In Asimov’s famous “Foundation” books the the main character Hari Seldon develops a science called “psychohistory”. This science allows people to create an accurate “prophecy”, in other words precisely predict the direction and even events of human history in advance, based on mathematical formulas. The only condition is that the sample size for human society has to be “large enough” for such formulas to work.
Although those books are obviously in the genre of science fiction, the idea is not far fetched, impossible at all. As long as humanity continues developing driven by the instinctive, inherent human nature, that is solely self-serving, self-justifying, it is possible to predict our future direction even without mathematical formulas.
There have been many through history who made accurate predictions, especially the so called “prophets”, who described events of our times from the distance of several thousands of years ago, which predictions are gradually coming true in our days. They also called ours “the last generation”, attributing great significance to the people existing in this era.
Up to this point, contrary to our beliefs human beings had no free choice at all. We have been blindly following our instinctive nature, reacting to anything around us based on our operating software that is “written” on an egocentric “pleasure/pain principle”. This simply means constantly moving closer to ever increasing pleasures for ourselves, while staying away from real or expected painful stimuli.
While other natural beings have the same “pleasure/pain principle” written in their basic software, operating self-preservation and survival reflexes, this software in all other parts of the vast, cosmic natural system is overridden by mutual guarantee.
This means that the primary calculation, the first law for any operation is keeping the general balance and homeostasis of the whole system. The calculation for the well-being of the collective always overrides the personal, individual calculations.
This override is completely missing in human beings. We are all existing as unique individuals, only connecting, building societies grudgingly, for more effective survival while looking for every opportunity to exploit the mutual connections for our own sake. Thus most of the time we actively work against balance and homeostasis.
As a result human history is a recurring chain of vicious cycles, always starting with new hopes, new ideologies and social, economic and governing structures. But gradually our selfish, egoistic nature distorts even the best laid plans, most effective, fool proof looking ideologies, thus we end up in crisis situations, dead end from where only violent explosions offer “resolution”. Then we start building again on the ruins of the last civilisation.
But we never learn from history, our inherent nature can’t change or act any differently. We are like hopeless alcoholics, who simply have to carry on drinking even when becoming terminally ill.
At Breaking Point
In the “Foundation” books psychohistory is developed at a time when the actual civilisation nears its breaking point, although externally it still seems that things are going well. Only to the unique scientist, armed with its special method it is clear that the global human society is in fast decline. He is predicting an imminent collapse, and descent into barbaric chaos that would last for a very long time, before a new, more stable civilisation could be built.
Today we are at the end of our present cycle, sinking ever deeper into crisis, in certain regions the barbaric chaos is already visible. We are sleepwalking closer to our “cycle resolving” violent explosion. Judged by the last such explosion including two World Wars only 70-80 years ago, this next one could wipe out humanity completely.
Many people are shocked by the rise of extremist forces, people are scratching their heads how Brexit happened or how such a brash, bruising personality, “populist” like Donald Trump could become the American President. They also can’t understand how the predictions before those elections failed so spectacularly. It is because we still live in an illusion and refuse to look into the mirror in order to see who we are and where we are.
Looking at it from systematic, “prophetic” point of view there is nothing surprising about Trump’s victory and about the very likely similar “populist” or even “extreme right” or “extreme left” election victories all over the world very soon. The rise of populist, extremist forces, movements is usually the symptom of the mainstream ideology, system failing people.
These election victories are much more the defeats of the candidates representing the “establishment”, representing continuity, than victory for the candidates gaining votes at their expense. At this point people are still “revolting” through the ballot box rather than revolting violently on the streets.
The “victors” are accidental heroes, riding the wave of popular discontent. The problem is that they also don’t have the tools or method of solving the problems people are increasingly unhappy about.
Our modern failure is the most painful of all. We have failed with the most perfect and fool proof looking ideology and system humanity could come up with. We distorted and corrupted “liberal democracy” and “free market economy” as a result of our inherently selfish, egoistic nature getting the better of us.
With our artificially generated “aggregate demand”, the illusion of constant quantitative growth, ruthless and exclusive competition against one another and the natural environment, we drove ourselves to the cliff’s edge. Human activity at all levels, including our sciences, culture, education and even the most fundamental building block of society the family, is falling apart.
As it turns out we neither know ourselves, the nature that drives us, nor the natural, fully integrated system we exist in. Thus at present we have no chance of solving problems or safeguarding our future survival.
Asimov’s hero, Hari Seldon recommends the establishment of two unique foundations to the leaders of the collapsing civilisation of his time. One for cataloguing and reviving all scientific and technical knowledge of the natural reality. And another one to develop a unique group of scientists, who with the help of psychohistory and unique “mind influencing” capabilities – like the “Jedi” – could guide humanity towards a better developmental path, shortening the chaotic, violent, transitional period.
The “prophets” of ancient time, who were actually real, empirical, natural scientists, recommended something very similar to us. Instead of “foundations” they recommended the establishment of unique mutual human circles, groups. In those groups we could realise the functions of Asimov’s foundations.
On one hand we could study, analyse and synthesise the real scientific knowledge, wisdom about our cosmic reality those original scientists already collected and sorted for us. At the same time we could practice “mind control”, generating and constantly strengthening an unprecedented, mutual, selfless, collective intelligence that could override our inherent selfish and subjective reason.
As a result we could build small, positive seeds, that could grow gradually larger and larger, reaching a critical mass at which point they can become “viral”, transforming, “healing” global human society. We are in the “last generation” where this fundamental, “supernatural” – shifting from a selfish, egoistic existence to a selfless, altruistic one – transformation has become realistic.
Humanity is softened enough through the recurring vicious cycles, failures, through the still painful memories of the World Wars, and the very real threat of global imminent disaster like salt softens meat. Thus people are attentive to at least listen and hear about this correction method.
At the same time the ancient method is ready and it is adjusted to our generation while there are already enough people, “aspiring psychohistorians”, contemporary empirical scientists to implement it.
Global shocks like the Brexit and Trump’s election for example provide a window of opportunity for starting the application, as long as people are softened and ready to listen before greater shocks come pushing us into much deeper despair.
We are at the crossroads of true free choice, for the first time in human history. Everything, all the conditions are prepared to make the right selection and start taking our future development into our own hands through those unique “foundations”.