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Mixed Canonicity
This article or section refers to elements from both Original Dune and Expanded Dune.


The Litany Against Fear was a litany spoken by many highly educated people who faced danger or fear during their everyday lives. The litany helped focus their minds in times of peril.


The phrase derives from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

An ancient form of the litany existed already during the Butlerian Jihad. A mantra of the City of Introspection went like this:

"I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once."

The version of the litany used in the time of Paul Muad'dib was believed to have originated with the Bene Gesserit, who themselves faced great dangers during their extensive training.

Fear is the mindkiller.jpg

Content of the Litany[]

The Litany is as follows:

"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."


Examples of Usage[]

Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides I, used the Litany when the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam compelled him to put his right hand in a device that causes pain as a test of his presence of mind. The litany helped him to withstand the excruciating agony. It was a test of his humanity in a qualitative sense. A person whose nature is still primarily bestial recoils from pain and seeks to flee it to preserve itself, a person of higher nature goes through it and out the other side in order to remove the threat permanently.

"You've heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There's an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind."

Behind the Scenes[]

A somewhat different version of this litany was used in the Dune miniseries and Children of Dune miniseries:

"I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
I will face my fear.
I will let it pass through me.
When the fear has gone,
there shall be nothing.
Only I will remain."

The litany has also appeared in other non-Dune related media. For instance, it was frequently recited by Peter Puppy, a supporting character in Earthworm Jim, the animated series based on the video game of the same name.

External links[]