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It has never really been clear to me what Melange consumption is supposed to produce exactly. A navigator takes the stuff and gets extraordinary powers. Paul takes the stuff and becomes a God. The Fremen are suffused with the stuff since conception and don't seem to get anything other than strange eyes. I cannot even remember anything being mentioned about them being longer-lived or healthier, which seems to be the main reason most of the billions of users take the stuff.

Are the Fremen immune, or does the spice affect only a very special few?

  • Possible dupe of What was the typical dose of Spice-Melange? – Valorum Mar 13 '17 at 16:56
  • It's not very clearly stated in the movie, but all that Navigators do is actually navigating the ship, as in, steering it through hyperspace (or whatever it is called in canon). Space folding and propulsion are done by machinery on board. So their power is basically the same prescience that other users get. The movie makes it look like Navigators fold space through their spice-induced superpowers. – void_ptr Mar 13 '17 at 20:19
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    What Paul took to become Kwisatz Haderach is not spice melange. It's water of life, which is the bile of a young sandworm. I guess it has spice as a component, but the "god-making" property of the matter is related to the poisonous nature of the substance, not spice. – infiniteRefactor Mar 13 '17 at 20:25
  • More specifically, he transformed the poisonous bile of the little maker into the water of life by consuming it and somehow maniuplating it inside his body. A feat which only highly trained Bene Gesserit women have been able to achieve prior, and which awakened him to a whole new level of awareness that no man had yet experienced. Having done this, and being a man, he was able to look into the "blind spots" that Bene Gesserit could not see into (I forget the exact language used,) and that's where he gained his prescience and ability to be "in two places at once." – Steve-O Mar 13 '17 at 21:43
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In regard to the Fremen its likely their exposure is orders of magnitude lower than an actual user. Think someone working in a heroin processing facility the size of a stadium, there is heroin in the air enough to cause someone to fail a drug test perhaps but not enough at any one time for someone to get high.

In regard to spice usage in general it is purported to provide a longer life span, greater vitality, and heightened awareness; it can also unlock prescience in some humans, depending upon the dosage and the consumer's physiology.

  • Also, I seem to recall that the Fremen do have some mild prescient powers because they're more exposed to the spice than most offworlders. I think it's mentioned around the time of the Water of Life ritual, but it's been a while since I've read it. – Dranon Mar 13 '17 at 17:45
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    It should be noted -- The Spice might provide a longer life span, but the planet Arrakis also limits that quite a bit. – Sidney Mar 13 '17 at 17:46
  • I thought the implication was the Spice was a major part of the Fremen diet. Such that it would be pretty hard to ingest much more of it then the Fremen do naturally. Every meal would be considered an absolute fortune off world. I just though it obvious that Fremen must use something similar to the amount the Navigators use, maybe less (but they start in the womb), maybe more (if every meal is spice, spice, and more spice this seems plausible). – Jonathon Mar 13 '17 at 17:58
  • I could be mistaken about the Fremen and spice although its still a matter of exposure over time navigators are given a constant massive dose IIRC – revenant Mar 13 '17 at 18:22
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@Revenant compared Melange to heroine - I would go step back and compare it to coca leaves and cocaine:

Fremen are born exposed to the Spice - its in their food, in the air - but in very basic, polluted form - this would be akin to the traditional use of the coca leaves by people living in the Andes - it helps them to fight the height sickness, provides vitamins, reduces pain, fights off asthma and increases longevity (another similarity to Spice is that it was also used in religion ceremonies). Similarly the Melange helps Freemen to adapt to the horrible conditions on Dune.

Navigators use the pure stuff that is pumped in the air they breathe. On top of that, if you believe the prequels, the Guild doesn't take just the first guy from the street and turns him into navigator - they candidates have first pass a series of university-level exams proving their intelligence and their body has to adapt itself to the Spice filled atmosphere (which causes their mutation).

Now, the @OP says that I cannot even remember anything being mentioned about [Fremenn] being longer-lived or healthier - please notice that those guys - basically a bunch of poorly armed tribesman that are able to take down elite Sardaukar army and later they are the core of Paul's army conquering and wiping whole words.

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    The book implies that the Sardaukar are great because the planet they come from is harsh and hard to survive in. And is explicit that the Fremen are even better because Dune is even harsher. Not because of some magic spice powers. – Jonathon Mar 13 '17 at 20:33
  • Sardaukars were trained from childhood to be soldiers, Freemen were just trying to survive - Spice makes it easier for Freemen to survive by making them healthier. It is like if a martial arts monk, trained from childhood suddenly lose a hand to hand fight with a Beduin that spent most of his life on the desert. – Yasskier Mar 13 '17 at 20:58
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    All I can say is that the book is fairly explicit in what makes the Fremen strong fighters. It is mentioned on multiple occasions that it is the harsh Arrakis environment that made them the best fighters in the universe. And they are not just desert bums, fighting is a part of their life. – Jonathon Mar 13 '17 at 21:08
  • Yes, and Spice makes them able to survive in those conditions by making them stronger and healthier, similar to the effects it has on normal, off-world users. SO in total spice+harsh conditions makes them good fighters - without Melange they would have problem surviving. – Yasskier Mar 13 '17 at 21:17
  • The Sardaukar were trained to fight as a unit while the fremen excelled at individual combat. It wasn't until after Paul trained them in the weirding way that they proved themselves successful against the Sardaukar. – Memnoch Mar 15 '17 at 13:08

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