Ghola

From Academic Kids

A Ghola is a creature in the fictional Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. Gholas are created using a technological process known only to the Bene Tleilaxu.

Gholas are essentially clones grown in axolotl tanks from the DNA of a subject (usually but not necessarily deceased). In the period of Dune, gholas are merely physical clones, but at the end of Dune Messiah, a ghola recovers the memories of the person from whom he is cloned, essentially becoming a reincarnation of that person. An important feature of the Dune universe is 'genetic memory': the ability to recover the memories and egos of one's ancestors. The ghola Hayt (who is a clone of Duncan Idaho) tries to kill Paul Atreides under post-hypnotic suggestion, but the stress of attempting to kill someone who was deeply loved in the ghola's previous incarnation breaks the mental barrier between the ghola's consciousness and the genetic memory of the cloned subject (though not between the subject and his ancestors).

This discovery has tremendous consequences. The Tleilaxu masters, using the technology of axolotl tanks and the ability of a ghola to recover its memories, grant themselves effective immortality: every master is cloned upon his death, and recovers his genetic memories, accumulating many generations of knowledge and experience, and permitting planning on a timespan of millennia.

In God Emperor of Dune, Leto II has, as constant companion, a Duncan Idaho ghola with his original memories.

In Heretics of Dune, the Bene Gesserit become the consumers of Duncan Idaho clones; significantly, when Idaho recovers his memories, he recovers the memories of all his ghola incarnations, apparently even including previous gholas from whom no cells could be recovered. This suggests a metaphysical commitment that is never explored in the novels.

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