3 Life Lessons from the SciFi Novel Dune
Frank Herbert’s Science Fiction Epic is a Blueprint for Life
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In the months preceding the release of Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation, I decided to revisit the source material: Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune. The imaginative story is a classic example of “the hero’s journey” as young Paul Atreides travels to a new planet, suffers a devastating betrayal, endures the loss of friends and family, and fights to reclaim his birthright. The events play out on the desert planet of Arrakis, home to a mysterious community of nomads, giant worm-like creatures, and a psychedelic substance known as “spice” that is critical to the intergalactic balance of power.
Like every great work of fiction, Dune conveys several important life lessons in addition to its exotic settings, mystical powers, and epic battles. Here are three that resonate with me every time I read Dune.
Fear is To Be Overcome
“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.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune
Fear and anxiety are natural elements of the human experience. In order to overcome whatever challenges come our way and grow as a person, we must not let fear paralyze us. The “little death” that results when you give in to your fear is regret… regret of inaction, words unsaid, goals abandoned, and mountains unclimbed.
For more on overcoming your fears, consider reading the following books:
- Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Confidence Gap: A Guide To Overcoming Fear And Self-Doubt by Russ Harris
Change is an Opportunity
“Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune
Change may seem like a natural part of life, but how we navigate it often determines our success in both our personal relationships and careers. Fear of change leads to inertia and stagnation, and this often hinders progress towards achieving your goals. Success may require moving cross-country, starting a side hustle, joining the great resignation, or chasing your dreams in other ways.
For more on dealing with change, consider reading the following book:
- Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
Never Stop Learning
“It is so shocking to find out how many people do not believe that they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune
Upgrading existing skills and learning new ones is a key characteristic of high performers in every profession. These individuals have mastered the art of adaptation, and constantly strive for new or better ways to approach their craft. The adage “never stop learning” is applicable to both creative and technical professions.
For more on continued learning, consider reading the following books:
I always advise reading the book before watching the movie version, but perhaps I can make an exception for the movie trailers below!
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Classic DUNE 1984 Trailer
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