Dialogue as Action
January 26, 2023
The Middle
February 9, 2023

The Mind-Killer

Photo by Ivan Obolensky

Frank Herbert wrote the novel, Dune, in 1965. Sales were dismal after its release, and critics didn’t take to it either. The publisher, Chilton Books, eventually wrote off the costs, and fired Sterling Lanier, the editor who’d championed it. The novel would have languished in obscurity had it not gained popularity through word of mouth. Critical acclaim followed, and the rest is history.

I read the novel in the 1970s, and it became one of my favorites. The words, fear is the mind-killer, have always stayed with me. They spoke a deep truth and still do.

Pick any major newspaper over the last 100 years and go through it. It was bad then, and it’s bad now. The difference is in the volume, not the content.

Now consider this, if fear really is the mind killer, then why is fear promoted so stridently? Why are we made to feel afraid? If you conclude that maybe we’re not supposed to think, you’re not alone.

Frank Herbert wrote the following:

“He recalled the response from the Litany against Fear as his mother taught him out of the Bene Gesserit rite.

“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.”

                From Chapter 1, Dune (1965) Frank Herbert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *