Gregory Starbuck

Counselling Service

Newry Court, Chester, CH2 2AZ

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I am currently working on some posts so please check back again soon for hopefully some interesting reading and points of contemplation

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.

By Gregory Starbuck, May 3 2017 10:24AM


As a definition, minimal refers to something being in its most reduced form, the least, a token, nominal, small.

As an art movement beginning in the 1950’s minimalism was about simplicity, stripping away of embellishments, creating avant-garde objects in large form to emphasise the lack of adornment.

In interior design, we might think of modernist design as being minimalist, furniture that fuses utility and simplicity, into the essence of its form.

So, minimalism is not a new concept, but it is a concept which addresses the anxieties and stresses of our 21st century way of life.

Most of us carry our entire social sphere around in a tiny touchscreen device. We can look upon the world through these tiny windows, on average only a few inches across.

Anything is possible, at any time of the day.

No longer do we have the exciting anticipation, waiting for the delivery of new items of clothing or some other thing that is purchased from a mail order company, now it is virtually instantaneous.

I often hear in my therapy room about social anxiety. Clients worrying about, am I doing the right thing, saying the right thing, looking the right way?

These tiny windows of technology enable us to view a ‘perfect’ world full of people living seemingly amazing lives, and you can have this all too if you ‘look the right way, say the right thing, do the same as everyone else’.

I recently watched a documentary called ‘Minimalism’ about two men in America, who had climbed the corporate ladder, made some money, and had lots of ‘stuff’, but didn’t have happiness.

The documentary follows the journey of these two men from state to state, promoting their book ‘The Minimalists’, along the way interviews are conducted with others who have also taken the step to ‘edit’ the world they inhabit, and take it back to the essentials.

The point of the documentary isn’t just about living in a space with the bare minimum of belongings, although that is part of it, but it goes further to promote a greater global awareness of minimalization.

Consuming less from the environment, consuming fewer products, and maximising our relationships.

Driving the point home the documentary features footage of crowds of ‘shoppers’ on Black Friday. Scenes that are shocking in the extreme of people fighting over goods in stores, not because they ‘need’ it, but because they don’t want to miss out on a great deal.

So if you are feeling like you need to change the way you live, watch ‘Minimalism’, and be inspired.

Minimalism (image credit 'the minimalists'
Minimalism (image credit 'the minimalists'
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Gregory Starbuck

Counselling Service