Current Scenario and Asimov

Isaac Asimov wrote a series of novels from 1942 through 1993 – the story of The Foundation. With the help of Wikipedia, here is a synopsis of the relevant part of the series, which will help me to put forward a tendril of an Idea.

The premise of the Foundation series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics). Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillions of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future.

Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30 thousand years before a second great empire arises. Seldon’s psychohistory also foresees an alternative where the intermittent period will last only one thousand years. To ensure his vision of a second great empire comes to fruition, Seldon creates two foundations—small, secluded havens of all human knowledge—at “opposite ends of the galaxy”. The first Fopundation is not aware of the existence of the Second Foundation. While the First Foundation is equipped with superior physical power, the second is made up of a group of people with special ability to read and tune the minds of others. They are called Mentalics. However Seldon and his plan is unable to see the emergence of a powerful mutant called Mule, who is a Mentalic as well. He threatens the very existence of the Empire and the Foundations. However the second foundation manages to stop the mule and restore order in the galaxy. They also create an impression in the minds of the first Foundationeers that they have vanquished the second foundation and hence remain anonymous as they should be.

The current socio–political scenario and the recent history of India to me seems very similar to what happened to the Galatic Empire. If one looks at the recent history of our country, many crucial events that have brought us to where we are today, seem almost scripted. I am fascinated actually when I see India as a neutral observer – the decay of the society, stupidity of most of our political leaders and emergence of two individuals who seem to have the ability shape the minds of the people whom they have never met – Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. I wonder who the ‘Mule’ is in our case? I wonder if there is a design behind what’s happening in India. I also wish that there is a Second Foundation somewhere that will eventually guide us to a better country, a better society rather than the uncertain state that we are in.


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