Written in the Sand
Dune, Book One, Chapter Three part 3
It’s All Plumbing
Today we’re going to talk politics. Specifically, We’re going to talk about the Tripod that Mohaim mentions, and we’ll go from there. This will not be a resource link heavy episode, because where I want to go with this is mostly speculation based on observance.
We will also be bringing up another aspect of the Bene Gesserit.
What are the three Parts of the Empire?
The primary part is the Landsraad, compromised of ruling families, which we have gone over, the second is the Emperor with his command of the fanatical Sardukar Army which we have also discussed. The third pillar of the empire is the Spacing Guild, which is new for us. What the Spacing Guild Commands is travel. All interstellar travel, and their monopoly is absolute. To go from planet to planet requires contracting with the guild, which means without the guild, there is no Empire.
The reason the guild has a monopoly is because of the lack of science in the general society. After the lessons learned from the previous age of Intelligent Machines, the entire society is paranoid regarding scientific advancement, especially machines that can think, or even appear to think. There are no computers to navigate the dangers of space. No computers means no one can replace direct human control. The guild is the only institution that produces and trains human minds advanced enough to navigate the cosmos.
The Landsraad commands through money, the Emperor commands by military threat, and the guild controls through knowledge. Each can destroy the other two. This is why Mohaim says that the tripod is unstable.
We have examples in history of Triumvirate styles of government. All have been temporary. Some have ended violently, while others were meant only as transitional governments to begin with. The violent endings have usually been power grabs from within the triumvirate.
The First Triumvirate, the source of the term, was in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar, Pompey, and some other guy whose name you probably don’t know. Many of you may only barely know the name of Pompey. The reason this triumvirate failed is because Julius Caesar and Pompey ousted the third guy first, and then they set against each other; Caesar won. Yes, we almost got saddled with a Pompey salad.
After Caesar’s assassination, the triumvirate was tried again, this time with Octavius, Marc Antony, and another guy who you probably don’t remember. History repeated itself.
The tripod can only exist if all three legs are equal. In Dune, the legs are not equal. The only reason that the tripod in Dune does not collapse is because the Guild does not seek to dominate, it only seeks to exist.
I know some of you probably thought that the Emperor would be the most powerful pillar, but he is not. The Emperor and the Landsraad cannot function without transport. Transport equals trade. Without trade, the Landsraad becomes stranded planets bereft of foreign materials that keep them functioning. The Emperor is only Emperor if he can reach his subjects. The Guild is the key to the entire structure.
continued in podcast…
The relevant book for the episode will always be in resources. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you should.
This the actual text of a study about the flaws in our understanding of Psychology. This is the study that inspired me to look closer into cultural underpinnings of basic psychology.
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” Performed by the US Coast Guard Band Used under Public License
“Industrial Music Box”
by Kevin McCloud (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License