Control Or Freedom Essay, Research Paper
Control or Freedom
In the book The Foundation Isaac Asimov get many points across to the reader and tries to impact their thinking. In The Foundation Asimov gives the reader narrowed insight into the path history forges, how politics shape a populace, and how human behavior is very predictable.
In The Foundation Isaac Asimov shows the reader that the history and the future is not in control by one individual. By setting up this theory Asimov shows how it is possible for the psychohistorians, like Hardin Seldon, to make accurate predictions about the future. Why go to all of the trouble of this? what is worth predicting? Not individual human lives but a great event whose consequences might be avoided the dark ages of barbarism, war, hunger, despair and death that would follow. (Gunn 60) With the ability to see the Empire will fall and be followed by 30,000 years of misery and barbarity. (Gunn 60) something can be done but on a grand scale. Hardin Seldon had this capability given to him by Asimov as to set up a framework to use to control the actions of key characters.
Asimov also used history to show progress. The people of the Foundations thought machines were good and progress was inevitable. (Markoff 318). This is not always true, because with technology comes risk and responsibility. Like the atomic bomb many things in the world changed after it was introduced into the world. A Nuclear mushroom cloud, people were convinced some how that science and technology would lead us out of the wilderness (Teitelbaum 317). As it happens though the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima was an initial success but it led to later problems. Radiation poisoning, protesting, and a host of other things soon followed the bombings of Japan. Now we have treaties to prevent these horrible events we learned from the past and made the world better.
Another thing that is shown by Asimov is that the past is most often forgotten. Asimov used his concept of a humanly inhabited Galaxy, of an outward movement of humanity from Earth until Earth itself was forgotten. (Gunn 60). Sometimes it is a good thing to forget the past and move on and try and live life. Death of a loved one, moving from a old house, growing up, and any number of things can be lost in the past. The difference is that while the past should be pushed aside to make ways for what is yet to come it should also be remembered in the back of the mind.
Politics is a confusing and sometimes ludicrous area. People being controlled and by whom? A small group of the populous that are more skilled than the rest. There are many types of politics as Asimov shows. One type of politics is religion. From the times of the bible until now, the unknown was sometimes explained by religion and then became something that people respected. how Foundation hegemony will spread once the religious framework is recognized as a political tool of the Foundation. The answer is: by trade. (Wilson 26)
An economy is the driving force of any good civilization. Who ever controls the money controls the people and the power. To secure their political stature in the Foundation the Traders seize political power and that war against the Foundation is clearly linked with economic deprivation. (Watt 29). With safe knowelege that the Foundation shall be protected against war and upriseal things were going well. This is true in the real world. The United States is a country driven by money, and lots of it. Having power from the money gather provides safety from war, disease, and unrest.
Do humans follow a set pattern of activities that they will always follow? Asimov says yes to that. Human behavior can be predicted and plotted, that is what this book is about. This behavior is irrelevant according to Asimov though. It is as where the individual molecules in the gas remain as unpredictable as ever, but the average action is completely predictable. (Watt 29). The individual will NEVER make a difference according to Asimov. IF intelligent, courageous, and forceful individuals do not attempt to retrieve the situation, most crises- all but one, perhaps- will not be resolved satisfactorily. (Gunn 61).