Foundation's Triumph

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.
For that purpose a shadowy elite of "demigods" is set up to protect the plan.
And 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 psychohistory...)
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 psycho-historian future.

It is an immense task. But luckily Daneel has fellow robot helpers.
R. Zun 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.

Dangerous ideas

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.
How 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 ...?
Only a diversity in viewpoints helps prevent selfdeception! Only criticism can defeat error!


R. Zun: ... You are smart Olivaw!
Smart 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...

The 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 innovation, GAIA,
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
Simon Laub

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