvi. 

  42. See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013 [1975]), for an inquiry into the role of tradition in human existence. 

  43. Ibid., 247. 

  44. Herbert, Dune, 835. 

  45. De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 55: the body “generates duration (through its fertility)”, which contributes to the consolidation of the proper place. 

  46. Herbert, Dune, 847. 

  47. Ibid. 

  48. Ibid., 849. 

  49. Ibid., 847. 

  50. White, The Content of the Form, 82. 

  51. Gadamer, Truth and Method, 464-65: “all human thought about the world is historically conditioned.” Humans always act from a position, a situation. 

  52. Ibid. 

  53. “What is Big Data?” IBM, (accessed December 2, 2016): “Big data is being generated by everything around us at all times. Every digital process and social media exchange produces it. Systems, sensors and mobile devices transmit it. Big data is arriving from multiple sources at an alarming velocity, volume and variety. To extract meaningful value from big data, you need optimal processing power, analytics capabilities and skills.” 

  54. “What is Big History?” Big History Project, (accessed December 2, 2016): “Big History examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future. It's a story about us. An idea that arose from a desire to go beyond specialized and self-contained fields of study to grasp history as a whole. This growing, multi-disciplinary approach is focused on high school students, yet designed for anyone seeking answers to the big questions about the history of our Universe.” 

  55. Pierre Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1902), 4: “We ought then to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its anterior state and as the cause of the one which is to follow. Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings who compose it—an intelligence sufficiently vast to submit these data to analysis—it would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atom; for it, nothing would be uncertain and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes.” 

  56. Herbert, Dune, 847. As the Kwisatz Haderach, Paul is the “Shortening of the Way,” the “unknown,” the “bridge.” 

  57. Ibid. 

  58. Ibid. 

  59. De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 5. 

  60. Ibid., 44. 

  61. Herbert, Dune, 26. 

  62. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 313. 

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