george herbert

A little infographic I put together to highlight how much Star Wars (1977-) blatantly takes from Dune (1965-1985).  

WARNING: Some Spoilers abound. If you have not read Dune and wish to do so, there are reveals here that may ruin certain moments for first-time readers. 

I’ve been wanting to bring some of these things to light for a while now. I will be doing a series of posts in the future based on other properties that Star Wars rips material from, both visually and thematically; namely Dune and Valerian, among others. 

I do not dislike Star Wars (at least Episodes 4 &5). However, much of the DNA it holds is taken verbatim from other sources, with Dune being among, if not the largest of those sources.  

“You will never win if you never begin.” – Helen Rowland

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

“A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did.” – John Burroughs

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” —Walt Disney

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” — George Herbert

“Step by step and the thing is done.” – Charles Atlas

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” – Stevie Wonder

“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.” — Michael Phelps

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” — Michael Korda

“Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.” – Saint Theresa of Avila

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” —Babe Ruth

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” — Ernest Hemingway

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” – John F. Kennedy

“He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.” — Louisa May Alcott

“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.” – Katharine Hepburn

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” — Susan Gale

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” — Thomas Jefferson

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.“ – Aldous Huxley

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” – Oprah Winfrey

“From my tribe I take nothing, I am the maker of my own fortune.” – Tecumseh

See Part 1 for more motivation!

My comforts drop and melt like snow:
I shake my head, and all the thoughts and ends,
Which my fierce youth did bandy, fall and flow
Like leaves about me, or like summer-friends
Flies of estates and sun-shine. But to all,
Who think me eager, hot, and undertaking,
But in my prosecutions slack and small;
As a young exhalation, newly waking,
Scorns his first bed of dirt, and means the sky;
But cooling by the way, grows pursy and slow,
And settling to a cloud, doth live and die
In that dark state of tears: to all, that so
Show me, and set me, I have one reply,
Which they that know the rest, know more than I.
—  George Herbert, The Answer

It measures, I guess, 80 cm x 200 cm. More or less the size of what you sleep on if you take a railway couchette. Not made of oak, but probably of pearwood which has a warmer color. On it is a table lamp, also in wood, of a vaguely Bauhaus design, perhaps dating from the twenties, when the family first moved into the apartment. A modest, functional lamp looking almost hand-made, but insistent in its promise of modernity, a promise which she never for a moment believed in.
     The table is in the room where she worked and slept when she was at home. In her vagrant life she must have spent more time reading and writing at the table than any other.
     I’ve never met anybody who knew her. I’ve looked at many photographs. I drew a portrait of her from a photograph. Perhaps this is why I have the strange impression that a long time ago I set eyes on her. I can recall the mixed feeling she inspired in me: a physical antipathy, a sense of my own inadequacy, a certain exhilaration at the opportunity she appeared to offer of loving. A love, as in Plato’s Timée, whose mother is Poverty. 
     I saw the table in Paris last week. Behind it are some bookshelves and on them are some of the books she read. The room is long and narrow like the table. When she sat behind it, the door was on her left. The door gives on to a corridor: opposite was her father’s consulting room. When she walked down the corridor towards the front door she would have passed the waiting room on her left. The sick, or those who feared they were sick, were immediately outside her door. She could have heard her father saying goodbye to each patient and then greeting the next one:
     Bonjour Madame, sit down and tell me how you are.
     On the right of her table is the window. A large one facing north. The apartment is on the sixth floor and the Rue Auguste Comte is on a slight hill, so there is a view over Paris, from the Luxembourg Gardens, just below, to beyond the Sacré Coeur. You stand at the window, you open it, you lean against the railing of the balcony on which no more than four pigeons could land, and you fly in imagination over the roofs and history. It’s the exact height for flights of the imagination: the height of birds flying to the far edge of the city, to the walls, where the present ends and another epoch begins. In no other city in the world are such flights so elegant. She loved the view from the window, and she was deeply suspicious of its privilege.
      ‘There is a natural alliance between truth and affliction, because both of them are mute supplicants, eternally condemned to stand speechless in our presence.’
     She began writing on the table when she was at the Lycée Henri IV, preparing to enter the École normale. She had by then already begun the third notebook of the journal she was going to keep all her life.
     She died in August 1943 in a sanatorium in Ashford, Kent. The coroner’s report gave the cause of death as ‘cardial failure due to myocardial degeneration of the heart muscles due to starvation and pulmonary tuberculosis’. She was thirty-four years old. The verdict was suicide, because she stopped eating.
     What is special about her handwriting? It is patient, conscientious – like a student’s – but each letter – whether Roman or Greek – has been formed (almost drawn) like an Egyptian hieroglyph, so much did she want each letter of each word to have a body.
     She travelled to many places and she wrote wherever she was lodged, yet everything she wrote might have been written here. Whenever she had a pen in her hand, she returned in her mind to this table in order to begin thinking. Then she forgot the table.
     If you ask me how I know this, I have no answer.
     I sat at the table and read a poem which had marked a turning point in her life. In her hieroglyphic handwriting she had copied out the poem in English and learnt it by heart. At moments when she was overcome by despair or the pain of a migraine behind her eyes, she used to recite it out loud, like a prayer.
     One one such occasion, while reading it, she felt the physical presence of Christ and was astonished. Visions, like the miracles of the New Testament, put her off; she found them too easy. ‘…in this sudden hold that Christ had on me, neither my imagination nor my senses played any part; I simply felt, across the pain, the presence of love, similar to that which one can read in a smile on a loved face.’
     Fifty years later, as I read the sonnet by George Herbert, the poem became a place, a dwelling. There was nobody in it. Inside it was shaped like a stone beehive. There are tombs and shelters like this in the Sahara. I have read many poems in my life but I had never before visited one. The words were the stones of a habitation which surrounded me.

In the street below, above the entrance to the apartment block (today you need to tap a code to get in), there is a plaque which reads: ‘Simone Weil, philosopher, lived here between 1926 and 1942.’

John Berger, “A Girl Like Antigone”, in Photocopies

the George Herbert sonnet, “Love III”:

LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
     Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
     From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
     If I lack’d anything.

‘A guest,’ I answer’d, 'worthy to be here:’
    Love said, 'You shall be he.’
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
     I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
     'Who made the eyes but I?’

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
     Go where it doth deserve.’
'And know you not,’ says Love, 'Who bore the blame?’
     'My dear, then I will serve.’
'You must sit down,’ says Love, 'and taste my meat.’
     So I did sit and eat.

Fourth of July Explained for Non-Americans

The Fourth of July is the holiday on which Americans give thanks twice as much to George Washington, George Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

One common American tradition on the Fourth of July is that of the Presidential Prayer Beads. At dinner time, one family member takes out a bracelet with 45 beads and uses it to help name each president and their role in building America. Every time the country elects a new President, families add a bead to their bracelet. Highly observant families also have bracelets devoted to the number of states, Constitutional Amendments, and Sessions of Congress.

Families settle down to the Independence Dinner after they finish counting and reciting all their beads and praying to each president. There is no single type of Independence Dinner. This reflects how America is a melting pot or tossed salad of different cultures and ways of life. In fact, that’s just what a lot of Americans do: they serve melting pots and tossed salads, but what’s in those meals differs with each region, city, or even neighborhood!

During the Independence Dinner, all Americans have their tv, radio, or web browsers open, listening for the First Bite made by the president. It’s customary that no one in the family starts eating until the President takes a bite of his or her own dinner, which has been broadcast throughout the country as long as there has been sound recording equipment or word of mouth in the Washington, D.C. It used to be a custom that the President would visit a household and take the First Bite from their dinner, but this ended with the Scalding of 1949.

After the Independence Dinner, Americans set out their lawn chairs on the grass, dirt, balcony, or in front of an open window. They do this to get a perfect view of the Fourth of July Fireworks. If you are staying in America during the Fourth of July, you will not need to travel very far to see the show because they are visible in virtually every part of the country. If an American does not live closer to a fireworks show, there is a good chance that their household plans to hold a fireworks show that year. Many states restrict the sale of fireworks, but if an American goes to a store and says I am holding a Fourth of July Fireworks show the law enforcement will usually look the other way. In major cities, this is less important because the town government will pay for the fireworks show.

When the Fourth of July Fireworks end, most Americans go to sleep. All burnt fireworks are recycled and all unused fireworks are sold back to retail stores at half price. If an American lives near the border with Mexico or Canada, they may cross the border to spread the festivities.

I hope this has been helpful. Criticisms and questions are welcome. If I missed something, please let me know. Happy Fourth of July!