I’m not sure why Frank Herbert chose to give his Bene Gesserit an original oil painting of Vincent Van Gogh (Thatched Cottages at Cordeville), but I will provide a fictional theory—Van Gogh was on an early version of the spice.
My main character will visit a patient at the Florida State Hospital, in Chattahoochee, and I’ve been riddling out a riddle; in which, Van Gogh may feature in the riddle. He wouldn’t truly be a Kwisatz Haderach; I just preferred the title. The Kwisatz Haderach has many ancestors and Van Gogh would just be one among many.
Ancestral ghosts of the shaman world inspired my fictional cult, but I’ve added elements to draw it closer to a contemporary version of the Bene Gesserit. This post covers one such element.
Four of Van Gogh’s works feature dunes. Van Gogh’s ‘Women Mending Nets in the Dunes’ works better with a theme of my novel, but I can expand to include other paintings. Placing the scene in a mental hospital fits with Van Gogh’s stay at an asylum in Saint-Remy. Having the character speak a bunch of cryptic stuff, concerning Vincent Van Gogh, seems like a good way to go. Don McLean cryptically alludes to a few of Van Gogh’s works, in the song—Vincent. I suspect I will do the same.
In the Creek language, Chattahoochee means “marked rocks.” Marbles are round rocks, but they can be marked and occasionally lost. The idiom of “losing your marbles’ may not be a politically correct phrase for people in a mental hospital, but it is a phrase of common use. Chattahoochee’s identity is wrapped around the hospital. People with mental illnesses often contribute greatly to society; Van Gogh is a prime example of such special people.