What is the Golden Path?


Apr 18, 2011
Hoping this isn’t a redundant thread, but just what is the Golden Path?

Children of Dune seemed so pregnant with mystery and hidden secrets to me, with this ominous (not Omnious, hehe), great, nebulous Golden Path that only Leto can see. But when I finished GodEmp, I was confused as to what he had actually accomplished. Rereading the last pages, it seemed the only real accomplishment was to make the Atreides bloodline invisible to those who can see the future. (I've since read all the originals, the Butlerian Jihad trilogy and the Hunters and Sandworms. But I still don't truly GET what the Path was.)

Discussing it with a friend, he told me the Scattering is the real point of the Golden Path. And Leto does say, in his agonizing throes, “let them scatter,” but it is so ambiguous because he could be referring literally to the little sandtrout, now imbued with the pearl of his soul, or mind, or...something. The scattering seems even deliberately ill defined in Heretics. I think I get the gist of it: Leto sees humanity as stagnant, hindered by its total dependence on spice. But is creating conditions in which humanity, not just the baby worms, must scatter to evolve and grow, is this the whole of the Golden Path?

And he is telling Duncan the ghola this, the latest Duncan in his constant repetition of the Tleilaxu ghola technology that is so crucial to the future books. Is the perfection of this technology, what another poster on a previous thread likened to the running of a computer program, a crucial part?

Those are the three main parts of the Golden path I can see from Leto's reign in God Emperor. And I’ve left out a lot of course, like his message to Odrade in Heretics and his larger attitude toward the BG, or what the Krazilec Leto refers to is really supposed to be, and if the goal of the Golden Path is that Krazilec. Or does he fail in achieving his goals? Is the Path one single thing, a combination of all these things, or something I’ve utterly and bafflingly missed?

I always thought the Golden Path was the path for humans to infinity. Where humanity cannot be destroyed.

A part of that was that prophecy is too powerful. He needed humans(some, at least) to have a trait that made prophecy not work.

His children(humanity and the worms) need to scatter to survive.
Well said. I forgot, which you succinctly stated, that Leto felt all Humanity was his family, his charge, really. Reminded me of his desire to "teach humanity a lesson they will remember in their bones." That lesson seems to be that they must not stay in one place, be tied down by one resource (spice). Also, another effect of his lesson seems like it was the "taming" of humanity, that Taraza speaks to Odrade about and which Teg indicates with his memories of battles not-fought, just threatened.

I still wonder what the Kralizec he refers to is/was/would be. My love for the Dune series is a spice-cake baked of equal parts admiration for the scope of Herbert's imagination and frustration with the maddening obscurity he presents. I know, I know, if the main character is prescient, then letting you in on his thoughts will ruin all suspense, and he did a wonderful job of keeping me hooked, wanting to know the answers behind all the secrets. But is the Kralizec simply the ruins of his empire, the famine times/Scattering? Or was he looking so far ahead to the actual one depicted in "Sandworms", with the Duncan ghola from Herectics/Chapterhouse fulfilling his (but perhaps not Frank Herbert's intended) destiny of uniting men and machines? I don't wish to make the heretical move of bringing in the posthumous sequels as if they are all of one piece, but I crave answers and those books gave some (sadly, in my opinion, without the characterization and gravity of the originals).

If there is anyone who read the original 6 books and found in them answers, not just an infinite unfolding of mysterious questions, then please enlighten me on these arcane matters :D
The Golden Path is the future which ensures the survival of the human race. Paul Atreides baulks at the sacrifice he has to make, but is happy to loose the Jihad - to mix up the genes. It always struck me as a bit feeble as a plot point. Paul would sooner see billions killed than become the god emperor.