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Popular science-fiction author of the critically-acclaimed Dune series of novels, and his thoughts on:

Power:

Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely. Absolute power attracts the corruptible.

 Fiction:

 The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it.

Over-population

Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. …The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.

Making Sense

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

Managing Fear

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.

Law

Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit

Religion

These are illusions of popular history which a successful religion must promote:

  • Evil men never prosper;
  • only the brave deserve the fair;
  • honesty is the best policy;
  • actions speak louder than words;
  • virtue always triumphs;
  • a good deed is its own reward;
  • any bad human can be reformed;
  • religious talismans protect one from demon possession;
  • only females understand the ancient mysteries;
  • the rich are doomed to unhappiness

Authoritarianism

A large populace held in check by a small but powerful force is quite a common situation in our universe. And we know the major conditions wherein this large populace may turn upon its keepers:

  • When they find a leader. This is the most volatile threat to the powerful; they must retain control of leaders.
  • When the populace recognizes its chains. Keep the populace blind and unquestioning.
  • When the populace perceives a hope of escape from bondage. They must never even believe that escape is possible!

Sex

You could drag humankind almost anywhere by manipulating the enormous energies of procreation. You could goad humans into actions they would never have believed possible. One of his teachers had said it directly: “This energy must have an outlet. Bottle it up and it becomes monstrously dangerous. Redirect it and it will sweep over anything in its path. This is an ultimate secret of all religions.”

Intelligence

Education is no substitute for intelligence. That elusive quality is defined only in part by puzzle-solving ability. It is in the creation of new puzzles reflecting what your senses report that you round out the definition.

 

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Leading up to Avatar, James Cameron talks about his mindset on creativity, and the fascination with Science Fiction that led him into filmmaking and ultimately into the blockbuster movies he has produced over the years.

My main takeaways from this talk is about not establishing boundaries to creativity, and furthermore pursuing one’s dreams with a passion. Also one must be prepared to make mistakes in the process of learning, and that’s what ultimately leads one to excellence.

His closing statement: Failure is an option, but fear is not.

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