Speculation about the ending of Foundation and Earth

Discussion in 'Isaac Asimov' started by dekket, Apr 3, 2008.

  1.  
    dekket

    dekket Member

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    I was just thinking about the ending of Foundation and Earth, with the comments/fear of 'something other", i.e. non-humans.
    Does anyone know, or have heard any rumours, or even willing to make a guess, about where they think Asimov was heading?
    It would be interesting to know if there was a final destination in mind for the entire Foundation/Robots series.
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    Abyssimal

    Abyssimal River Crossing

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    He also says something like: "It's not as if the threat wasn't already there."

    I think he may be alluding to some conflict coming from Solaria.
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    ghost8772

    ghost8772 New Member

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    my feeling was it was an extension of the fundamental flaw in Hari Seldon's foundation. the worst time the foundations really had was when the Mule showed up. non humans were not taken into consideration. Gaia was proactive, the foundations were reactive.
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    manephelien

    manephelien Transmural Feline

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    My guess is the Solarians too, although obviously one can't be sure. On the other hand, the Solarians are isolationists and literally don't care one jot what happens to the rest of the Universe, so they're hardly a threat to the other billions of settled planets.
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    ghost8772

    ghost8772 New Member

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    I recall at the end of F&E that they did discuss the solarians, but since they were humans, and even the robots made there were designed by humans, that psychohistory would still cover their psychology. don't recall it exactly, but I think it was a final discussion between Golan, Daneel, and maybe the gaian, and the other historian person... the sidekick. the solarian they brought along was not part of the discussion. maybe daneel wasn't either. but I recall that the solarians were brought up. and decided that they were humans despite their changes. of course the characters might be wrong, since becoming asexual is a mutation, and the Mule was defined as a mutant, but hey.
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    manephelien

    manephelien Transmural Feline

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    I think they decided in favor of Galaxia in order to protect human civilization from any other intelligent species from another galaxy. Apparently there aren't any in ours, in the Foundation series.
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    ghost8772

    ghost8772 New Member

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    Including humans? lol
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    manephelien

    manephelien Transmural Feline

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    Well... Maybe I should've said sentient. You can be sentient and incredibly unintelligent. :p
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    jeff.s.p

    jeff.s.p New Member

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    (hopefully no spoiler in here)


    I loved the ending of that book,... especial the last lines of feeling the others eyes staring back at him.

    … awesome






    J
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    Omphalos

    Omphalos הדרךקפיצת

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    I actually just started re-reading this book last night. I havent read it since the early 90's or so, but my recollection is that the fear was from extra-galactic aliens too. Remember in Foundation's Edge Asimov tied into the Foundation stories the Eternal's tales? They were the ones who searched all possible universes and settled on that one because in it the Milky Way was free from 1)planets that had a complex ecosystem that 2)had intelligent races on them? The threat that they were worried about then, and justification to Trevize for having picked Galaxia, was that from outside the galaxy aliens would come.
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    McAbru

    McAbru New Member

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    What Golan probably feared was Daneel merging with the solarian child to form some sort of a superbeing, unrestrained by the three laws and in possession of superior mental powers unmatched even by Gaia.
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    ghost8772

    ghost8772 New Member

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    uh, daneel hasn't been constrained by the three laws in 20 millenia, he superceded then in Robots and Empire. the solarian child he was basically going to grab the brain and reprogram it for the laws and his memories. at least thats what I thought was happening when I read it. he was going to use the kid's mind to extend the capabilities of his brain a few more centuries so he could finish the (lol) foundation of galaxia.
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    Casspar

    Casspar Science fiction fantasy

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    takeover by robots?
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    Scifi fan

    Scifi fan New Member

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    I would have to say Asimov was alluding to the threat posed by non-human intelligences, because he did say that. Psychohistory cannot deal with that any more than it could deal with the Mule.
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    tovli

    tovli New Member

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    I just finished F&E today and am very disturbed and confused by the ending. All along the "future history", the reader experiences various social (psycho) mechanisms used by rulers, groups, (and a few "isolates"), and shown the benefits, problems, and ultimately the demise of each mechanism.

    It seemed to me that over and over, the individual thinking of Trevize had demonstrated the holes in a unified galaxy under Gaian social order, so I don't understand how Trevize just gives into this Daneel as the correct (or even best) path for the future. I was not convinced. I know he wanted someone else to hold the responsibility for "humanity", but to hand it over to Daneel?

    The extolled instincts of Trevize, were usually very much in line with my feelings (encouraged by the mind of Asimov?), but at the end my instincts were not assuaged, while it seemed Trevize was at peace with his delivery of the future to Daneel and the Gaian Galaxia which would obliterate the individual from humanity and remove the uncertainty caused by individual thought.

    Is this the intention? That I should be left wanting? It seems every prior book was quite complete, and this one tried with the dicussion to wrap everything up, but either I totally missed the point, or the point was indeed to leave me confused (and quite disturbed.)

    Can anyone point me to any discussions of the end with I. Asimov, the master or my future sanity? Am I accursed to a "search for [my] Earth"?

    lo tovli
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    dyre

    dyre New Member

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    I made a thread about this (among other things) earlier, and the ending disturbed me too.

    Trevize (and myself) did not seem like the kind of person who would give up personal liberty and self-determination, let alone individuality itself, for the sake of defense against some potential invader which we know nothing about. Hell, giving up freedom for irrational fear of foreign invasion has been an excuse for almost every tyrant mankind has ever seen. While I expected it thanks to the rather obvious direction of the plot, I was very disheartened when he chose Gaia in Foundation's Edge, and I think he failed humanity once again when he handed over the future and free will of humanity to some robot.

    Nowadays, I just pretend Foundation and Earth never happened, and that the Foundation keeps expanding with the Second Foundation as their guardians in the shadows. Gaia, of course, was annihilated by a nuclear strike from the Foundation like the abomination it is.
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    dragomort

    dragomort New Member

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    I'm not 100% and I'll need to read the Robot series over again as it's been ages to confirm a few details, but some of the subtext that was implied should have been a lot more noticed.

    Daneel can control for all intents and purposes the thoughts/emotions of anyone he wishes as long as it doesn't interfere with the infamous Laws of Robotics. Now, re-think of the significance of having the path of Gaia by termed the natural 'right' path for humanity by Trevize in relation to the 0th Law - it gives him free-reign to take over Fallom as well as do anything he wishes in order to fulfill that goal.

    Notice also how everyone's emotions seem to go off the deep end when they find the Moon-base and their easy rationalization of things that moments before were debated endlessly.... around a robot that just so happens to have the ability to do this - what are the chances! All while simultaneously being brought a child with superhuman potential that is instantly attached to him. It's almost like he planned such a thing from the start!

    There's a reason Trevize is uneasy about Fallom the whole time in accordance with his senses, but it's more for what she'll represent once merged into the soon to be even more God-like robot-shepherd of humanity that can produce offspring to extend his life indefinitely from an outside position of the upcoming Galaxia. He was afraid of 'something other' than humans to justify the decisions of Galaxia while never being able to put his finger on the newly established 'something new' of Daneel that they've empowered.

    I may be stretching it and it does seem weird to posit Daneel as effectively a villain for his herding of humanity given the Robot series, but it fits so incredibly well and creepily that I can't imagine it's an accident.
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    Arkady

    Arkady New Member

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    To me, what leapt out of this book was the obvious difference in Asimov's writing. Obviously, he was writing this near the end of his life-- this impacted his writing itself, but also some of the themes that he's incorporated into his writing. I find it very interesting seeing again and again the destruction and corruption of the individual (world), because this is something we've never seen before from Asimov. Usually, he is very moderate and realistic in creating his demonized figures, and to see such an absolute demonization of individual, cut-off worlds is very unusual for his style. I personally was not convinced that Galaxia is the ideal-- I am very committed to the idea of the Second Empire, headed invisibly by the psychohistorians of the Second Foundation. I feel that Galaxia inevitably does rob humanity of it's drive, determination, individualism, and competitive spirit, and for the most part, I find these attributes admirable. What I read in this book is an old, tired, and yet amazingly bright man grappling for answers to some of the toughest questions about humanity. There is obvious comfort in this scenario for reaching for the security blanket of Galaxia. However, the individual worlds (spacer worlds) mask this somewhat with their sinister nature, especially Solarium. I tie the driving force of "freedom" for solarium into the O'Brien rant in 1984-- remember, "Freedom is slavery. Does it not occur to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom." I feel that Asimov used solarium to write a satire on the amount of freedom and privacy that human beings seem to want-- which may not be entirely justified. I personally greatly value privacy and freedom-- perhaps this inspires my skepticism about Galaxia. Anyhow, the Fallom staring at the end speaks to me as the ultimate doubt over any absolute certainty-- for now that Solarium has been roused by outsiders, it is very possible that the enemy is among them as they speak.

    Sorry this isn't all on topic. That's just my two cents about the ending, and Galaxia in general.
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    Arkady

    Arkady New Member

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    Have you read Asimov's short story "The Final Question"? It's worth a read. Asimov loves to toy with the idea of humans creating their own, well, for lack of a better word, Gods. That jumps out at me in the ending-- the idea of Trevize and co. working so hard to ultimately relinquish power to a higher authority that humans themselves created.
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    Arkady

    Arkady New Member

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    Yeah, when Trevize was searching for flaws with psychohistory, I was surprised that he left out a HUGE requirement for psychohistory to function. He found
    1: Large numbers of humans
    2: Lack of understanding of how psychohistory functions
    Trevize even created a new requirement: that humans be the only sentient/intelligent beings in the galaxy.

    BUT-
    He never mentioned requirement 3:
    3: Human reaction to stimuli remains constant

    Which I feel is the most likely to change, and thus be the nail in the coffin of psychohistory.

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