Back in 1942 Isaac Asimov started the foundations series -
and the future took shape.
In 1999 we got book number 10 (book 3 in the
second foundation Foundation trilogy).
Here Hugo and Nebula award winner David Brin elegantly takes over from Asimov.
And tells us how the eminence grise, R. Daneel, et al. decided the future of the Galaxy.
The beginning According to psychohistory, a tiny colony of
mathematicians and psychologists, the Foundation,
shall take over when the old empire crumples and dies. Guided by the Seldon plan.
Unfortunately, pertubations (uncertainty) will inevitablely nudge the
psychohistorical parameters - knocking the Seldon plan off course.
The Foundation will then need help to bring about the desired future.
purpose a shadowy elite of "demigods" is set up to protect the plan.
beyond all these layers, yet another layer to help guide the future of humanity:
The robot guardians - R.Daneel and associates.
R. Daneel Olivaw toys around with various ideas to bring
about the desired future.
One plan uses the other plans to buy time before
this master plan can come into effect.
In one Olivaw plan humanity is changed
into a GAIA like structure called the Galaxia superorganism.
- Every human soul
in contact with every other one. All knowledge shared instantly. All
misunderstandings erased. All unified into a vast Galaxia web.
Insufficiency of Psychohistory ... An ancient
shaman called Karl Marx (whose crude incantations bare no similarity to
and fellow Marxist's once thought they had reduced history to basic
science. Obviously not so. ....
Even psychohistory succeeds only
with probability 70 % - Not good enough according to Hari Seldon!
And certainly not good enough for R.Daneel.
Indeed, Daneel is forced by The
Zeroth Law to intervene on humanitys behalf and secure the ultimate
It is an immense task. But luckily Daneel has fellow robot helpers.
Lurrin is one of several humaniform units Daneel has begun grooming to become
his possible successor.
R. Zun Lurrin shares the (robot) view that human beings should
manage their own affairs,
within a broad range of constraints that he (Daneel)
feels are safe......
But is also horrified by the inherent waste in some of Daneels plans:
"..... that is the essential horror of the Zeroth
law, serve abstract humanity while allowing trillions of real people to die...",
said R. Lodovic.
So, no matter how dedicated to the vision of the ultimate future he is, R.Zun finds it difficult to understand
precisely when to intervene and when to let things pass.
He takes it up with his senior R.Daneel:
R.Zun: Most societies tried to protect their citizens
against dangerous ideas. And yet the culture that invented us, rejected this?
R. Daneel: The maturity principle: The belief that children can be brought
up with just the right mix of trust and scepticism.
R.Zun: Fascinating, if
this was valid, it would have staggering implications, there would be no
inherent limit to the exploration and growth of human souls!
R.Zun: You plan
to help them unite. To create a telepathic network. An end to solipsism.
could anyone hurt the feelings of others, if those feelings are integral parts
of your own mind?
R. Daneel: Human brains as the topmost organs of a universal entity. Galaxia.
R. Zun: Yet, Daneel - you mentioned it yourself: The diversification among human communities
is essential for the provision
of the inventive material for the Odyssey of the human spirit ...?
diversity in viewpoints helps prevent selfdeception! Only criticism can defeat
R. Zun: ... You are smart Olivaw!
enough to be a bit unsure.
You are setting up some sort of backup in case
Seldons plan doesn't work... A hybrid between humans and robots...
real reason the empire is falling is because you, Daneel, wants to get rid of
the Galactic bureaucracy, - the grey class.
No small meddlers to interfere with
Olivaw's masterplan that turns humanity into Galaxia.
Hari Seldon: Yet, your Galaxia
plan is incomplete Daneel!
... Sure, the simple gets incoporated into the complex.
Still, for all its power, Gaia and Galaxia... are nevertheless simple beings.
What we want is something even more amazing.
Hari Seldon: The future Foundation
will be so strong, so diverse, so open, that it will simply absorb your
and move on to even greater things! Human diversity and
individualism will continue.
Hari Seldon: Human individualism thats what you
robots dont get!
- Surely, there will be no future progress
without humans (and robots)
that read and work alone,
without being part of a monstrous Galaxia system.
Hari Seldon: In short - There will still be a need for books - and readers!
Only a diversity of viewpoints helps prevent selfdeception! Only criticism can defeat error!
Many years later: An entry in Encyclopedia Galactica's 117th edition F.E. (a book) tells
us that Hari Seldons vision for the Foundation was eventually realized.
Perhaps Daneel had nudged his mind ever so slightly in the right direction ...
so he could come up with the ultimate plan and lead the way. Whatever ....
The future was not Galaxia, but Foundation,
many agents, but working together....
January 2nd 2000
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