Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Two Organizations

Having mentioned organizations in future histories, we should contrast Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic Institute with Isaac Asimov's Second Foundation. In Asimov's Foundation series, Hari Seldon is able to devise a science of society merely because the human population of a colonized Galaxy is large enough to have become mathematically predictable whereas Anderson's Valti synthesizes and extends existing relevant disciplines.

Following Valti, the Psychotechnic Institute significantly increases the practical understanding of individual psychology and physiology and of social dynamics whereas, following Seldon, the Second Foundation makes an impossible leap from predictive psychohistory to a mixture of hypnotic and semi-telepathic mental powers.

The Institute advises government and is overthrown by a revolution whereas the Second Foundation, somehow manipulating populations without holding any direct political power, conceals even its existence from the rest of humanity.

See here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, while Anderson later became dissatisfied with his Psychotechnic stories, they were still more plausible than Asimov's Foundation series. HOW on Earth did a band of mathematicians and historians somehow develop the mental powers we see in the later Foundation tales? That would imply branching out into biology and genetics, and we never see any mention of that!

Also, Anderson shows us how the efforts of his Psychotechnicians were eventually thwarted thru them being unable to cope with massive socio/economic/political change. By contrast, Asimov has his Psychohistorians overcoming opposition or adverse social changes too easily to be plausible.