The Golden Path is a prescience concept that is only visible to the Kwisatz Hadarach. It relates to the future, and more specifically to an optimum path through the countless threads of cause and effect that are encountered by the human race.
Though the Bene Gesserit had long anticipated the exisitence of The Golden Path, the term is first vocalized by Paul Atreides after his ascent to head of the Atreides Empire. However, its inherent dilemmas were fully 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.
After Paul's apparent death in the deserts of Arrakis, his son Leto Atreides II (also technically a Kwisatz Hadarach) 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 possibility 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 ascent of House Atreides, 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 Atreides who enforced The Golden Path, its effects and ramifications were obviously still felt beyond 'Chapterhouse: Dune'.
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