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Asimov Predictions and USA Today

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  • Brooks, AB
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    I kind of made it a goal to reread the Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov--after a 30-year passage of time. But I decided to read all the Foundation books of this 1950s classic, which meant starting with the two Foundation prequels (1988 & 1993).

    The premise of this series is that human development or decline can be predicted by the new science of psychohistory. The fate of the nation, world, or galactic empire is written in advance; political leaders really have no control. But if psychohistorians have the knowledge, they can tweak society into a better way, while not really having that much political power.

    I have just finished the two prequels. In these novels, Asimov gives us signs of a collapsing civilization: in particular, the lessening of the importance of science. He also makes a prediction that "democracy" has a life span of two to three centuries, afterwhich society then reverts back to some kind of oligarchic rule.

    I have started the first Foundation book. It is interesting to note the change of Asimov's language from 1950 to 1990 as he spins out these stories.

    If I recall correctly, the second Foundation novel is about an unpredictable political leader known as "The Mule." The Mule has special mental powers--and uses these powers to build a political and military machine. Psychohistory was not able to predict the rise of such an individual, hence the technicians of this science were not able to apply their skills to mitigate the effects of the Mule.

    But in the end, the Mule dies. His movement disintegrates. The former galactic empire then coalesces back to what psychohistory was predicting. In other words, The Mule was an aberration--not really having much of an effect beyond his several decade reign of power.

    I am wondering what others think of Asimov's predictions and today's political climate.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dave good work; at least you read; Trump not at all! Talking about the "Mule"; it must be Trump, but yeah it does not fit a Dutch proverb: "Even an donkey does not hit its head twice on the same stone" Let's therefore hope this "Mule" dies shortly as in the "story".
  • Brooks, AB
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    Dutch Wrote: Dave good work; at least you read; Trump not at all! Talking about the "Mule"; it must be Trump, but yeah it does not fit a Dutch proverb: "Even an donkey does not hit its head twice on the same stone" Let's therefore hope this "Mule" dies shortly as in the "story".
    While it's easy to put the metaphor together, I am wondering which of the two Asimov prophecies will prevail. To hedge our bets, I think we should build another system.