The Bene Gesserit are a secretive matriarchal order who have achieved somewhat superhuman abilities through physical and mental conditioning and the use of the drug melange. Under the guise of humbly "serving" the Empire, the Sisterhood is in fact a major power in the universe, using its many areas of influence to subtly guide mankind along the path of their own plan for humanity's future. Herbert notes that over 10,000 years before the events of Dune, in the chaotic time after the Butlerian Jihad and before the unveiling of the Orange Catholic Bible, the Bene Gesserit "consolidated their hold upon the sorceresses, explored the subtle narcotics, developed prana-bindu training and conceived the Missionaria Protectiva, that black arm of superstition. But it is also the period that saw the composing of thelitany against fear and the assembly of the Azhar Book, that bibliographic marvel that preserves the great secrets of the most ancient faiths."
Litany against fear
The litany against fear is an incantation used by the Bene Gesserit throughout the series Dune to focus their minds and calm themselves in times of peril. The litany is as follows:
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.
"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” - Plato