The Golden Path ("Secher Nbiw" in the ancient Egyptian language) was an expansive prescient interpretation that was only visible to the Kwisatz Haderach. It foretold the fluid events of the future, both great and small. More profoundly, however, it revealed an optimum path through the countless threads of cause and effect that were encountered by the human race.
End of HumanityEdit
Through prescience, Paul Atreides and Leto II foresaw that humanity would end if it remained confined within the Known Universe and rigid class structure of the Imperium. Though the Imperium's population was many trillions, Leto II's rule proved that humanity was still confined within a space that could be controlled by a single interest. Although rarely addressed directly, it was often suggested that this lack of exploration and growth would cause the eventual destruction of humanity. The conflict between humanity's stated desire for peace and their actual need for volatility was the central theme of the entire Original Dune after book one. God Emperor Leto II's stated goal was to "teach humanity a lesson that they will remember in their bones". That sheltered safety was tantamount to utter death, however long it would be delayed.
Though the Bene Gesserit had long anticipated the existence of The Golden Path, the term was first vocalized by Paul Atreides after the defeat of House Atreides on Arrakis. However, its inherent dilemmas were only apparent to him after he ingested the Water of Life. Even with his considerable powers Paul struggled to determine the best path through the maze of decisions presented to him. This was possibly due to the fact that he was not the ultimate Kwisatz Hadarach, having been born a generation sooner than the Bene Gesserit had planned. It was more likely, however, that Paul's difficulty with maintaining a clear oracular vision was because of his own emotions. Much like his father, Paul was forever tempted by a simpler life, far away from the intrigues and dangers of prescience, imperial politics, and war. He was also continually haunted by the death of his father, and the manner in which his House was betrayed by so many.
After Paul's apparent death in the deserts of Arrakis, his son Leto - also technically another Kwisatz Haderach - began to see The Golden Path, albeit with more clarity and distance than his father. Leto's ability to see further and deeper into the threads of causality allowed him to craft a future in which he became a human-sandworm hybrid, and thus the long-lived God-Emperor.
In this form he guided humanity with an iron fist for three and a half thousand years, and used his own death to take The Golden Path even further.
At first The Golden Path appeared to culminate in the Ascension of House Atreides, Muad'dib's Jihad, the spread of Fremen customs, and the terraforming of Arrakis. However, Leto extended it to incorporate an expansion in the diversity and safety of the human race, via The Scattering.
Despite the death of the two men who had enforced The Golden Path, its effects and ramifications were obviously still felt beyond the Return of the Honored Matres and their eventual merger with the Bene Gesserit. Indeed, The Golden Path saw humanity explode across the universe, taking with it what it had known, and returning with it knowledge and technology never before encountered in the Old Imperium. Moreover, The Golden Path saw humanity's physical attributes change, so that their reflexes, nervous responses and physical movements were significantly faster than during the time of the Faufreluches.
Future Tie StrandsEdit
The Great Enemy that threatens humanity in Leto's visions was not discussed in great detail. Vague references to visions of future-time strands seen by Paul and Leto II wherein humans were fleeing Thinking Machines, designed solely to seek out and destroy human life.
The Golden Path Fine TunedEdit
After the great Scattering of human-kind after the death of the God Emperor, it became evident to all power groups that human-kind had no central ability to resist any type of external attack upon it after the Honored Matres wiped out the Bene Tleilaxu civilization, and destroyed Rakis. Darwi Odrade first, then her protege' Murbella, first united the two warring female-led factions into the New Sisterhood. Then Murbella, almost single-handedly of vision, set about re-uniting humanity in a last ditch effort against the Great Outside Enemy. This Enemy did indeed turn out to be machines, the reborn Thinking Machine Empire, led by a re-birthed Omnius and Erasmus, who had almost eradicated humanity fifteen thousand years earlier.
Murbella, after destroying all rebel Honored Matres factions, united all of humanity by the time of the battles of Chapterhouse and Junction. There, the Guild, the starship foundries of Ix, scattered planetary defense systems, and the New Sisterhood, drew a line in the sand against the Machines, on the Day of Kralizec.
Erasmus and Duncan IdahoEdit
Erasmus, who had manipulated Omnius into believing that the gholas of Paul Atreides were the Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach, saw the inherent necessity for the continuence of human-kind. He and Paul during the Day of Kralizec in the Cathedral on the machine-planet Synchrony, saw the rise of a new type of ultimate super-being. The universe has granted to the ghola of Duncan Idaho, not based on genetics; but based on his great loyalty, truthfulness, superior morals, and serial lives; the right to be the Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach.
The Golden Path had been fine tuned by the galaxies; all were welcome into the bright future—the dormant, now re-awakened worms of Rakis; the now freed from Omnius machines of the Empire; and human-kind, freed from the abject slaughter of the Matres, and cruel engineering of the Tleilaxu. Leadng and uniting of humanity and machine would be the loving guiding hand of the Ultimate Super Being, Duncan Idaho.