The Unconscious Layered Society

[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)

30 thoughts on “The Unconscious Layered Society

  1. George F.

    That was brilliant! I’ll have to re-read DUNE with this interpretation front and center. Brilliant I tell you…and yes I agree…not being a sandworm myself…I recognize the slave services that I am forced to endure…

      1. George F.

        It’s on my reading list now. I missed your interpretation entirely…but I was like in HS when I first read it, something like that…

  2. rawgod

    Fortunately, (Ancient) Greekism is not everywhere in our world, yet. Many countries are fairly free of the disease, and others pay but lip-service to it. Are there antidotes to it? Yes, if applied at the proper time. Like alcoholism, one needs to admit they are sandtrout before they can stop being sandtrout. Not all sandtrout are ready to admit that. If you were to ask my opinon, I might guess at about ten per millon. That would be about 72,000. Depending on how you look at it, that can either be a large number, or a small one. The way I look at it, it is larger than 1, and that is the most importhant thing…

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hey rawgod, I’m having problems connecting your comment to the basic theme of the post. First, I couldn’t find any definition for “greekism” so that remains in the dark. As for the math on “awakening” sandtrout, that makes more sense. However, and note, any awakening sandtrout within the system is automatically added to the elitist apparatus, in other words, that “smart sandtrout” is now on the way to become a giant sandworm. From that point of view, nothing changes, it’s a repeating ecological cycle. For there to be any real change, an awakening sandtrout would have to morph itself into other than the current life-cycle of Dune. It chooses not to become a sandworm, but evolves itself into something “else”. That would be how I would interpret Herbert’s philosophy of “change” and how I see the future of mankind on this world: a mutation and morphing into something altogether different than what lays claim to this world at the moment. So different will be the new humans of earth after the coming “extinction event” that they will not even seek to know about their miserable past history but ignore it entirely. It will be as gigantic a step in mutation as the one that “created” Homo Sapiens Sapiens and saw the end of Neanderthal. 

      1. rawgod

        (Ancient) Greekism = soul-less society. As much as I do not like the word “soul,” it speaks more to reality than would “spirit-less.” While Eastern philosophies were delving into the depths of spirit 5000 years ago, Greek philosophers were ignoring the spirit, and trying to make the individual all-important. Where would humanity be today if the Greeks had taken the paths explored by the East? A much better place to be, would be my thought. There would be no sandworm/sandtrout dichotomy, capitalism would probably never have arisen, nor would religion ever have become the go-to “zeitgeist” of the age. Your layered society might never have come into existence.
        But it has, so we must deal with it…
        I tried to stick to your sandworm/sandtrout analogy, but it doesn’t play for me. You and I, and others like us cannot be sandworms, yet we are certainly not sandtrout. We are the stirrers of the sand, the “free-men” of Arrakis, the ones who know how the system works, but who live apart from it. The “fremen” of Dune are the game changers, the bringers of water, the bringers of life. That is our job, our responsibility. We ride Shai Hulud, we steer it where we want it to go. But we are still few, the 72,000 out of the 7.2 billion sandtrout, as you wont to call them. But like the available water of Dune, we are growing, slowly but assuredly. Your layered society will not stand before the onslaught. Shai Hulud and the sandtrout must die in the end.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Three cheers, a brilliant conclusion to the original analogy!  Thanks for explaining Greekism. 

      3. Sha'Tara Post author

        I meant to quote that oft-repeated line in Dune: “And we will change the face of Arrakis” They certainly did and the great sand worms died away under the 4000 year reign of the “god” – Leto the Second. 

      4. rawgod

        They changed the face, but did they change what is behind, or underneath, that face? I don’t remember myself, but then it is years since I last read the Dune series. I may have forgotten.

      5. Sha'Tara Post author

        On or about 5000 years later, after the reign and death of the god Leto II, Dune was “slagged” and all its life killed off by the returning “Honored Matres” who were the scattered descendents of Leto’s female “Fish Speakers” whom he’s sent out to pacify the universe with their female wiles, a ploy that worked for his entire reign then ended when he died. The Honored Matres were a male-hating parasitical and deadly military force that was fleeing the return of the “Machine Civilization” or a new AI controlled universe.  If you remember, one of the main points in “Dune” was that “thinking machines” were proscribed in the entire universe, hence why the spice, mentats and Bene Gesserit “witches” did so well as there was no other way to calculate the future travel space but with human brains. The last book, Chapter House, is very interesting.  Herbert’s inheritors wrote additional material to fill in the blanks and conclude was is, all in all a fantastic series. But like J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” too complex for movie theatres. To answer your question, at the very end there is an “entente” between the invading AI’s and all types of humanity in a universe that was almost destroyed. I don’t think Herbert saw any definite change, i.e., non-cyclical.  Few, except those who believe in heaven or nirvana care to engage a new world where instead of revolution you have real and steady mind evolution. (Yes, I mean mind, not spirit – we agree to disagree on that, right?)

      6. rawgod

        I truly don’t know how you define mind, but to me it is the thinking part of me, still tied to this realm until it sinks into the spirit-bank, at which time it ends.
        Spirit is the “knowing” part of me, that which stores the learned lessons from life on this realm.
        The difference is mainly that what the mind (IMO) thinks about, what shoes to wear, which colour top, which TV show to watch, what the hell Dumpy is up to today–none of that is pertinent in the spiritual realm.
        Spirit and mind to me have a symbiotic relationship, for the mind is capable of considering the infinite when it is linked to the spirit, using the knowledge that the spirit provides. It is a conduit from spirit to the biological world, but yet mind cannot advance into the spirit-bank stage, because the spirit-bank is already filled with all the spirits of other beings, so Jerry M. will not be existant after mind-death but rawgod will, but under some other name.
        In me, Jerry and rawgod have worked out an essential peace. Jerry knows he will die, but his life has contributed to rawgod, who is part of the infinite spirit. Rawgod, meanwhile, shows appreciation for everything Jerry does for him while still on the physical plane. Without Jerry, rawgod could not be viable here. Jerry is a very necessary part of life. But he is temporary, rawgod is forever.

        Regarding Dune, I don’t remember where Frank stops and his son takes over, but I did not like the change. Frank was an artist, his son, at least at that time, was a wordsmith. He made the words talk, yes, but he didn’t make them feel, not for me.

      7. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for that ‘splanation rawgod. What you call “mind” is what I would call brain. What you understand as “spirit” is what I call mind. The difference (real for me) is that spirit is life, or the Source, whereas Mind is what peoples (for lack of a better concept) the cosmos. Mind is individual as there are individuations within the cosmos, and in my cosmology, the cosmos is all that was, is, and will be, without beginning or end. Spirit is unknowable (at this point in my understanding) whereas mind is approachable, and connectable… when I acquire the language to do the connecting with. As a mind, I’m on an eternal journey, ever changing, ever learning and when I look at myself that way, it can get pretty exciting. Having already had many tastes of what it’s like “out there” even beyond this universe, I’m amazed at the miracle of my own beingness, just to exist, as a separate entity that can meet and converse with others throughout infinity… just like yourself as rawgod. I know what you mean about the Dune series but I didn’t care that the following “gap fillers” were more technical – by then I could easily fill in the missing drama. I liked being able to get some backgrounder and some continuation after Chapter House.

      8. rawgod

        Hey, S’T,
        I had a feeling we were discussing the same thing just using different words.
        Our cosmologies are a bit different, but being as we are “Earthian,” to use your language, it is hard to know what is beyond the Veil.

      9. Sha'Tara Post author

        It is damned difficult to unravel what lies behind the veil but at least some of us work at it with intent to expose the wizard. Now where’s that yellow brick road? 

  3. franklparker

    I think the flaw in your argument is in the notion that ‘they’ are in control. It’s a bit like believing in gods. It’s all out of control. After all, ‘they’ are not homogeneous but hold opposing views about what is (or is not) good for ‘us’.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Point taken for your view of the big picture, certainly but though they violently and vilely compete with each other, they know enough to keep their system working to their constant advantage, so yes to that extent they are in control of the masses.  The lead dog of a wild pack controls the pack, not the farmer with the shotgun,  but what matters is the pack – that’s the system. Another example, what has WASP American hegemony in common with the Saudis? And yet. … 

  4. Pingback: Dune And The Unconscious Layered Society | AGR Daily 60 Second News Bites

  5. kertsen

    The world is a wealth pyramid and the richest countries occupy the top portions. The number of cars for 1000 head of population in America it is 910 while in India it is 50. What we call the western democracies are by far the richest nations with enormously high standards of living compared to the third world.
    Human endeavour is to climb the pyramid and the bottom layer contains the destitute. To paint a picture of a them and us scenario is incorrect there is only one human race. I was fortunate enough to be born into a rich country , the UK which put me near the top at birth.
    Asked an aging retired man I’m now considerably below the poverty line yet in the top 2% in global terms. I here a lot about moral rectitude written on the internet and a political left that blames everything on the rich without realising many of them are themselves part of that rich.
    I speculate what is the cost of a heart transplant ? I wonder how many lives of the destitute it would save ? What about the cost of the new James Webb Telescope ?

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I don’t know anymore. All I think I know is, I must “think” compassion and practice it, in thoughts, words and deeds at every and all opportunity. I can’t change the world, I can take a horse to water but I can’t make it drink. I can only change myself and if I am thirsty, I can drink. I point things out that are wrong and I do spend time explaining, sometimes in detail, how we could rectify our wrongs, and I will most likely continue to do so, pointing out the “wrongs” of society, and explaining how those can be righted. When it comes to the doing though, it’s entirely up to me, as an individual, to choose how that’s going to happen. If I choose to take a rope and go down a deep well to save someone, I don’t want a whole bunch of people sliding down the rope behind me… that would only cause the rope to break and then we’d all drown…

  6. kertsen

    Of course you know your very intelligent and with years of experience and it is not true that you can only change yourself , tell that to any politician. Didn’t Donald Trump change America , wheelers and dealers are every where even on WordPress. The boys in Thailand went into the cave and caused a mind- bending problem ; what field day for the press it almost displaced the world cup and I had to put my waistcoat in the wardrobe.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hi Kersten, I think that when you mentioned Trump, you made my argument for me! I don’t mean that sort of change, but more in keeping with your other comment on shepherding, which I replied to on the tablet – hope that went through, I’m juggling emails between three devices here: netbook, tablet and smart phone. I lose track of what got said, where! The thing is, if by some kind of “force” (usually demagoguery) an individual did manage to create some positive change, such change has no lasting value. Some famous change agents I could mention: Jesus, Gandhi, and even MLK Junior whose sacrifices and powerful speeches and example had an effect upon that most racist of countries, the USA only to see those changes being incrementally rolled back as I write this, and that isn’t all D. Trump’s doing. The nation’s “heart” wasn’t in the change, it was a popular movement that resulted in changes made to laws, and how laws were interpreted and all that eventually becomes force. A shepherd uses force to make change, including dogs! But the sheep never learn and they keep on relying on a shepherd, or good fences. Any lasting change can only come from the changed heart of each and every individual. All I’ve ever said over the years is, OK, look at me: I’ve made the change and if I can do it, so can anybody, and that means anybody, any age, any gender, any economic situation. Such change as I’ve been advocating and demonstrating depends entirely on individual will and individual choice, and it’s a daily choice. When it comes from preaching, peer pressure or law enforcement, that’s the surest way to guarantee your change won’t last.

  7. The Burning Blogger Of Bedlam

    Great writing, fascinating theme. Embarrassingly I’ve only ever seen the film of ‘Dune’: which I will have to correct soon.

  8. kertsen

    You rightly point out you cannot produce a permanent change in human nature, unless a man be born again is the key scripture that points this out. External forces , like powerful preachers and life examples appear to produce an effect but back sliding is inevitable.
    Italy is why forgiveness is so important and essential for us morally flawed human beings. The curious thing is that these great teachers know this to be true because they are themselves flawed humans , but to the average among us they appear perfect.
    This imperfection in us all is often used to manipulate us for good or for evil and that is why it is so important that we can recognise this manipulation and call it out. It is also important that we look inside ourselves and see our own moral weaknesses because self – awareness helps us to become overcomers.
    If we hand over our lives to a religion or any system to relieve personal pressure our lives will lack lustre , people will be aware of our attempt to escape our own natural predicament for the sake of inner peace. Freud was right ‘ we are at war with ourselves ‘ and we must take up the fight while we live.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Quote: “This imperfection in us all is often used to manipulate us for good or for evil and that is why it is so important that we can recognise this manipulation…”  That is the key point. Controlling institutions thrive on this sort of control. Thanks for a great comment, Kertsen.


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