Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomeEducation / CultureMuch a Dune about everything

Much a Dune about everything

  • A world is separated by four things…the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these are nothing without a ruler who knows the art of ruling.(DUNE by Frank Herbert)

By Tony Deyal

In my first few days at an Anglican School in our community, I learnt the “Golden Rule” and at the same time got several lashes with the Principal’s golden strap or “ruler” for not obeying his rules. In my first year, the female teacher made me learn and memorise, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Had I known the version by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, I might have told the Principal, “Sir. Confucius say, don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.

Despite how terrible he was, when the principal was moved to a school in the capital of the country, Port-of-Spain, my parents made me go there. The first thing I said after two days of being “tapped” on the head by all the boys in the school was, “They spell it wrong. It should be Port of “Pain” and not “Spain”.” What I did learn there, and practiced from my third day, was that whatever they did unto me, they got back in spades and tirades.

As I grew up, I learnt a lot more about the Golden Rule. Aristophanes the comedy writer from Athens changed it to, “Men of sense often learn from their enemies. It is from their foes, not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building wall and ships of war; and this lesson saves their children, their homes and their properties.” Neale Donald Walsch, the American who wrote “Conversations With God”, told us, “Love and awareness are your true friends. Yet do not confuse the one with the other, for one will kill you, while the other gives you life.”

Politician Theodore Roosevelt said in his “Story Of My Life”: “If a man has a very decided character, has a strongly accentuated career, it is normally the case of course that he makes ardent friends and bitter enemies.” I have learnt this applies to both men and women even though one female writer with the pen name, John Oliver Hobbes, wrote, “A man with a career can have no time to waste upon his wife and friends; he has to devote it wholly to his enemies.”

This is why, in trying to understand the Golden Rule and how it operates in the real world, there are two options. The first is from American con artist, Napoleon Hill, “That man is rich indeed who has more friends than enemies, fears no one, and is so busy building that he has no time to devote to turning down another’s hopes and plans.”

This is clearly a con’s con. On the upper level is Euripides of Athens who specialised in tragedy, “Let no one think of me that I am humble or weak or passive; let them understand I am of a different kind; dangerous to my enemies, loyal to my friends. To such a life glory belongs.” If this is true glory, it deserves a second glory and a hallelujah or two.

What I found better than the Golden Rule was the roller coaster of jokes about it. What is the golden rule for cows? Do unto udders as you would have udders do unto you. Tweet others the way you would want to be tweeted. Or what I learnt in the same elementary school I went to is that in the long term, whoever has the gold makes the rules. There are some others like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…unless they’re a mosquito.” Or, the one I like as a Caribbean version, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…unless they’re standing in the way of the last piece of roti, fried bake, roast bake or worse, bake and saltfish. Some people will kill for that!” One boy’s father told him, “Remember, son, do unto others as you would have others do unto you but, at the same time, never give a sucker an even break.”

My version is: “Do unto others, and do it fast and make it quick.” Or better yet, do unto others as you would have them do unto you unless you’re totally sure they can’t hit back. Or, if you have to, sue onto others before they see it coming. Or do unto others so severely there’s no way they can do it for you. If you want to avoid being on the receiving end, before you criticise someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

In my case, when I started elementary school I had no shoes and even when I got a pair my father was upset because it was bootless. It didn’t last more than a few days and he had to buy me another set. He finally gave up with, “Your foot grew so big so quick that now when you have to turn around you have to go by the roundabout.” And this is my roundabout way of getting to what really started this column.

The one thing I did from those early school days, regardless of what I had or didn’t have on my feet or what I wore, I was always reading. Whatever came my way was welcome – the newspapers or the school library, anything I could beg or borrow from my friends, the law books of my Uncle, and the medical books owned by my cousin’s “Doctor” husband. I was not happy with just the Golden Rule or the religious books my parents had to buy for me as part of my booklist. Throughout my life I did not only read way beyond my schoolwork, but I always had more questions than answers.

Then, on August 1965, on my 20th birthday, I got a copy of a book named “DUNE.” I found it better learning, truly non-stop reading, and more fun than all the other books I had ever read up to then. More, DUNE taught me, “Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense, but the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” While that by itself would have been enough, what I have never forgotten and have shared with my children is, “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.”

*Tony Deyal was last seen repeating one of the other lessons he learnt from Frank Herbert’s DUNE, “That is the beginning of knowledge- the discovery of something we do not understand.’’



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Caribbean News

Republic Bank breaks ground on Rodney Bay City Centre Investment Project

The first phase will be the home of RBEC regional headquarters and a new Rodney Bay Branch for the bank’s Saint Lucian customers. ...

Global News

IMF launches new regional office in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will open a new regional office in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to enhance the partnership...