When I was younger I read many of Frank Herbert’s Dune series of books. Though there was a notable decline after the first installment (or at least diminishing returns), I read the whole original series (and follow-ups), so I must have enjoyed it to some extent. I’m not really a completist, as such.
But an aspect of the world-building always bothered me. The societies just seemed highly regressive, and that truly bothered me. My problem is best illustrated by the title of God Emperor of Dune. It struck me as almost sacrilegious that in the bright and shining future humans would still have emperors, whom they worshipped as gods. That they would organize themselves in such a hierarchical manner. The whole idea struck me as…Bronze Age!
“Everyone” knew, after all, that liberal democracy, and in particular the American flavor, was going to be the future. There would be changes on the margin, but the general structure which would allow humans to flourish had been established. We were at the end of history. We had figured out how best to be human.
As a young person, I simply did not reflect on the fact that every age, and every place, takes its own values and preoccupations for granted. And, people of every age and every place cannot imagine a different scenario. We are always at the center of the universe’s story, no matter who we are and where we are. But the reality is that no one truly has a privileged place. At some point, the eternal equilibrium will arrive. But not this day.