Of Fremen and Individualism – an observation

I ran this “essay” a couple of years ago on this blog, but most people “following” now weren’t following then.  Plus, I’ve done some mega revising, so, if you have the time, read and ponder.  And if you have even more time, let me know what you think, and where you believe my rationale is faulty.  That’s what blogging is all about.  

   Of Fremen and Individualism
             [observations from  ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]
I’ve been watching the Dune movie series.  I like the way Frank Herbert viewed the world and life.  Speaking to Mua’dib (Paul Atreides) Chani explains the ways of the Fremen in the deep southern desert of planet Arrakis or Dune.
“Everything is connected” she says and draws a circle in the sand with snake symbols in it representing Shai-hulud the Great Worm, god of the Fremen.  “The living and the dead, inanimate and animate, all parts functioning to serve the whole.” (Dune – the movie, part II)
It seems so “natural” to accept this explanation of life as if it explained all of life.  It’s so easy to just nod and agree.  We observe this phenomenon of “connectedness” and we accept it as normal and necessary.  And we go to sleep knowing we are connected to “all that is” and we dream our petty dreams waiting for the day when we too will be a complete part of “all that is” and “all my struggles, Lord, will be over…”
We have this observation, and the zillions of teachings to back it up.  Does that really make it true?  Is everything truly connected to (dependent upon) everything else, or is it just one gigantic artificial machine put together with parts that continually pull apart, away from each other?
How would our perception of who we are change if we turned it around?  If we said, “Everything is individual.  Every bit exists for itself alone.  Every part that unites with another to create something “else” does so for a limited time only, knowing that it must return to being an individual “self” among all the other “selves. 
If we were truly observant, we would see that there are MORE manifestations of individualism than collectivism.  That collectives coerce individuals to serve them and that individuals push away from the collective all the time, the greatest push being when they “die”.  
The problem is one of skewed observation.  Bad science.  Wishful thinking passing itself off as law.  A universe is a collective.  It is made up of “things” that serve it.  Do these “things” need the universe more than the universe needs the things?  Our bodies are made up of individual particles.  Do the particles need the body to survive, or does the body need the particles to exist?  Is it mutual need?  When the organic system we call a body dies, what becomes of the particles who had joined to maintain the body?  Do they die?
OK, here’s another one: what is death?  When the body dies, what or who dies?  What remains?  What can once more move freely and decide to join itself to another body… or not?  Seems to me that only two aspects of the “body” remain after death:  the mind and the particles.  These no longer need each other, so go their separate ways.  And what of the body of which so much was made “in real life”?  Dust to dust, ashes to ashes…
Observation (from memory and awareness). 
When particles and mind join into body, a change happens.  Both lose their individuality and become more body.  Their awareness shrinks.  All that they are is taken (usurped?) by the body to serve it’s needs.  Individual awareness of self becomes a huge gob of incredible selfishness.  From this arises fear.  Fear because the body, an artificial concept, a collective, knows that it must control its “event horizon” to survive.  It believes that it can somehow survive.  And it seeks ways to enhance itself.  To protect itself and to please itself.  Willy-nilly, mind and particles are conned into this process and convert natural energy to feed the monster they inhabit.
But the amount of energy required to feed the monster is always more than the individual parts can supply.  One after another, particles flee the monster.  For a time, others are attracted to it and take their place, but eventually the movement is more “out” than “in”.  Sometimes, the clouded mind too begins to question her role in all of this and with tremendous effort, reaches out and looks around.  Sometimes she actually decides that “enough is enough” and she plans her escape.  She knows she must leave or she will be trapped in the throes of the monster’s ultimate death.
Yes, it’s comforting to believe.  There are many belief systems.  Being systems, they will go along with the truism that all parts function to serve the whole.  The Fremen are very superstitious people.  And the harsh conditions of life in the deep desert of Arrakis makes it imperative that they work cooperatively.  But to take necessary cooperation and translate that into a “whole” is taking too much of a giant step: it is to do the splits.  The individual can still exist without “the whole” but “the whole” cannot exist without its captured complement of individual parts. 
Why is Earth in such a shambles today?  Because individuals have been buying into the collective mindset for thousands of years and seldom questioned it.  Individuals have not moved to that magic place of personal awareness and true independence.  They continue to serve their collectives because they do not understand the mind space.  They cannot, as yet, comprehend the concept of self empowerment.
Serving “the whole” requires the conversion of incredible amounts of energy.  The whole would exist just as well, and would not require feeding if it was totally ignored, was not served, by individuals.  There would be a whole, observable through natural interaction and cooperation.  But to serve the whole you need laws, coercive, heavy, destructive.  You need control.  That’s what a “served” whole does: it makes laws to control energy so it can feed itself.  It has no natural life.  Only individuals have natural life.
The whole is not infinite, only individuals.  Individuals throughout space, ever moving, ever expanding, ever discovering.  Only where individuals have passed can there be a whole.  And when all individualism becomes the whole, all that will remain is a hole.  Entropy. 
In a  nutshell then:  The whole does not exist as such.  However, where individualism expresses, a “background” is formed.  Call it history or memory or whatever.  That is not “you” but just a record of your passage “there”.  As long as background remains as background, all is well.  But when the background, when the record, moves to the front and obliterates the individuals that make it, then you have oppression and eventually mass death – oppression, war, genocide
Earth has become a “whole” and is at an interesting point.  Individual humans can no longer support their collectives as these have grown too fat and too demanding.  People are dying at a terrifying rate and their death creates a palpable wave of suffering and fear that poisons the minds of those who remain alive and the minds of those being born.  Depression, paranoia, anger and hate, along with horrible addictions are endemic.  And the old guard which calls itself the New World Order has no way of preventing this from escalating into chaos.  So it will attempt to fight fire with fire by initiating “limited and controllable” chaos: a state of permanent war, fought with threats of weapons of mass destruction (but without actually using them, or using them tactically) so the fear, the anger and the hate, the undergirding of every institution, will be manageable and controllable.
That is their hope.  And every Earthian human who puts “the whole” ahead of his or her own individuality and personal common sense, will struggle and die to support that hope.  Carnage will be the result.  As universal carnage was the result of the Fremen finding their collective power and unleashing their Jihad, their “holy war”, upon the entire universe in the name of their new god: Mua’dib.
The individual mind set free is more powerful than the whole.  This I have demonstrated to myself and for myself. 
Observation: cooperation out of felt need leads to institutionalization and the empowering of the whole – best exemplified by fascist capitalism, corporatism and organized religion (totalitarian theocracies).
Cooperation out of compassion leads to a soft and gentle interplay of energies, not demonstratable except by the individual to the individual. 
As to the conditions (and conditioning) regarding mankind and his earth, it is quite likely too late now to honestly speak of choice.  Collectivism has pushed all available forms of energy into a process of unavoidable competition.  Under increased tension all competition tends to war.  The competititve mindset is the mindset of the predator.  Man is not just a predator, but an insane one, unfairly competitive.  Under current hegemony, man’s legacy is death on a massive scale.  Only self empowered individuals carry any hope of reversing this trend.   And how likely is that to happen?  
How likely is it that “man” wakes up one fine morning and realizes, individual by individual, that s/he no longer needs religion, God or gods, leaders, bosses, politicians, militaries and security agencies, way showers, priests, gurus, counselors, lawyers, a “medical” profession, or the propaganda apparatus called universal education and the info-tainment mainstream media and let’s throw in charitable organizations and the United Nations in the discard pile.   How about, not a chance in hell?  Man, after all, is a creature of habit.  It may not work, in fact it may be totally disruptive and destructive, but its tradition.  As the Fremen would say, “It’s our way.”  

12 thoughts on “Of Fremen and Individualism – an observation

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      The only point I’d add to that is, as an individual I can basically predict what my thoughts, words and deeds will produce. If I do the same within a collective (institution) then there can be no planning as the outcome belongs to a force, or power, I have no control over. Hence why “groups” – organizations – do not work, but only serve those who “run” them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Robert A. Vella

    A very interesting and compelling dissertation; although, mixing metaphysics with sociology creates a problematic double-edged sword – IMO. Consider these biological correlations:

    Ants and bees are two of the most social animals. Their evolution and collective organization (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociobiology) went hand-in-hand. Working together for a common purpose has made them incredibly successful, Individually, they are weak, vulnerable, and ill-suited for survival.

    Felines and bears are two of the most independent mammals. They evolved to fill niches in ecosystems where collective organization was far less important than individuality. Living in near-isolation over a vast territory made them into powerful creatures. Overcrowd them in a confined space and they’ll likely turn on each other violently. However, they still retain a latent capacity for cooperation and even collective organization. African lions, for example, are a highly social species probably necessitated by competition from other large predators.

    Humans fall somewhere in between, but are socially closer to ants and bees than to felines and bears (which we are biologically closer to). We need both our collective organization and our individual creativity for our species to survive. Finding the right balance has always been paramount. Should we sacrifice individuality for the efficiency of hierarchical control, or sacrifice cooperative behavior for the purity of individual freedom, we will undoubtedly doom ourselves to extinction.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      That’s just a misunderstanding. Earthians (humans by earth definitions) are obviously cooperative creatures. Cooperation isn’t the problem, the problem is a question of personal empowerment, or energy if you will. At the current stage of development the Earthian creature possesses very little personal power, choosing (or being forced) to instead rely on collectives, organizations, institutions, from the family on up, to take control and exercise power. The problem with that approach is that man’s institutions, being handed so much power they themselves aren’t entitled to, become parasitical and predatory. Think religious institutions and empires. Cooperation – say a village taking care of a communal farm or factory – cannot degenerate into granting special privileges and extra earnings to those who may be given the task of organizing the cooperative venture. Nor must they be allowed to become “leaders” by virtue of their current and temporary position. Government, and any “leadership” must serve the people, not the other way around. Among mankind it’s all the other way around and it’s all wrong. You cannot compare, say, the US government of empire to a bee hive unless you want the queen bee and her “servants” to eat all the honey produced by the hive until all the worker bees die. The huge difference between bees and man is the aspect of greed. Man is not a mammal, it just happens to function with a mammalian body. The creature is something altogether different than any other species. However twisted, it is endowed with a spiritual nature, and it has a different sort of mind than any other creature.


      1. Robert A. Vella

        >>> “Man is not a mammal, it just happens to function with a mammalian body. The creature is something altogether different than any other species. However twisted, it is endowed with a spiritual nature, and it has a different sort of mind than any other creature.”

        That’s a metaphysical (nearly religious) perspective which is contradicted by science. Empirical approaches make more sense to me.


  2. Fijay

    We’ve a hell of a long way to go ShaTara and as you rightly say …humans may well destroy themselves before they even get there … I kind of agree in that we possess an individual ‘energy’ that if we tap into is self sustaining ….we come into this world alone and leave it alone …..but there’s something about the ‘human experience’ for me …..the whole ups and downs of life are there to ‘experience’ ….god knows why ….it may or may not make sense at some point.
    This is an extremely thought provoking article though ShaTara:)


  3. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thank you Fijay, for commenting. Provoking thought: that’s why I wrote it 🙂 As to Earthians’ long way to go, it would help them if they stopped their rat race through their drive-thrus just long enough to decide where it is they want to go. It’s been wisecrackedly observed, “The longest journey begins with a single step.” but that’s assuming there’s a journey afoot! Any journey begins with a destination: no destination, no goal. No goal, no journey. Just because one goes through space and time isn’t synonymous with being on a journey.

    Mankind is not on a journey. Actually the state of the planet reminds me of that old cartoon, it may have been from Jim Unger, that shows a bunch of turkeys crowded in a pen. One of them says, “Now that we’re organized, what do we do?”


  4. Phil Huston

    If you really want to force this past the one or many model, take off on that fun Seventies metaphysical/psychological discussion of reality by consent. Only if “we” or a “collection of us” agree that a thing or a concept “is” does it become “real.” Try that with a carload of people and a billboard, make it disappear. Stranget things have happened.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I must be particularly dense tonight, Phil, but I don’t get your comment. I’ve read it a dozen times, tried to break it up in shorter lines, but I’m missing some of the experience you mention, I guess. I don’t get the reference to that “fun Seventies metaphysical/psychological discussion of reality by consent.” Please explain, if time permits, or you feel like it. Otherwise I remain with a mystery on my hands… not such a bad thing at all!


  5. Lisa R. Palmer

    Ok, so I have read this over and over again, and I have contemplated, and struggled to understand my own reaction. And I am finally able to respond. I think… lol!

    I don’t want to accept what you’ve written, but I cannot deny your judgment of humanity as a destructive species. Still, I cannot accept that all “hope” is lost. And I think I grasp why, at least a little…

    It has to do with Identity and Perspective…

    It is true that if you grant identity to corporations, goverments, religion and societies (any non-sentient construction) you will have ample evidence of the destructiveness of collectives. But that is an imposed identity. It has identity only because the individuals comprising it give it such. But while it may have a certain identity as a whole, it has no existence outside that collective’s consensus…

    But I (an individual) also have an Identity, one intrinsic to my existence; I need no Other validation to exist. But I myself am made up of individual pieces and parts, each of which has a unique identity separate from “me” as a whole, while still being a part of the whole, simultaneously and without contradiction…

    I am composed of individual cells, of individual particles of energy; each of these is part of me, and me, at the same time. My individual cells and energy particles could exist apart from me, at least for a while, and the totality that is me can exist without some of my pieces and parts, at least for a while. But we are still one; we share an identity…

    I know this by looking at the body you mention. The cells of my body exist; they have a life cycle of their own, a purpose. I, as the whole, have not enslaved them. They are, by nature and design, blood cells and liver cells, etc… But they are part of the collective that is me.

    Every 7 years or so, though, every single cell in my body is replaced by new cells performing the same functions. But I remain me; my identity is uncompromised, in spite of the total replacement of pieces…

    In the same way, I believe that I am merely a “piece” of the whole that is the Universe. I have a function, an identity and existence of my own, but I also share in the identity of the Universe. I am an essential part of it, while simultaneously being insignificant and replaceable. Without contradiction.

    As far as humanity is concerned, I may be quite capable of “surviving” on my own, even thriving at times. But cooperation breeds community, and I believe that I am stronger and more “meaningful” as part of a community. If I am able to specialise, for example, to do what I am “best” at (like be a pancreatic cell), I will create more “value” than by simply being a non-differentiated cell. But I can only specialise if I am part of a cooperative collective, and every cell does its part well. If the liver cells get distracted and don’t do their part, then the whole organism becomes diseased, and we all cease to exist.

    So maybe all this destructiveness is part of who we are as a whole. Maybe that struggle helps create “value” by strengthening (or weakening) our identity as a whole. Or maybe we are simply diseased, and the non-functioning parts need to be excised…

    Either way, hope remains, as empty as it sometimes feels. I am limited in my perspective but not in my existence or my identity, and I can choose what level of identification I choose to perceive. Therein lies my real “power”…


  6. Sha'Tara Post author

    There’s the “mindless” collective that keeps a complex material/physical entity functioning, understood, but that’s not what my point really was. That was just an intro to the concept of collectivism and cooperation. In my view, Earthians are intelligent, sentient and self-aware beings (each a very complex collective) which includes a non-material “mind” which draws its own reality from a source I term spirit. Spirit gives birth to life, life gives birth to mind, mind creates. That would be the most likely cause and effect. We as ISSA beings exist on the cusp of mind and physicality with most today choosing empirical awareness over existentialism, or free will. So, forgetting the particle to atom, to molecules, to living cells and moving directly to a human being, it seems rather obvious that the average human prefers to operate as a hive mind rather than as a free will being. Man uses collectivism to build his civilizations. Individuals don’t need civilizations. The problem with all collectives is that individuals must of necessity abdicate their freedom to fit in the collective. From that point on, the collective makes the rules and since the collective is non-sentient it cannot relate to the natural world. It’s essentially a programmed robot served by brain-dead executives also in robotic mode. I’ve just explained the collective mindset. While collectivism has always been dystopian in function, it wasn’t until science and technology made it possible that it became a global dystopia. That’s today’s reality. Man’s rulers are not intelligent, nor self-sacrificing, nor visionaries, nor compassionate, nor honest, nor heroic. In fact they are the exact opposite of everything that a mythical ruler is. They are, by virtue of being puppets of a collectivized civilization, sociopathic. They have to be in order to get and maintain their power and privilege.

    Of course this process, now served by over 7 billion Earthians, all of which collectively still hoping, wishing and dreaming of more is better, is swiftly ushering in entropy: the collapse of civilization through it’s overuse of available resources called exceeding the limits to growth. With, say, less than a billion Earthians on the planet today, “climate change” wouldn’t even be noticed. It would be impossible to maintain “resource wars” and any “refugees” from wars would simply vanish into unclaimed lands and rebuild their lives, as was the case for millennia upon millennia before the stranglehold of the city. The city is civilization’s prison. The city is entropic to the max. The city is toxic to sentient life, conducive to the creation of aberrant lives adapting to “underground” living; human rats and cockroaches living on each other and the festering dregs of helpless individuals living in fear, hate, anger, who never see open country, open waters, clear skies; who never walk on virgin soil, sand or stone; who never stand, sit or sleep under a tree listening to the wind sough through its branches. Creatures who never walk barefoot on a clear, clean piece of river washed sand.

    The city is the ultimate collective; man’s dead-end. Entropy will wipe out the cities, at least for a long time, and man will have to re-learn to live on, and with, the land, the water, the air. Man will have to learn to exist in communion, not cooperation, with his natural environment. When that lesson is learned, then there will be a window of opportunity for man to mentally evolve into something new and never seen before. As I said, give it at least 600 years, then you’ll see.


    1. Lisa R. Palmer

      Fair enough… 🙂 I do love the idea of living in “communion, not cooperation” with his natural environment. Very well put!

      Thanks for clarifying. I understand better now where you’re coming from…



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