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
A few minor variations to the Litany Against Fear appear throughout Dune: sometimes it’s marked to begin as “I shall not fear…” and there also exists a variation to the sixth sentence “And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path.”
(Personally, chanting and reciting is not for me.
When I think of using the Litany Against Fear, I use it more as a mantra than as a litany: I go through the mental motions defined by it (as many times I prefer), but mentally only vocalize these words: “Only I remain.”
There’s a bit too much use of future tense in the Litany for my taste, so I tend to omit ‘will’.)
I find the Litany Against Fear to be a remarkable tool; the most remarkable thing is its incredible usefulness. As a knife is useful in physical reality, the Litany is useful in psychological reality.
When fear sets in, the mind is in chaos. To get things started again, its simplicity and its form as a litany (it requires only non-demanding act of remembrance to boot) is appropriate.
In the midst of hostile nothingness, the Litany Against Fear creates a foothold.
Try it sometimes: when faced by a fear, let the words of the Litany Against Fear guide your attention.
As mentats have axioms and swordmasters have attitudes – the Bene Gesserit have the Litany Against Fear.
These building blocks unfold structures, patterns of possibilities. When used properly, these structures are powerful and magnificent tools.
But, by merely presupposing building blocks, weaknesses are created as well.
The only completely dynamic pattern is Consciousness itself; other structures are static to a variable degree.
By supposing axioms, mentats get blind spots in their mental vision.
By assuming attitudes, swordmasters become predictable.
By balancing by the fearlessness of the Litany, Bene Gesserit witches develop a different kind of fear.
Just where exactly lies the Bene Gesserit weakness?
The building block, the Litany Against Fear is dominantly feminine. Thus, what unfolds is a dominantly female society with a mental/emotional space where they dare not look.
Why is the Litany dominantly feminine?
It presupposes a perspective where the user is passive and the world is active. (I.e. fear is destruction that happens to you by the outside world.)
The masculine counterpart of the Litany would be one which presupposes a perspective where the user is active and the world is passive. (I.e. fear is destruction that happens to the outside world by you.)
In the Dune world, a being who is able to move into both places is named Kwisatz Haderach.
There exists no separation between men and god; one blends softly casual into the other – the Kwisatz Haderach stage would be somewhere in the middle; a usable human-form for a god.
A Kwisatz Haderach changes the world as well as self. Death is preferred to being alive and unable to do so.
By these standards, Leto II is the person who is most assuredly – a god.