Fear Is The Mind-Killer - How Dune Changed My Life | oddBS

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear."

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Transcript excerpts:
It came as something of a surprise to hear that Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel, Dune, is being remade into a new film. In honor of this new Dune remake that has been dubbed the “Star Wars for adults,” I’ve been reflecting on the impact that Dune has had on my life, which is surprisingly no small amount.

While it’s not very often that I can say that a novel has had a noticeable impact on my life, Dune is easily one of the only books that come to mind when I think of an artistic piece of work that has directly altered my mindset and course of thinking.

In a genuine way, I can say that Dune has improved my life. While I don’t have a great memory and can’t remember every story detail or plot point of Dune, there is a recited litany and a line of dialogue that has on many occasions forced me to consciously question my future and how I was going to approach it.

The first thing that I draw on from Dune is not in any way unique. This litany is revered by Dune fans the world over because of it’s powerful mental call to action against the unknown. It is known as the Litany Against Fear, and it goes as follows:

“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.”
This fictional litany stood out to me in a profound way as a young man. The wording of this phrase is unique and compelling.

If taken literally, fear literally kills the mind. In a way, I think this is physically true. I’m not a neurologist, but it makes sense to me that every time we let fear take total control of our minds, we’re losing a battle against ourselves and our own interests which can negatively impact our brain and how it functions in the future.

The litany is not saying that it’s wrong to experience fear, but that we have to acknowledge fear for what it is. Fear is meant to make us stop and evaluate our circumstances.

However, fear, if permitted, can also prevent us from doing the bold thing that may enrich our lives. Fear is meant to protect against danger, and yet, doing dangerous things can often lead to even greater happiness and success.

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