[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
You look at man’s “society” and what do you see? One society? One group? One race of people more or less acting in unison, seeing as they are all “trapped” on one little world from which the only escape is death – the firmly held belief this is a final separation from its society, its uniform oneness?
No! That’s not how it is. Man’s earth is made up of a two-ply society: the visible and the unconscious. The one that matters, and the one that makes the one that matters possible.
I realize not everyone is as familiar with the Dune books by Frank Herbert as I am, but some at least have seen the movies. Well, forget the movies, they never get to the gist of his philosophy. If you’ve read through the material several times (the complete works are six volumes averaging four hundred pages each) you begin to extract some of what Herbert was demonstrating. Ignoring the recurring teaching about religion, government and economics that form the gist of the material, I’ll just give a very brief look at the ecology of the planet Arrakis or Dune as it is popularly known.
Dune is a completely dry planet. Never a drop of rain, no open water – just desert. And yet, open salt pans indicate that in some distant past, Dune had been a “normal” world with open seas and rivers. But in the year 10,191 which opens the saga, Dune is utter desert and its one source of wealth is the spice. The spice, produced by the giant sandworm Shai-Hulud, is a drug to man. Spice addiction produces many interesting side effects, among which is the ability to see through space and time. Another is the marked prolongation of life. Enough on that.
The interesting aspect of Dune is its ecology. Why no water? Where did it go? The people who lived on Dune, the Fremen, had discovered that a haploid creature they called a sandtrout had the ability to link itself to itself and block the flow of any moisture it encountered. This rarely seen underground creature formed a symbiotic relationship with sand and sand worm. It was responsible for blocking the flow of water from rising to the surface of the planet: the water was trapped below this living mantle several hundred meters below the sand. The reason for this was simple: the sand trout was a pre-worm form which the giant worms evolved from – and note: water was a deadly poison to the mighty sandworm which could not exist on any “natural” world – even in great deserts as are known on earth – without the constant protection of the sand trout. So the worm roamed the sands of Arrakis as lord and master of his domain while totally dependent upon the countless numbers of the lowly sandtrout for his survival.
Two layers of basically the same lifeform, but what a difference in expression!
Now think of earth, of Earthians, as a society and you see exactly that same “ecology” at work. For the elitist (Worm) society to exist, a vast network of mindless drones, workers, slaves (sandtrout) society must exist below the visible layer. Sand worm and sand trout – made of the same substance but relegated to two entirely different layers of life, the massive underground layer mindlessly blocking any kind of force or power that could “poison” the tiny visible minority that rules the planet.
On Dune, the layering is natural: the unicell organism, the sandtrout knows its purpose and can do nothing but what it is designed to do: block water from flowing through to the surface of the planet. In return, the sandtrout owes its life to the sand-worm because periodically, the great worm discharges itself from massive amounts of internal “ashes” which is the spice. If that spice isn’t collected, it ferments and there is a “spice blow” from which the sandtrout is created. On Dune, that has become a regular and natural cycle.
Are there “spice blows” on earth? Of course. Sub-societies go through cycles of change, through revolutions, wars, plagues, invasions and so on. During these events, the ruling “Worms” revitalize the “sandtrouts” and goad them to willingness to sacrifice themselves by the millions so the ruling “Worms” can pretend to create a “new” order.
It’s as natural a cycle as the sandtrout-worm cycle depicted by Frank Herbert.
Apart from the obvious wars and conquest entered into by the ruling “Worms” of earth, how do they keep the sandtrout working for them? Well, they lie. They make a lot of noise; they advertise and they entertain. They maintain a sort of pie-in-the-sky “law and order” system of force and have prisons and military institutions designed to create fear and a false sense of security at the same time. They use religion, science, technology, health care, economics and education to create false hope for the “trout.” It can be made to believe it needs saving, a condition that guarantees a sweet life after death. It can be made to believe it can have a long and healthy life. It can even be made to hope that it too can become a mighty ruling Worm. The “Worm” society stick is sometimes long, sometimes short; the carrot can be small, big, or tied in a bunch and sometimes the stick is a whip, but the result is always predictably the same: the trout will protect the Worm because it is brainwashed to do so and it “believes” without the least need of any shred of evidence, that in doing so it makes life possible for itself.
And perhaps that is all the trout can ever hope to achieve. Certainly under the current societal “ecology” that remains a truism.
“This world is basically a cesspool of misogyny, male entitlement, and deeply demented gender constructs accepted as casual fact by outrageously large swaths of the human population. (All our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai)