1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

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1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

Postby In His Words » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:52 pm

Frank Herbert interviewed by Peter Sean MacKenzie [unpublished interview]
16 January 1977 // at Frank Herbert's home, Port Townsend, Washington

(To photographer Don Anderson:)

I have a superb 43-86 zoom that would fit that camera. I picked it up in {....}. I shot a roll with 12 lenses, selecting number and then processing and examining the negatives.

I haven't used it for about {....}. Where'd you get the adapter? Oh, yeah. That's the nice thing about that lens. You can virtually ignore bellows factors and use it.

(To MacKenzie:)

I was raised in Kitsap County {Washington}. My dad was a whistle punk in the old logging days within 20 miles of here. What's a punk? They used to use donkey engines in the old steam engines and they'd have to keep it out of sight. Over a hill or down in the brush. The whistle punk stood someplace where he could see the donkey engine and he had a whistle and he signaled when they were ready to pull the logs. In those days, they just put him in {....} he'd be in the third spot. Young kids usually did it. I think he was 14 or 15 years old. It was a summer job. Twenty-five cents a day {laughs}.

I lived in the {San Francisco} Bay area for 15 years. I moved back up here seven years ago.

In the novel "Dune," what is the Landsraad?

Well, Landsraad is an old Scandinavian word for an assembly of landowners. It's historically accurate in that it was an assembly and the first meetings of the legislative body - an early one, yes. The Landsraad - it's the landed gentry.

How do you pronounce "Atreides"?

What the difference how you say it? Pronunciation changes. Language is a very volatile subject. Spoken language, yes. Written language, not as much. But written language also changes. But the spoken language, my god. Accent, variations on pronunciation - a very volatile thing. So what's the difference how you pronounce it? The only thing I go by is I pronounce a man's name the way he pronounces it. I figure he should know. {laughs} Atreides is Atreus - the family Atreus out of Greek mythology.

{Pronunciation}... That's missing the point.

What is your conception of "now"?

I think the only way you can deal with a mixed-up time sense which our society has, and a mixed-up sense of how the universe works {....} - our society today is absolutes. They're an odd list of figures - {....} is to balance.

You're a surfboard driver. You're always hanging ten. That's the attitude you've got. The real question is how you deal with integrating a past with the now, so that you won't repeat the errors.

(MacKenzie cites the popular concept of linear time.)

Of course, you're thinking in linear sense. You're caught by linear time. {laughs} Time is a river... {laughs} nonsense!

(Regarding his living room bookcase, which contains every edition in every language of every book he's published:)

That is height of the publication collection. In other words, I have to have a copy of every book. You need it - I may get a query from somebody wanting a certain right to something I've written. I have the negatives right here.

"Dune" and some of the other books are in Japanese, Swedish, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, I guess that covers it. It's not in Urdu yet. Urdu is an interesting language. Urdu is the language in the world where the first publication of softcover books have the largest first press run in the world. They think nothing, nothing at all, of running five million, 10 million copies on a first press run. The books would sell from 10 cents to 90 cents the last time I was there (India).
If you're buying a dictionary, let's say. We have a four-volume English-Urdu, Urdu-English dictionary. I think it cost $2.50 for the four volumes. Lousy printing quality.

(Regarding present developments on Herbert's estate:)

We put together a development of evolution concept which looks like it was just moved here. And we're moving along with it.
The hang-up that our society has is that our society's full of people who are light-switch conditioned. Flip the switch and there it is. And the world doesn't work that way; the universe doesn't work that way. Our universe works on the basis of seasons and evolution - that is, you may start out to make up one thing, but conditions change, so you develop another.

But we're within our boundaries with the development. We just put a double-use house over the pool. The whole pool concept here is for multiple use. Where you see carpentry, they're solar collectors. There'll be solar collectors on both sides. I intend to use the pool water - 30,000 gallons - as heat storage to heat the greenhouse at night. We'll overheat the pool during the day - we generally swim in the mornings - we can draw 20 degrees from 30,000 gallons at night to heat the greenhouse, with a little radiator and small pumps. We'll even have an alternative of a small windmill to run the pumps.

I have a plan downstream within the next five years of putting a computer in that little side room in there and running this house off a computer. That is, with sensors at every heat outlet for the furnace. Controlling every vent from the computer, among other things. We're going to put a chimney up that corner of the sunroof with a big Fisher stove downstairs with a shroud over it, and we will put a duct down the furnace. We're going to put a rather strong fan down in the duct at the bottom because fans work better pulling than pushing it. And we're going to put another higher-pressure fan in the furnace system. It wasn't so new a furnace when we got it.

We've cut the use of oil fuel in this house by a third. What we're going to do is monitor not only the big Fisher stove - the wood-burning stove downstairs - but the furnace itself and all the vents with a computer. Computers are beautiful for idiot work, you know - just sit there and listen for trouble.

I know a lot of buildings where they do this. We'll cut our fuel consumption here by at last another 50 percent of what it's been. But our aim is to produce something that has a very high quality of life but a relatively low drain on the {....} energy system.

I'm not aiming just at you, Pete. I'm aiming at people who make crunch decisions. And I don't want to say something to you that I can't demonstrate. I'm not completely sure about all the things we're going to do. For example, we did a little experimenting with methane. Methane's all right for littler stuff, if you have a cheap way of compressing it. You see, you have multiple energy demands to balance. We drive a diesel automobile. It's an expensive investment, but it's actually the cheapest car I've ever owned. I could sell it right now for more than we paid for it.

It (Mercedes Benz) has the lowest record of maintenance costs in the world. It's the most economical to maintain of any car in the world. The diesel fuel takes approximately one third the energy to produce that gasoline does. You'd have to get around 90 miles to the gallon of gasoline to match me in the {....} fuel energy demands. The car will run 400,000 miles and we'll have to replace it at that time.

We're having trouble getting a manufacturer in the United States to pick up on our windmill device. A buddy of mine and I sat down two years ago and decided we were going to completely redesign the windmill. So we threw out everything we knew about windmills - "We don't know anything about windmills." - and we asked ourselves, "What do we know about air movement?"

I'm a pilot and I moved right into aerodynamics immediately. He and I built an initial model that got torn down - for the parts, I needed the bearings. We improved that and built another one. We made another model to test a new concept we had involved a way to build a port bottle. But in order to do that, we have a quantum leap in the use of wind for power. No doubt of it at all.

We have a mill that starts producing - well, depending on how you build it - it starts producing useable power at a five-knot wind. But, very important, we'd still be using it, at full draw, at a 50-knot wind. Other windmills feathered out or were torn apart, but ours was still producing power.

We're having a great deal of difficulty getting a manufacturer in this country to go for it, to the point where we're just about ready to go to Japan.

Japan is desperate for energy. We're about ready to go over there and say, "We can't get anybody in the United States to do this. Here it is." I don't want to make a million bucks off it. I don't even necessarily want to get wealthy. I just want it produced because I know we need it.

I don't believe in fission power for the generation of electricity - not for the usual reasons. I would love to build a fission power plant for the generation of electricity. I know we have to find the energy somewhere. I say fission rather than fusion because I'm not sure about that either, but that's a different bag.

Breeder reactors are an act of desperation which are only going to cause us enormous trouble - ENORMOUS trouble. We are condemning our great-great-great-GREAT-grandchildren, many times down, to cursing us. If this society goes ahead with breeder reactors, our descendants will rewrite the history books to erase names. They will plow up our cemeteries to use the bones to make their china.

What's wrong with breeder reactors?

They're targets. We're going into a period of enormous social unrest worldwide. Right now, one person, one kamikaze - I say we're going into the time of the kamikaze. As yet we don't have a means of preventing a kamikaze from hitting his target; we can't even prevent a kamikaze from hitting a president.

Right now, one man with a light airplane loaded with explosives could make the entire downriver of the Columbia uninhabitable - from Hanford over here.

The thing that really gets me is not that we're going ahead with breeder reactors, but that we don't have anti-aircraft facilities and radar facilities around all of our existing atomic plants. We don't have such defense systems around. It is absolute stupidity.

When you say that you have guards and protection systems around these plants, there's an assumption in that, that historically has never been accurate. This is, that all your guards and your protective people - the operative word, ABSOLUTELY - are trustworthy. That they will never go psychotic or anything like that. You're saying all of these things - like, "We don't have that kind of protective system."

Even then, who did the programming? Who did the software? {laughs} What is your janitor like?

What we're doing is committing ourselves to building a system where we need absolute protection. And we have no absolute protection. The consequences of not having that absolute protection. The consequences of not having that absolute protection are worse than if we just let it all go to hell and got by without the energy. Go back to burning wood, coal and all kinds of nasty things.

Weyerhaeuser, for example, developed a marvelous, relatively low-cost system for converting an attic in a city house into a greenhouse, a thermopane greenhouse. A thermopane greenhouse in the attic of a house has some really nice plusses about it. One is, lots of times, even this time of year you have excess heat - a little fan will just draw it down into the rest of the house. Number two, you can grow your own winter vegetables and such. So you cut down on the trucking transportation coming in.

I'll tell you the other thing about why we're going to atomic fission. We're being lied to on the basis of the reason we're getting them (the nuclear plants). Great, big, Hitler-type, gigantic lies. The real reason is that you have a fixed market, people who won't use it. Under those circumstances, the higher the capitalization, the greater the profits. So the choice is being made for high capitalization ways of doing this.
Take an alternative example, this windmill that we developed - there's marvelous resource along the ridges watering the Columbia River. Because our mill has high-torque at zero revolutions, it beautifully lends itself to pumping water. We could take downstream water from the Columbia and pump it with wind power back up existing damns and use the existing hydroelectric system to a greater maximum output with this simple windmill that we designed.

The thing can be built gigantic. We could build them as high as the World Trade Center in New York if we wanted to.

That big?

Oh, yes. A hundred-story high windmill would be nothing to our model. We could have it in operation in five years. So we could beat the demand (for electricity). I don't see anybody is going to go for it, given the capitalization system that we have for production of energy. I don't know that anybody would want to use this.

A man in Minnesota who developed a way to cut the use of natural gas for home heating approximately 25 percent in all the houses using it, has been five years trying to get it on the market. It's a simple damper system. You see, regulatory agencies tend to be taken over by the industries they're going to regulate. So a very cheap, a very simple damper system that would reduce the natural gas consumption 20 to 25 percent nationwide And it's easy to install; a home mechanic could put the damn thing in. He's been five years trying to get a license. Two major cities in the United States - Mobile and Detroit - tested it and found it a beautiful operating system. It works. It does what he said it would do.
There seems to be a tendency by special interests in the United States to suppress new, workable technologies.

This is why we'll probably have to go to Japan (with the windmill design).

The thing the consumer public in the United States has failed to recognize is that the interlocking directorates of oil corporations, steel corporations and automobile manufacturers talk to each other. {laughs} What is good for General Motors is not necessarily good for the country. It might be, but not necessarily.

I wish General Motors would make a car that I could use. I have a Mercedes 300 diesel. We get 25 miles to the gallon in town and 30 on the road.

The problem with propane and methane and the other natural gases is the energy used to compress them. Where methane really shines is in a stationary condition. Let's say you have an internal combustion engine to run an electric generator. Methane is an ideal fuel for that if you have it available. You can take the coolant from your engine, from the internal combustion engine, and pipe it through your methane generator. It just so happens that this coolant is at an optimum temperature for gas engines. It's at an optimum temperature for getting the most methane gas production out of your methane engine. So you have a symbiotic relationship between the engine and the methane production.
You're sitting in one place; you don't need to compress it - you can use relatively low compression factors for storage of the fuel (times ten pounds). It's ideal for cities, for example. It'd be a great way to go. Alcohol may be a better way, I don't know. It depends on the group.

Let's take a look at modern day jihads. What lies ahead?

We're going to have a lot of violence and upset. It's no simple, one thing. One of the things that's involved is the information explosion. Computers are going to have more influence on the society that involves this world for the next 35 years, very likely, than fire did. Computers are going to make an enormous difference.

I'll go WAY out on a limb. I think you're going to see biological linkage between human and computer. The computer is going to enter all phases of life, including what we generally feel is our individual freedom. The minute you can make a simulation model of a segment of society, then it's predictable that you're going to be able to refine that down to smaller and smaller bits. So you're going to be able to tell eventually what {....} you'll have uses. You see, this is not a totally bad thing. You'll be able to tell what the energy demand of the city of Seattle will be. You'll be able to tell the energy demand of the Mount Baker district. You'll be able to tell what the energy demand of Pete MacKenzie will be.

But you will also be able to tell what you talk, how you can talk Pete MacKenzie into buying "X". What are his buttons, yes. Now, the other side of that coin is that, historically, whenever this has happened people have tended to grow calluses.

They're having trouble on television right now selling things on television commercials.


{laughs} Yeah. {laughs} It's one of the untold stories. That television commercials are becoming less and less effective.

Why do you think that is?

Well, you get talked into buying something by the commercial. You try it, and it doesn't perform the way they said it would. About the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh time that is, depending on your resistance factor... {laughs}

It finally dawns on you.

{laugh} Yes. TV isn't all bad, oh no.

But the commercials are.

Not necessarily. It doesn't follow that because some are bad, all are bad. It doesn't follow that because many products are bad, all are bad either.

(Beverly Herbert, Frank's wife, talks about toothpaste. MacKenzie says he uses Colgate, primarily because his mother once said her dentist said it's a superior product.)


(Beverly: Well, dentistry has changed. Many of the new dentists are advising not to use any dentifrice. Or, if you do use any, use a very soft dentifrice.)

I was about to bring up the fluoride thing. Human begins are engaged in a long-term, massive experiment, as I call it. We don't know how long the effect of fluoride in these forms is on our systems. Obviously the middle-term use of fluorides doesn't seem to cause any trouble at all. In fact, it's helpful. It's cutting down the number of cavities. What will be in the long term? Is there a genetic effect? Will there be a residual peaking of some kind of physical problem because of this? We don't know yet.

By the time those questions are answered, it'll be too late.

Generally, they have been for centuries. I'm working in a book that I'll publish next year. It's called "The Dosadi Experiment." It concerns a massive psychological experiment on a large population without their informed consent. The implications are all around us. You see, you can do this in science fiction because you're talking about another world, another people. It's way over there. {laughs} The reality comes back later.

This is an extremely interesting area to develop. A lot of people think science fiction is over, we've done everything. They remind me of the 1890 congressman who wanted to close up the patent office because we've invented everything. He really did. This is a true story.

(Note: A friend of MacKenzie, knowing the interview was to take place, asked MacKenzie to pose the following question. The friend predicted Herbert's answer would be "water.")

What's your favorite beverage?

Favorite beverage? My god, it depends what I'm doing at the time. Sometimes I like beer, sometimes I like water, and sometimes I like wine. You know, the beverage you use depends on the condition you're in. Are you having a fine French dinner? You might want a 1961 Bordeaux.

Well, I'm not going to sip Gatorade with the President's wife.

Why not? It might be a hot day in Washington DC and you need to replace your electrolytes. So, it might be a beverage of choice, given a particular condition. All of these questions are really out of context because they depend on conditions.

Is there some way we can unshackle ourselves from the agreements we've made with the universe and function more as ourselves rather than as a recorder that just plays back?

Oh, I think we function. We're more than playback. We're more than playback because we have this other thing that's never been really defined - and I hope never is - called consciousness. We can see ourselves. We can even see ourselves as others see us sometimes.
We are products of this planet, in a sense, in a very real sense. We are conditioned by the planet. We live nine months in an amniotic ocean where our mother's chemistry is conditioned by the rhythms of the planet. We're animals who were conditioning to evolve on this planet.

We're not just bodies.

I'm not saying that. That is not an assumption of what I'm saying. But I'm saying this is a factor, a very important factor, in what I'm talking about. The chemistry of our mothers has a very important early influence. And the earliest influences tend to be the most important. ... I don't think there's any doubt whatsoever about this. We live to the variations in the amniotic chemistry in our mothers for nine months.

You can dig a clam off the ocean beach out here and move it to a saltwater aquarium in Chicago. For awhile, it continues to operate on the tidal rhythms of its origin. Then it gets onto the tidal rhythms of Chicago. It'll come up where there's a high tide in Chicago. So it's measuring the movement of the moon and sun right now. A clam can sense it. We are, as I said one time, bivalves on the tide edge of the universe. We are.
We didn't come by the word lunacy by accident. In major cities, the full moon is when the police and fire departments are most alert, for lunacy. I did a small survey in San Francisco of bartenders. The bartenders to a man - and I got no deviation from this - had customers they only saw during the full moon. They're full moon people.

We vibrate to the rhythms of our planet, is what I'm saying. It'd be unusual if we didn't.

What were the contributions that your family made to "Dune"?

Bev kept the world off my neck when I was immersed in the book. She helped me find some resource materials. She keeps me well fed. People call in the morning when I'm writing. She tells them I can't come to the phone now.

I have a very good friend in California, for example, Don {....} , a former critic and book editor of the San Francisco Examiner, who used to alert me any time a book came along when I was doing research - here was something I might be interested in.

How much research did you do?

I did a year at the Library of Congress. I did about six years on the whole book ("Dune"). I leaned on Muslim and Arab history very heavily. I did an extensive study of Arab history. I also used the Library of the British Museum. I've lived in the desert. I was doing other things during those six years. Don't get the idea that was all I did. But I did the research over a six-year period (from 1959 to 1965).

How do you maintain that goal out there, with deadlines being in terms of years instead of hours?

Well, you really are loading the system. You're loading the consciousness and memory and so on. These labels are only approximate.

Your coffee is great. I wish I had the recipe.

Anybody can have it. Just go to Joseph Kittay at the Good Coffee Co. and say, "I want a pound of that." (Literally, "Frank Herbert's blend.") We have to buy about 50 pounds at a time, but it keeps well frozen. We have several friends around here who buy it. In fact, the next time we go over (to Seattle) we're going to take their orders.
This is the cheapest way to buy coffee nowadays. It's not exactly wholesale. But you buy it in large lots and you get a 10 to 15 percent discount. Plus, a pound of this coffee - you use approximately one-third less than an equivalent amount of another coffee. So take that amount off the cost. An amount of coffee would cost you 3, let's say. So it's really the cheapest way to buy coffee.

If you want the stuff, just tell Joe you want my blend. I worked a couple years developing it. It tastes the way coffee smells. I did a couple years of research in winemaking, the wine industry. In California, I got involved with making wine, studying it and discussing it until I developed a wine palate.

Julius (a friend) said something to me one time that really hit me. He said, "In western culture, most of western culture, it is considered effete, and somehow simple, to train the palate." To educate the palate. {laughs} And that's right, it is. We don't do it. It's economically dangerous, too. Because if you have an educated palate, you demand things from the food industry which the food industry is not willing to give. {laughs}

What we did on the basis of that {.... (study)} was we bought 20 1/8th pounds of coffee in San Francisco. And a little stainless steel drip thing that made one cup of coffee and we had tasting parties. We sat down and made a cup of coffee. And we each had mocha and then we would taste it and try to describe it. Was it chocolate-like in the sense of heavy body and richness that you'd expect from chocolate? Was it thin and acid? What was it? You reduced it to word. So that you could refer to it later. Then we started blending and working on that. A little acidy, a little dark roast, a little Viennese roast, changing the roast proportions. We finally came up with just a GLORIOUS blend that you had to make one cup at a time because it wouldn't keep. {laughs} It just goes to hell in a hurry. But then we got off of that and blended from that with a high proportion of the rather acid light roast or medium roast. The medium roast mountain coffee which is about 60 percent of this blend. Then we added heavier increments of some of the darker roasts. There are very small amounts of French roast, for example. It's for the bitterness, you see, which is kind of an ... for the taste buds.

(MacKenzie has to excuse himself and asks Herbert where his "facilities" are.)

Over there. We call it "the euphemism."

Who is directing "Dune"?

Alejandro Jodorowski. He's a Polish-Mexican. {laughs} He's a great guy. I have seen the script and it's a damn good script. I'll believe it when I see it.

Do you think it's going to measure up?

How do you know? How can you say at this point? I don't even know if they're going to complete it. In movie making, you believe the movie when it comes to your local house. Then you made a judgement. Judgements are very personal, too. So beforehand, what can you say? Well, once they start the major production - that is, when they get the actors on stage - then they have to bring me in as Technical Advisor. The last I heard it was being filmed in Algeria, but I don't know for sure.
I'm going to bring the entire Chinatown dancing dragon team to be the worm! (laughs)

By Shai-hulud, I think you've got it!

I don't know how they're going to do it. I don't really think they've decided yet. DeLaurentis damn near bought it, you know. In fact there was a scramble right after we got back from France this summer.

Then Jodorowsky must be a heavyweight.

Yeah. He's made a couple of movies that have made artistic splashes: "El Top", "Magic Month." He's also pretty much in demand in the United States today.

Is the "Dune" trilogy complete?

I thought it was. But now there's a lot of pressure for me to come back to it. I'm not reluctant to do it, but I wouldn't do it JUST because people want me to do it. I've got to want to and I've got to have a concept that lends itself to a really good story.

The thing that attracts me is, say, coming back to the character of Leto 3,500 years later. (Regarding Leto's apparent immortality:) Not completely, but very long-lived.

I have this theory that heroes are bad for society, human society. And that superheroes are super bad. Some of the stuff that Kennedy did, for example, is just coming out. The problem with heroes and superheroes is that we don't question their decisions.

(Speaking of heroes:) How do you handle people's reactions to your success?

The role patterns are very fixed in our society. I taught at the University of Washington for awhile. And the first to two classes I had to shatter all of those illusions. Say "shit" four or five times, you know? And sometimes even worse. You really have to do things that break up the patterns.

I worked for awhile last week to try and get a woman to run for president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Not because I'm a great women's libber or anything else, but because I think the conditioned differences between men and women in our society are so great that we tend to create, by the time people are 20 years old, two different species. Not that they really are two different species, but the difference in conditioning is such that there are ways of looking at our universe that are very different, given the difference of the sexes.

So I was being very selfish. I wanted that other look at the organization. But I couldn't get any takers.

(Photographer Don Anderson brings up the subject of drugs as a recurring theme in Herbert's work.)

We as a society, as a species, tend to have a very unwholesome relationship, a very deadly relationship, with drugs. There is only one drug in our society where, if you really get an addict and you cold turkey that addict, you are condemning the addict to death. He'll die every time - and that's alcohol. Not heroin, but alcohol.

Heroin very seldom kills an addict on cold turkey. It's a rough go, but he doesn't die of it. But a real alcoholic will die every time.

Also, there are some misinformations in our society about drugs. It's recently been discovered, something that if you just thought about it for awhile - that I did a long time ago and I've been writing about it for a long time, pecking away at it - you'd see that of course this is true.

If you cannot stop all of the drugs from getting into the country and you capture party of them, you merely raise the price of what remains on the street. And that's our real problem in this country. It is not that people are using drugs, but that they are ripping off society to support their habit and the profits are going to organized crime.

The major source of addicts in our society - three-fourths of the new addictions - are literally created by existing addicts turning on other people to get a market to support their own habits. There's an easy way to cut down three-fourths of the new addictions in this country, and that's take the profit out of it. You don't eliminate the problem, you just reduce its dimensions.

It's a medical problem. It's a medical, sociological, psychological problem. It's not a criminal problem.

How would you feel about, as a solution, distributing junk to junkies for free?

Free, or for 50 cents at the local drugstore, yeah. I would think that would be a major way to cut the dimensions of the problem. But, of course, you have transactional relationships between that portion of the bureaucracy which justifies its existence by there being bad people who use it, you see, and they who protect us from the bad people. They're not protecting us. They're making the problem worse.

So you have the {.... (drug law enforcement agencies)} in a sense, unconsciously in league and sometimes overtly in league with organized crime. And the profits are enormous. You know what happened to the heroin they confiscated in the "French Connection"? It disappeared from the police property room in New York City.

The profits are so enormous they can buy the sister of a reigning monarch. They can buy diplomats and their unexaminable pouches. The Korean embassy has been deeply into this trade all over the world. They can buy police forces in the major cities in the United States. They can buy border guards along a whole string of the border.

I mean, you offer five men two million dollars to bring in a load that will make you 50 million. That's a small piece off the top.

And we should have learned the lesson with Prohibition. One of the things we did with Prohibition was we put enough capital in the hands of organized crime that when we eliminated Prohibition, they could turn to something else, which was the hard drugs. Unless you can stop all of it, unless you can absolutely lock up the ... (pushers), and get all of it off the street, our methods, if they weren't so terrible in their results, they would be humorous. They're ludicrous.

And the public's been lied and lied and lied to about the effects of the system. What we have is an open-ended system on the price an addict will pay for his fix. That means we'll never discover the top limit of what he'll pay. They'll pay your life, your mother's life, all your possessions - anything that they can get their hands on.

You see, the hard drugs are not the problem. It is the crime to support the hard drugs business that's the problem. So the enormous lies that have been told to this society by an entrenched bureaucracy which is maintaining its own self-justification by increasing lies.

What is that bureaucracy?

It's the drug enforcement agencies. They see themselves as a quasi-military police force which is protecting us from the terrible demon at our borders. And they know damn well they can't keep it all out. Every time they take some off the streets and catch it at the border, all they do is raise the price. They put increasing pressure on the addicts to commit greater crimes, to get more money to support their habits.

There are some weird things going on in our society and this is one of the weirdest, because we went through this with alcohol in Prohibition. But this hard drug business is really outrageous. We are creating new addicts. Seventy-five percent of the new addicts are being created by the system. And changing that system, taking the profit out of it, wouldn't eliminate the problem. It would merely reduce it to more manageable proportions, where we could begin to handle it as a medical and psychological problem.

We can't handle the problem AT ALL given its present dimensions. The unholy alliance between that part of the bureaucracy which is supposed to be protecting us from this and organized crime is THERE.

What are your plans?

I'll do some kind of another book. I have a couple of ideas. I'm working on this place so that we'll eventually have a seminar centers. We're trying to be as constructive as possible.

I would like to leave a legacy: a world that's slightly better than the one I found.

Don wanted to take some pictures. Why don't we take a little walk?
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Re: 1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

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Re: 1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » Tue May 14, 2013 11:49 am

In His Words wrote:Vertex Interview: Frank Herbert by Peter Sean MacKenzie
16 January 1977 // at Frank Herbert's home, Port Townsend, Washington

Vertex ? Are you sure ?

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      Re: 1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

      Postby SandRider » Tue May 21, 2013 1:36 pm

      IDK ... as I vaguely recall, I straight copypasta'd all this stuff from various sites ....

      if you can verify & straighten it all out, please do ...
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      Re: 1977: The MacKenzie Interview, Complete Transcript

      Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » Tue May 21, 2013 3:03 pm

      SandRider wrote:IDK ... as I vaguely recall, I straight copypasta'd all this stuff from various sites ....

      if you can verify & straighten it all out, please do ...

      OK, topic thread title re-attributed

      1977: The Vertex (MacKenzie) Interview, Complete Transcript

      Frank Herbert interviewed by Peter Sean MacKenzie [unpublished interview]
      16 January 1977 // at Frank Herbert's home, Port Townsend, Washington

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