torsdag, oktober 19, 2006

Dune

Frank Herbert beskriver i det følgende sin egen historie om, hvordan en ny bibel for fremtiden (Orange Catholic Bible), en bibel der skal forene alle trosretninger, bliver modtaget af samtiden og følgende generationer.

I ordlisten beskrives den således:

ORANGE CATHOLIC BIBLE: the 'Accumulated Book,' the religious text produced by the Commission of Ecumenical Translators. It contains elements of most ancient religions, including the Maometh Sarri, Mahayana Christianity, Zensunni Catholicism and Buddislamic traditions. Its supreme commandment is concidered to be: 'Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.'

Det er altså vigtigt at indse, før man læser, at denne bibel er en massiv syntese, af - for os læsere - allerede syntetiske og ukendte religioner, hvis navne for en dels vedkommende er sigende... men her en lille historie fra et meget religiøst univers:

With the O.C. Bible, C.E.T. [Commission of Ecumenical Translators] presented the Liturgical Manual and the Commentaries - in many respects a more remarkeable work, not only because of its brevity (less than half the size of the O.C Bible), but also because of its candour and blend of self-pity and selfrighteousness.

The beginning is an obvious appeal to the agnostic rulers.

'Men, finding no answers to the sunnah (the ten thousand religious questions from the sharia) now apply their own reasoning. All men seek to be enlightened. Religion is but the most ancient and honourable way in which men have striven to make sense out of God's universe. Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness.'

In their conclusion though, the Commentaries set a harsh tone that very likely foretold their fate.

'Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostillity toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you've always known.'

There was an odd sense of calm as the presses and shigawire imprinters rolled and the O.C. Bible spread out through the worlds. Some interpreted this as a sign from God, an omen of unity.

'But even the C.E.T delegates betrayed the fiction of that calm as they returned to their respective congregations. Eighteen of them were lynched within two months. Fifty-three recanted witin the year.

The O.C. Bible was denounced as a work produced by 'the hubris of reason.' It was said that its pages were filled with a seductive interest in logic. Revisions that catered to popular bigotry began appearing. These revisions leaned on accepted symbolisms (Cross, Crescent, Feather, Rattle, the Twelve Saints, the thin Buddha, and the like) and it soon became apparent that the ancient superstitions and beliefs had not been absorbed by the new ecumenism.

Halloway's label for the C.E.T.'s seven-year effort - 'Galactophasic Determinism' - was snapped up by eager billions who interpreted the initials G.D. as 'God-Damned'.

C.E.T. Chairman Toure Bomoko, a Ulema of the Zensunnis and one of the fourteen delegates who never recanted ('The Fourteen Sages' of popular history), appeared to admit finally that C.E.T. had erred.

'We shouldn't have tried to create new symbols,' he said. 'We should've realised we weren't supposed to stir up curiosity about God. We are daily confronted by the terrifying instabillity of all things human, yet we permit our religions to grow more rigid and controlled, more conforming and oppresive. What is this shadow across the highway of Divine Command? It is a warning that institutions endure, that symbols endure when their meaning is lost, that there is no summa of all atainable knowledge.'

The bitter double edge in this 'admission' did not escape Bomoko's critics and he was forced soon afterward to flee into exile, his life dependent upon the Guild's [Space transport monopoly] pledge of secrecy. He reportedly died on Tupile, honoured and beloved, his last words: 'Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, "I am not the kind of person I want to be." It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.'

It is pleasant to think that Bomoko understood the prophecy in his words: 'Institutions endure.' Ninety generations later, the O.C. Bible and the commentaries permeated the religious universe.

When Paul-Muad'Dib stood with his right hand on the rock shrine enclosing his father's skull (the right hand of the blessed, not the left hand of the damned) he quoted word for word from 'Bomoko's Legacy' -

'You who have defeated us say to yourselves that Babylon is fallen and its works have been overturned. I say to you still that man remains on trial, each man in his dock. Each man is a little war.'

Frank Herbert - Dune

Dette er vel noget af det smukkeste, jeg nogensinde har læst: så mange imponerende observationer komprimeret til denne lille fortælling.

Den fortjener at blive læst og analyseret mange gange... evt. fejl i teksten er utvivlsomt mine. :-)

Per

1 kommentar:

Mackety sagde ...

Jeg læste selv Frank herberts "Dune" første gang da jeg var omkring 14. Jeg var naturligvis ude af stand til at lægge den fra mig før jeg havde læst den færdig.

De seneste år har jeg ikke kunnet lade være med at se den som en profeti om drøje tider og om religioner der går amok.

Men det er jo også netop det science fiction gør når den er bedst. Den beskriver eviggyldige sandheder og advarer om, at hvis ikke vi lærer af historien, vil den gentage sig.

Således er nogle af de største moderne profeter, netop science fiction forfattere, såsom Herbert, Clarke, Asimov og såmen også en dansker som Niels E. Nielsen der skrev utallige advarende bøger, som bl.a. "Kains arv".

Men Nielsen var en pessimistisk fyr og havde ikke stor tiltro til den menneskelige natur. Det kræver stærke nerver at læse ham.

Herbert står for mig dog stadig som vel nok den største inden for genren, omend det måske er en som Clarke der har haft størst gennemslagskraft med de tanker han udtrykker.

Herbert skriver til gengæld smukt og visionært, og hans ord berører læseren på samme måde, som Tolkiens eller Shakespeares.

Herbert var for science fiction hvad Tolkien og Shakespeare var for deres respektive genrer....en poet!