The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

Postby Dave Z » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:36 pm

The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

This is a classic SciFi trilogy , which I feel has much to offer the discussion of how to implement and transmit The Knowledge.

It is set in the far, fully human future (no aliens... robots in later books but not the trilogy). A galactic Empire has had a long run, but is collapsing, though this is not immediately obvious to its denizens.

From the Wikipedia Entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_series):

The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale.

Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon also foresees an alternative where the interregnum will last only one thousand years.

To ensure the more favorable outcome, Seldon creates a Foundation of talented artisans and engineers at the extreme end of the galaxy, to preserve and expand on humanity's collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for a new galactic empire.


The ostensible purpose of the Foundation is to produce an Encyclopedia, preserving The Knowledge, as it were, against the coming Dark Ages. In fact - and to my mind much more intriguing - he has planted the dynamic seed of a second empire, growing from the periphery as the old one contracts in its decline and fall.

Passive preservation of The Knowledge is important, but it is the on-going application and extension of The Knowledge to immediate challenges that is crucial to success.

Interestingly, it is much more the social and political dynamics, informed and supported by application of The Knowledge that is the medium for Renaissance. People, in the Foundation Trilogy, are essential to the process.

Also of interest is that the original members of the Foundation are not informed of their true situation or role. They are placed in a context which has only one way forward... and that leads toward Re-Boot.

A good read and it sets us thinking along, perhaps, some new lines!
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