Our Butlerian Jihad

If you haven’t seen Dune parts one or two yet, I can summarize it for you: it’s about a family that moves from Portland to Los Angeles and gets involved in our local politics. The visuals are stunning as one would expect from any movie by David Lynch.

Just kidding. You should go see the new Dune movies if just because they break with the tired tropes of so many other science fiction films. Fans of brutalist architecture will especially dig the sets and spaceships.

One of the plot points of the books, de-emphasized in the movies, is Frank Herbert’s notion of a “Butlerian Jihad” a war against “thinking machines”. The lack of blinking and chirping computers differentiates the Dune universe from most other science fiction and I think it resonates with our current struggle against the siren lure of our “smart” phones. The movies tend to overplay what I think is Herbert’s less interesting and overly reductive view of religion.

For a further exploration of the present day implications of a Butlerian Jihad and neo-Luddism the Tech Won’t Save Us podcast had a freewheeling discussion about the recent Dune movies.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s an ongoing Butlerian Jihad happening in my woodshop. I’ve been thinking of expanding the jihad to other areas of my life and will blog if and when these efforts prove successful.

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  1. It is a glorious future where the astromech robots and hyperspace routing computers are replaced by space truckers on space-folding crank.

    “More drugs, less droids” seems to be the takeaway here.

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