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Gom Jabbar: historical links?


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Herbert always has a background to his ideas. In the case of the Gom Jabbar, I do not think I saw everything in it... Would anyone express his views about historical or ideological backgrounds to the Gom Jabbar, directly and as a concept? Perhaps also etimologically, where I have very little knowledge...

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Well, it is somewhat similar to the old "trial by fire" idea - a suspected criminal would be horribly injured (e.g.: forced to plunge their hand in boiling water; burned with a firebrand; etc), and if the wound healed well (which, of course, it would not), the person was deemed innocent. If the wound festered, he was guilty.

One particularly relevant example comes to mind: An ancient Arab custom was to have the suspect lick a red-hot ladle-like implement. If he could do so thrice without crying out, he was innocent.

The test of the Gom Jabbar is very similar, since Paul was being tested to see if he was "guilty" of being an animal (i.e. not being able to control his own animal instinct - removing his hand from the box).

Also note the "Amtal Rule" (check the Terminology), which stated that the only way to fully understand something/someone is to know their limits. And the only way to know that thing's/person's limits is to surpass them, essentially destroying the object/person in question. Again, the Gom Jabbar follows this idea.

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