Swift Headline
Latest News and Updates

Why Dune’s Litany Against Fear Is Good Psychological Advice

Fear is the mind killer. This is the striking first line in the Bene Gesserit litany against fear. Dune fans have long been entranced by the litany’s power, and many of them have even tried to use it. In fact, Stephen Colbert shared that he was influenced by the litany himself after reading the book when he was 19 years old. “The book combed into my view of the world,” he said in his interview with Dune’s director. 

He’s hardly alone, prominent author Michael Chabon recently tweeted:

Dune’s litany against fear may come from a work of fiction published in 1965, but it happens to be shockingly solid psychological advice. Repeated many times in the book, the litany is at the core of the Bene Gesserit order’s powers. It is also how Dune’s main character is tested: Paul Atreides’ (played by Timothée Chalamet) relationship with his own fear and his success in using the litany is how the Bene Gesserit define him as a “human” instead of an animal.

The Bene Gesserit Litany Against 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.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear starts in the amygdala which rapidly signals danger to the rest of the body, initiating the fight or flight response. In humans, our higher cognitive brain can modulate that fear based on what we’ve learned. That’s why we can enjoy fear from an amusement park haunted house. But real fear or facing life-threat has a way of shutting down our higher cognitive brain as the fight-or-flight response takes over. The brain becomes flooded by fear; the prefrontal cortex goes quiet and incapable of strategic or complex thinking. 

That kind of fear can realistically be understood as a “mind-killer” because it shuts down our mind’s ability to think. Under fear’s influence, we actually default back to a more animal response than a human one. 

I will face my fear.

I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

Few themes in modern psychology and neuroscience over the last decade have been more prominent than this: that avoiding negative emotions tends to make them stronger. This is particularly true with anxiety and fear, where several important therapies are based around helping people tolerate exposure to their fear in order to gradually lessen it. 

In fact, research in positive psychology and the science of happiness find that sitting with our negative emotions tends to lessen them. And that actually makes us happier. Facing our fear is the way to go, but not if it floods us and triggers the “mind-killer” response. 

That’s why permitting fear to pass over us and through us is key. This mindfulness based action reminds us that we are separate from our fear: we can observe our fear and let is pass us by. We can experience it without being damaged by it. (Please note: this is not good advice for processing traumatic memories, which are experienced differently. Please work on trauma based fears with your therapist.)

Only I will remain.

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.

This last step in the litany harnesses mindfulness to consolidate learning. By turning “the inner eye to see its path” we can process our experience of fear, including it’s successful resolution. That’s when we learn that “where the fear has gone there will be nothing”—the fear has truly left us. 

And what more powerful statement of confidence and victory can there be than this: “only I will remain.” That is what facing our fears mindfully and processing them teaches us: we remain.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Swiftheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – admin@swiftheadline.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!

Leave a comment