In the classic Dune Paul Atreides becomes the long sought Bene Gesserit super being. He is both the first ever successful male Bene Geserit as well as a mentat, with tremendous prescient ability. It is also know that the Spacing Guild Navigators navigational abilities require at least limited prescience to safely traverse space.

As the Kwisatz Haderach could Paul Atreides have navigated a fold-space?

To this effect, the Guild produces melange-saturated Navigators who intuitively "see paths through foldspace" in this way.

Guild Navigator folding space

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    OK. I've found an answer in "The Battle of Corrin". Norma Cenva (a human) uses a space trance to navigate a fold through a form of prescience. Given that her abilities are dwarfed by Paul's, it seems logical that he could easily perform the function of a Navigator if he wanted to.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 22:36
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    Write it up if you want to. I barely recognise these books as being part of the Dune universe. As far as I'm concerned they're only one step above fanfic
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 22:38
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    @Richard norma cenva is actually on the short list for most powerful entity in the universe she literally looses her physical body and lives in a spiritual state. shes still alive after close to 10k years. lol
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 22:53
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    @Wrzlprmft Absolutely correct, see my comment above regarding the Holtzman Device. I don't feel that I have enough to make the Norma Cenva statement. If you can find that, put it in an answer and I'll accept it. Thx bud! Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 20:45
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    I don't have the exact reference immediately to hand, but I remember in Dune, Paul looking for possible alternatives to the futures he's been seeing, and seeing one where he seeks asylum with the Guild, who would not find his abilities strange. There is some implication there that he could have learned to navigate -- to basically deliberately limit his vision the way the Navigators did to seeking the safe path. In the end, of course, that's exactly what he and Leto II reject... Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


There is no evidence that Paul was a mentat, but rather he had some mentat training from Thufir Hawat.

Reverend Mother Mohaim indicates to Paul during Chapter 1 that the Spacing Guild emphasizes almost Pure Mathematics:

She nodded. "We have two chief survivors of those ancient schools: the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild. The Guild, so we think, emphasizes almost pure mathematics. Bene Gesserit performs another function."

This is math training different from being a 'mentat'. However, it would stand to reason that this training is related to the actual navigation of the ships through fold space.

A second part of navigation is the spice-based prescience which allows prediction of the paths ahead. Paul, being Kwiswatz Haderach, could see the paths ahead, and thus has half of this combination. However, lacking the pure mathematics training, it is unlikely he could navigate a ship until he actually got some coaching in the matter.

It is possible that this knowledge might be present in 'other memories', but this also seems unlikely since that would require a Guild navigator (or adept, at least) have previously been part of the Bene Gesserit breeding program in lineal antecendence to Paul. Given the paragraph quoted above, combined with the general sense of xenophobic both organizations exhibit, this also seems unlikely.

While not explicitly addressed (and likely such a task would be beneath the emperor anyhows), it seems unlikely Paul could actually navigate a Guild vessel.

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    Holy smokes. This is a novel idea, it was the special math training that allowed the Guild Navigators to actually plot the course through space, and Paul didn't receive it. You are right, I mean why else even study the math. Sure it was the spice that gave the prescience ability, but their math skills allowed for what must have been a mind-numbing computation. Norma Cenva was a mathematician as she was suggested above. Excellent answer. Thx! Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 20:19
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    Least anyone think intuition is not a critical math skill. Poincaré was first rate math genius. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 20:36
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    Paul's other memories would contain some of the finest mathematicians who'd ever lived. I'm not sure you can point to that as being a logical gap in his knowledge.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 20:57
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    @Richard Other Memory is like a library, a set of information that a person can reference, it's not knowledge/skill in and of itself. Also what would happen if someone let an Other Memory take over, even a fine mathematician, consider what happened to Alia, sounds like very dangerous business. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 2:19
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    Also there is no guarantee even in all the other memory there is a trained Navigator, recall that the Guild was a totally separate school from the BG and the Mentats. Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 2:39

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