Speculation about the ending of Foundation and Earth

Phill P

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Dec 8, 2016
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Thank you. Some very interesting speculation going on. Such a shame we never found out what happened next.
 

Maidros

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Jul 30, 2017
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Proponent of Gaia/Galaxia here. :D I should issue an apology in advance if I end up rambling uneducated off-topic nonsense because I just finished reading the 5 books yesterday, which has me feeling passionate. Also, I've never read other Asimov's work before – sorry. :D


Recently, I am also under the influence of the Netflix show Sense8, which deals with a separate human species that exists within our modern society, unbeknownst to everyone or, most of the time, even to themselves. Akin to what Bliss says about Gaia, those people are able to share emotions, skills, sensations, and even conversations, regardless of the distance between them (the difference being that they come in clusters of 8. Hence, the number 8 in the title), which makes them extremely formidable on one hand, and on the other, makes them be in touch with their own humanity in ways that can seldom be as profound and sincere in non-sensates. It could also be said that people in those clusters make up an entity, but in an indirect way, through their actions, which serve to help or defend each other from dangers. All in all, a different concept, but the show had the luxury of placing that relationship between connected people in its forefront, while F&E had, literally, an entire universe of things to deal with aside from that. Thus, in the books, we are forced to trust in Bliss’s words when she says that there is no greater privilege than to be a part of something as all-encompassing as Gaia. The show lets us experience the beauty of such a connection that tears down all the boundaries set by temporary constructs such as ideologies or prejudice - a real, authentic existence.


(Onto topic) This is why I agree with this opinion earlier in the thread:
Regarding the last statement of Trevize and also his decision on choosing Galaxia. I think it refered to the fact, that even if the alien threat was not yet present, the humanity as a whole is in danger of loosing it's humanity(or the part that made it human), and the solarians (represented trough the solarian child) were the example of that fact. So maybe Trevize made his decision in fear of the alienation inside humanity itself.
Partially biased because of the show Sense8, I believe that being a part of a Gaia-like entity doesn't necessarily mean losing what makes us essentially human. "What makes us human?" is a question in itself. Gaia has respect towards beliefs of individuals, which is why it surrendered its fate to Trevize. Making a leap of faith is quite a human thing to do, imo. Also, Gaia has expressed approval of Seldon's plan, which implies that the Second Empire will be established, only this time, with potential for its eternal longevity.

If I distance myself from defending Gaia for a second, I start seeing that Asimov maybe wanted to ingrain doubt in the DNA of these books, even with the existence of mechanisms like psychohistory (that is at some points implied/feared to be theoretically applicable on individual level even). You can be a proponent of Gaia and a proponent of individualism. Both have merits and deductors, as percieved by us, the readers. For what existence is completely certain, anyway? This is why, I think, Asimov decided to end on such a disquieting note, and why people should be giving F&E more credit than they are.

Even with attempted ambiguity, Asimov, through Trevize's judgement, gives us his opinion.
 

Fried Egg

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Well, I've just finished re-reading F&E after re-reading all the books in the "Foundation Universe", this time in order of their internal chronology. I have to say that I'm quite surprised how divisive this book is, how many people dislike the book (and it's predecessor "Foundation's Edge"). I think it is an excellent conclusion and every bit as good as the rest of the series.

I can't help feeling that, at least in part, many people's negative reactions to this book are rooted in the fact that Asimov finally put the death nail in the Seldon plan (something they had been rooting for previously) and also because they dislike the decision Golan made, preferring individuality over any kind of hive mind in which the individual is fully subservient to the collective. I can sympathize with this, indeed, being a libertarian I don't think I could every accept that decision but it doesn't stop me enjoying the story, the debate exploring the pros and cons of these ideas. It is a thought provoking read.

And don't forget that while the idea of Galaxia may be worrisome, the galaxy run by the first Foundation or the second Foundations didn't look that great either. Both seeking to put themselves as lords and masters over the rest of humanity. I'm not convinced that any of the three options would be better over a future of a dis-united galaxy (but maybe that's just the Libertarian in me talking).

As for the implications of the ending, let us consider that it was decided that Galaxia was the best way to ensure humanity's survival against an external threat from another galaxy. Why? Because in this way an external threat could not turn the people of the galaxy against each other. Would they have time too form Galaxia to counter such a threat? Yes, surely, as long as they were not already among us...

The last paragraph left us with the impression that perhaps the Solarians were different enough to constitute such a threat. But also Fallom's eyes rested "unfathomably" on Trevise himself, leaving us wondering whether Trevise himself is, unknowingly, something else...
 
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