The Seldon Plan
I recently watched Foundation on AppleTV and I was pleasantly surprised with the treatment, a long time Asimov fan. The story had some strange choices, but I was not disappointed, it had the right amount of space opera to do Asimov proud, if slightly shakey in aspects of the story that will need to be resolved downstream.
The next step was obvious, I had to reread the books, last read in the early 90s when the last book was released. I re-read voraciously and with fervour, only aided by a period of COVID self-isolation.
Funny thing happened when I got to my favourite book though, Foundation’s Edge, just loved the Trevieze character, the search, Golan’s interaction with his computer almost as symbiosis, I lapped it up. Without going into spoiler territory, the character Bliss comes on the scene, perhaps in Foundation and Earth. Bliss though.
My favourite Asimov book, my idea of software codename Bliss, I’d described it as a personal Prime Radiant and all along I’d named it after Gaia, Bliss. Must have been dormant in the subconscious this whole time. I needed a tool to supplement my own memory, for what I now know is ADHD, naming that tool after a sentient planet with memory in its rocks, too crazy to be a coincidence.
My face when I realised it was all influenced by Asimov!
Now, I’m reading Prelude, first time since it came out too, and it kicks off with Cleon I discussing Seldon, the mathematical fortune teller with his trusted advisor. There is a line in there that resonated differently this time around. The line chopped a bit for brevity, but not losing its key features is
If people believe [in a prophecy] the mere force of that belief transmutes the prophecy into fact.
The language is so close to the ideas presented in Think and Grow Rich, which is purported to be the wisdom of Andrew Carnegie. Believe in it, it will come true.
The context of Seldon Plan in the books is that people don’t generally know the “how” of the plan, just where to reach for. The plan is applied to Billions of individuals and it’s the Science of big numbers (the story goes) that allows the prediction as long as the detail is not known by the masses. The concept has borne out in real sociology, if the body becomes aware of predictions, the mere act of them knowing makes the outcome unpredictable, so not really a self-fulfilling prophecy at all, the individual agents now can apply free will to alter that predicted outcome.
Anyway, not the point. Point is, belief in a vision is the core tenet of Think And Grow Rich’s idea to create a self-fulfilling prophecy and since the “body” is literally the singular meaning of the word, if I get my vision in place to write my Bliss/Gaia/Prime Radiant software, it will happen.