Essay PreviewMore ↓
Psychohistory is the framework upon which Isaac Asimov's Foundation rests. It provides for diverse episodes about a variety of characters over a period 400 years, and those episodes feature a number of strong-minded individuals seeking solutions to a series of problems as they arise (Gunn 42). In the novel, these problems have all been fore-ordained long ago by Hari Seldon's science of psychohistory.
Psychohistory is defined by Asimov as a "'profound statistical science' that deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli" (Touponce 76). In short, this science predicts the future by treating humanity as one massive series of mathematical equations. However, the one drawback of psychohistory is that this science does not account for individual, random variables. Hari Seldon uses the science of psychohistory to predict the fall of the massive Galactic Empire. By using complex mathematical equations, Seldon is able to mathematically prove that the downfall of the Galactic Empire is eminent.
In addition, psychohistory also adds a sense of determination and predestination to Foundation. The main characters in each book of the novel are aware that when a Seldon crisis occurs, they will manage to make the correct decisions leading to the inevitable turnout of the crisis. Seldon's prophesies "are revealed only after the fact, and even the solutions that he or others say are obvious are obvious only in retrospect, as in all good histories" (Gunn 41). This is first shown in "The Psychohistorians" when Salvor Hardin makes the decision that he must take over the management of the Foundation. This decision is logical in retrospect, but it causes Hardin much agonizing over the probable results of his actions before he does them.
The dilemma experienced by Asimov's characters is how to achieve the predetermined outcome concocted by Seldon. The hero of the first Foundation, Salvor Hardin, decides to wait until the crisis limits his choices to only one course of action. He argues:
...the future isn't nebulous. It's been calculated out by Seldon and charted. Each successive crisis in our history is mapped out and each depends in a measure on the successful conclusion of the ones previous...At each crisis our freedom of actions would become circumscribed to the point where only one course of action was possible...As long as more than one course of action is possible, the crisis has not been reached.
How to Cite this Page
"Isaac Asimov's Foundation - Psychohistory." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Aug 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Elements of Science Fiction in Asimov's Foundation The Elements of Science Fiction in Asimov's Foundation [This essay explores those characteristics of the novel Foundation, which are peculiar to the genre of Science Fiction.] The most fundamental and obvious element of Science Fiction is its dependence on imagined technological advancements. The SF writer exploits the gap between scientific theory and practice to create a world, or at least circumstances, very different from our own reality and yet very believable because of the scientific logic' behind it all.... [tags: Isaac Asimov]
1689 words (4.8 pages)
- Throughout history man has always had a vivid imagination. In prehistoric times, old man used to write stories, tales and such upon their cave dwelling walls. These were performed through the use of symbols. These symbols, called hieroglyphics, portrayed the thoughts and creativity of their authors. Boszhardt once said while talking about the cave pictures in Wisconsin, "When I first visited the cave, I was skeptical about the possible art that Daniel had written to me about, But once my flashlight came upon some of the drawings, there was no question that this was authentic Native American art.... [tags: essays research papers]
1099 words (3.1 pages)
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation - Cycles of History Foundation is a novel throughout which the cycles of history are present. Isaac Asimov's peculiar notions on how change in the environment affects the nature of historical change are present throughout this novel. Asimov uses principles of Marxism to fabricate his future history. Asimov also creates a future political structure modeled on the Roman Empire. According to Jean Fielder, one of the greatest influences on Asimov's Foundation novel is Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.... [tags: Isaac Asimov Foundation]
465 words (1.3 pages)
- Everyone is faced with difficult obstacles at some point in his or her life, whether or not they are able to overcome them can define them as a person. Every story has a plot, but a plot is determined by the characters and their actions to events that take place in the story. According to the article “Science Fiction Images of Computers and Robots” written by Patricia S. Warrick, many of the plots in Asimov’s novels depend on “computers and robots [along with] space exploration and development” (54).... [tags: The Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov]
2652 words (7.6 pages)
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation and the trilogy named after it represent a pinnacle in science fiction. Science fiction lovers from every walk of life have joined together to praise Asimov and Foundation. Furthermore, this series has been awarded the first Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Series. Not before or since the publication of Foundation has this award been given. Despite this recognition, the mainstream literary critics ignore works of science fiction as candidates for more prestigious awards.... [tags: Isaac Asimov Foundation]
1172 words (3.3 pages)
- A crucial portion of Asimov's analysis of human vulnerability is the supposed chaos of normal life. In Asimov's eyes, unity and cooperation function much better than the effort of any given individual towards a specific goal. In Green Patches a group of astronauts lands on Saybrook's planet. The planet is fascinating in that all of the organisms work in conjunction in order to maintain homeostasis. There exists no competition for food, for space, or for sex. In a sense, "all life on Saybrook's planet is a single organism"(371).... [tags: Isaac Asimov]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- The Last Question by Isaac Asimov Life as we know it comes and goes. Many, many years have past and the world that we are now living in has undergone several transformations. The story of "The Last Question" is about the future of civilization. It explored the technological advancements that will probably occur many years from now. But even if man had developed ways to make things "happen", a question was never answered until man and all other forms disappeared except the AC (automatic computer).... [tags: Asimov Last Question]
1987 words (5.7 pages)
- Isaac Asimov is one of the most well known of science fiction writers as well as one of the worlds most prolific writers of any genre. Isaac was born to Anna and Judah Asimov on January 2nd, 1920 (White 3), in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was a a short-lived republic that formed after World War 1. He later emigrated to Brooklyn, New York, with his family when he was only three years old (White 7). While living in Brooklyn, Isaac taught himself to read English before he was five years old, but retained his ability to speak Yiddish.... [tags: Biography]
972 words (2.8 pages)
- Isaac Asimov: Robotics Essay Uploaded by Klownsam (20) on Jul 4, 2004 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920 in Petrouchi, Russia. His parents were Judah and Anna Asimov. Isaac also has a sister Veronica and a brother Stanley. In 1923 his family immigrated to the United States. He and his family grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In Brooklyn his family ran a small candy and magazine store. This is one of the places where Asimov began to learn about printing.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1805 words (5.2 pages)
- Isaac Asimov is a very talented writer. Isaac focuses on the intensity of his novels and short stories. Suspense is one of the things he focuses on when writing short stories such as "Marooned off Vesta." "Marooned off Vesta is a story of triumph and intelligence. This story shows what can happen if you put your mind to it"(Corke). 	Isaac Asimov, of Jewish descent, was born in Petrovichi, U.S.S.R. on January 2, 1920. His parents were Judah and Anna Rachel Asimov. Isaac also had a brother named Stanley and a sister named Marcia.... [tags: essays research papers]
1686 words (4.8 pages)
This cause of action lets the character "simply follow the logic of Seldon's plan; he will do 'one hundred percent of nothing'"(Elkins 102). However, the reader is left in suspense until the crisis has reached its intended and predicted conclusion.
In conclusion, psychohistory is the foundation upon which Foundation is built. It provides the novel with a basis for the characters to make their decisions. Psychohistory also enforces the predetermination of the novel.