Three Lessons from Dune II

Three Lessons from Dune II

Three Lessons from DUNE II

Dune 2 has finally come out and the hype is real. I saw it in glorious IMAX and was blown away. Everything about Dune is what makes going to the movies such a joy.

I walked out with a renewed appreciation for storytelling which inspired me to write this. Now look, I am no Dune scholar. I know there are many passionate dune-heads who may read and disagree with this, and that’s okay.

Since The Hero’s Journal is all about being a hero, overcoming the inner shadow, and accomplishing goals I’ve been thinking about the parallels to this story all week.

So, without further adune (I’m sorry) here are my 3 takeaways

I. He who controls the story controls the universe.

Humans are story powered machines. Stories are precious and powerful (like spice) because they inform how we navigate the world (also like spice). And the more times a story is repeated, the more powerful it is. In Dune, Paul Atreides leverages story to rise to power among the native people of Arrakis through a manufactured prophesy.

Our story-powered brains tend to hear a story, make a conclusion, and look for small validations that this story is true. Dune uses Stilgar to showcase this trait. In a rather comedic sense, he finds ways to confirm Paul a messianic figure every chance he gets. Even though the story is a fake prophesy, it’s still powerful enough to give Paul influence.

All that to say. When it comes to the narrative of your story, you are both Paul and the Fremen. Not only do you control the narrative, but you also hear the story as if it was told to you and not created by you. For instance, If you say you are bad at math, you will avoid learning about engineering and computer science. If you say you have a sweet tooth, you will allow yourself to have no self-control around sweets. Conversely, if you tell yourself you are an athlete, you will take care of your body.

In other words, changing our narrative is only a matter of controlling the story we tell. It’s not even about the reality of our situation. A non-Dune example:


II. Revenge is the Mind Killer.

Pauls north star is revenge. Which is why his rise to power feels so icky. The bedrock of his narrative is rooted getting pay back for the betrayal of House Atreides. Denis Villeneuve the director of Dune said “Frank Herbert was very concerned that people saw ‘Dune’ as a celebration of revenge.”

This reminded me about finding the right motivation for your quest. Because when it comes to being the hero of your story, revenge is a poor motivator.

The problem with revenge is you’re making your story about somebody else. It takes your main-character power away by forcing focus onto someone else. We see Paul slowly turn into the villain of Dune as he takes the path towards vengeance. But revenge poisons the mind without ever fixing the original offense. And a true hero accepts reality as is, and has the courage to create a new story, not edit an old one. Make sure the north star of you quest writes a new story.


III. Villains are the Heroes in their Story.

I’ve heard the comment “what about the villains journal haha” more times than I care to count. And my response is always the same, “villains are the heroes of their own story.” Is it a bit cheesy? Yes. But I genuinely believe that great stories need believable villains. And for that to happen the villain must believe they are doing something heroic. In Dune, we see Paul become a villain. It is sad, but it’s one of the main themes of Herberts legendary book.

It’s a good frame for us to remember when interacting with those around us, especially when we don’t agree with their journey. The best thing we can do is be an ally towards one another. Or a giant spice worm. That works too.




If your love for sc-fi was ressurected by Dune 2 like mine was. You should check out the Galaxy of Istoria storyline. It's our love letter to the sc-fi genre, and if it doesn't help you improve your life we will refund you. 


- Nick