Cultural Appropriation

While browsing Pearl River Market (a Chinese importer) in Chinatown/SOHO yesterday, I came across this banner hanging from the ceiling (click to enlarge):

Litany Against Fear

Underneath a meditative Buddha head is Herbert’s “Litany Against Fear,” which, you know, really does just kind of work as a Buddhist mantra.  Even if Herbert wrote it in the 1960’s and not in the Xin Dynasty.  Even if it was written as fiction.  So what if it’s from a science fiction novel about a future so far from now that humans think Earth is a myth?  I love how it quotes Herbert as if he’s a sage philosopher (well, he was, but probably not in the way this suggests), and I love how it conspicuously leaves out mention of the novel.  Also of strange and interesting synchronicity, I was wearing my “Litany against decaf” t-shirt.  I wonder how many interesting tidbits of religious wisdom over the ages were co-opted from fictional sources.