'I Must Not Fear...' - The Litany against Fear from Dune by Frank Herbert
By Gregory Starbuck, Jul 23 2018 10:48AM
“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.”
Bene-Gesserit 'Litany against Fear' - Dune (1965), Frank Herbert.
I first became aware of 'DUNE' with the David Lynch film release in 1984. This was a sci-fi adventure unlike anything I had seen previously. This was far from Star Wars, or Star Trek.
Within the story of feudal control over a life prolonging and mind altering substance called 'Melange' resides a religous order entirely made up of women known as the Bene-Gesserit Sisterhood.
As part of their training and rite of passage from acolyte to Sister, they must master the art of Self-Control.
'The Litany against Fear' is perhaps one of the most notable elements of this training, and routed in psychology at a time when the book was written of burgeoning modern awareness of the self, and how to develop one's own sense of awareness
Mental Health is now becoming the ubiquitous subject of our time, individuals are looking for ways to manage and reduce their stress, and importantly their fear.
'The Litany against Fear' is rather a lot to say in a situation where one might be feeling anxious or panicky, so what exactly is it saying?
'I must not Fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obiteration' essentially this is saying there is no benefit in feeling scared, anxious, panicked or fearful of something, that to not face or confront the very thing that arouses these thoughts and responses in us is to destroy our own resilience and inner strength.
Therefore, '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.', which means I will reflect upon myself and the actions I have taken, I will learn what there is to learn about myself.
'Where it has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain', in other words, I will become stronger by the experience and the knowledge I have gained of myself.
Perhaps you can create your own litany or mantra for dealing with anxiety or fear, and become stronger too.