Dune "Mantra": 'Fear is the Mind-killer'

I am not a big Sci-Fi fan, first of all, so forgive me if I get the details wrong in trying to ask this queston.

In the first movie version of Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, there is a character who recites a sort of mantra or prayer including the words “Fear is the mind-killer”. Does anyone have the complete text of this?

Was it just something this character made up for himself or was it supposed to be quasi-religious in nature, like the guy belonged to a secret society of some kind?

Is it in the book, or was it something devised by the screenwriters?

Reading the book at the moment, and so far (p216 out of 562) I have not come across this phrase… but the story is just getting started…


lol, it’s on p.19 in mine :slight_smile: . (When he puts his hand in the box to be tested).

Sounds very Zen to me, but I didn’t turn up anything on a quick google, so?

Just type “the Litany of Fear” into any search engine

Still does more for me than all the “Hail Marys”…

But don’t take any notice of me - I find profound truths in the HG2G. :slight_smile:

BTW, if you haven’t read the Dune series you won’t understand any references to the Bene Gesserit.

It’s also repeated in a couple of the other books in the Dune series - in context, of course.

But I have never seen or heard the mantra, or anything similar, anywhere else but in a Dune volume.

Oddly enough, the first place I think I came across the mantra was not in a Dune book, but on the short-lived Earthworm Jim Satuday morning cartoon. The little dog would say it before he turned into a bug mutant dog.

[sub]Does anyone else remember this? Or is it yet another one of my hallucinatory childhood memories?[/sub]

or a big mutant dog…

** Big Mutant Dog**, appearing tonight for one night only just tonight at the Odeon !!!

:smiley: :smiley:

It’s actually Zen-Sunni, a successor religion/philosophy of Zen and Sunni Islam.

The Dune Encyclopedia is an excellent source for more information. Unfortunately, it’s long out-of-print, but your local library may still have a copy.

I remember that! I thought it was a drug induced memory - my roomies and I (all dune fanatics) were coming back to reality one morning watching cartoons when I saw that cartoon!

The character in question (Paul) did not make it up himself. His mother was a member of a (sort of) secret society of women. At the begining of the story, she (sort of) illicitly taught him some of thier “tricks”, one of which was that “the Litany of Fear” which helps them remain focused and calm under stress. As for it being quasi-religious, we as readers might think so, but the “secret society” in the book treats religion as a “tool” to control other people, and would consider that mantra as more of a mnemonic aid than a religious rite.

I am not a SF fan of any magnitude, but I did read and see Dune as a youngster, and that mantra stuck with me. I use that philosophy quite a bit (not the exact wording, but the idea). Fear does cloud the mind and prevents rational thinking. Respect Fear, and the causes of Fear, but do not let it cripple your mind, because your mind is what will get you beyond that which caused the Fear in the first place.

Great! Confirmation!

Bene Gesserit Grazie, dopers!

BTW, I had no idea it was spelled “Bene Gesserit”. I had only seen the movies, and so assumed it was something like “Benejeserit”, perhaps mutated by the author from “bene Jesuit”.

So does “Earthworm Jim” pre- or post-date the Dune book?

Oh yeah, I remembered it from when Paul Astrides put his hand in the box, but more from when the Doctor character (played by Brad Souris?) is riding in a sort of overhead tram box to go see the evil Baron Harkonnen.

I have to conclude that the Litany was known outside the BG order if the Doctor knew it.

Sorry about the character name misspellings, but I only know Dune from TV.

Thanks again, y’all.

Dune, 1965
Earthworm Jim, 1994

I have read interviews w/ Brian Herbert (Frank’s son) that indicate that “Gesserit” was indeed morphed from “Jesuit.”

MMMMmmm…no. Piter deVries (sp?) was not a “doctor” but a Mentat: IIRC, they were the human-computer/assassins who took the “Juice of Safoo” (sp?) to give them enhanced mental computation abilities. The litany Piter recites, as near as I can recall without reference material, was:

It is by will alone that I undertake this ritual. It is by the Juice of Saffoo that thoughts acquire speed, that lips acquire stains, that stains become a warning…

Frank Herbert was a demon for rituals and litanies. I’d hate to hear what these people had to do just to go to the bathroom.