I've recently finished Prelude to Foundation last week and I clearly remember that R. Daneel Olivaw said something like:

"I have another plan in another planet. It is harder and more radical than Psychohistory."

in the penultimate chapter when talking about his mission in the universe in order to secure the position of humanity. Since I read the series before, I thought he might be talking about The Second Foundation (saying that, Psychohistory is also the main tool of The Second Foundation so they may not be separated, I am not sure), because mental powers really dominate the events in the galaxy during the following story-line and The Second Foundation is the first place that it is understood and used effectively.

But then in the Forward Foundation

the idea of a second foundation belong to initially Yugo Amaril, accepted by Hari Seldon and developed by Wanda Seldon later.

Whose idea was The Second Foundation?

Was it...

An idea in Seldon's brain embedded by Daneel before he left him.

(or) Something that came to Amaril came all by sheer luck and Seldon found it logical

(or) Really an inevitable destiny pointed by Psychohistory so it was what Amaril saw first and Wanda proved with math later?

(or) A mistake of Asimov that when he first wrote Prelude to Foundation in 1988, he had introduced the Robot series already and referencing the idea of Foundation and Second Foundation by Daneel was a good idea to connect two universes. But later in pre-1993 when Forward The Foundation is written he thought a different way OR (unlikely) forgotten. It seemed better to credit the all Foundation plans to the main characters.

(or) Daneel was talking about something else which I cannot remember right now.

  • 12
    I'm reasonably certain our friendly robot was referring to Gaia, described in Foundation's Edge (1982)
    – Sconibulus
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:51
  • Oww yea, that is something I slightly remember.
    – ifyalciner
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:53
  • You don't need to tell people that there are spoilers behind your spoiler tags
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:54
  • @Valorum the list above also contains spoilers actually and I could not find a way to hide them. That's why I add it as an extra protection. If you can hide it be my guest.
    – ifyalciner
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:56
  • 1
    @ifyalciner - I've unspoilered the first paragraph. It's no secret that there's a Second Foundation if you've read the book titles for the sequels :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


The need for a Second Foundation was implicit in the mathematics of psychohistory, though Hari may also have been influenced by Daneel's advice, from the same discussion quoted in the question:

'Take my advice, Hari: If the time comes when you are able to set up some device that may act to prevent the worst from happening, see if you can think of two devices, so that if one fails, the other will carry on.'

That's just general advice, however. It doesn't mean that Daneel anticipated the Second Foundation, or even the First Foundation. If Daneel had already known what steps were necessary to prevent the Empire from collapsing (or to mitigate the harm caused by the collapse) he wouldn't have needed Hari to develop psychohistory in the first place.

In any case, as you point out, Amaril was the first person to see the need for the Second Foundation, so in that sense at least it was his idea. Perhaps at that point Hari remembered Daneel's advice and gave Amaril's suggestion more weight than he would otherwise had done, but there's no way to tell.

When Daneel mentioned "another plan" he was talking about Gaia. In Foundation and Earth he says:

'And meanwhile, five centuries ago, when it seemed that I would never work out methods for getting round all the difficulties that stood in the way of establishing Gaia, I turned to the second-best and helped bring about the development of the science of pyschohistory.'


The second foundation simply means the guardians of the plan that live and stayed in the imperial capital Trantor. The idea the Daneel Olivaw was referring was the taking over of the body of the long-lived Solarian child and continuing the oversight of the plan since he is really the power behind the Second Foundation.

Harry is correct, Daneel was referring to the Gaia super organism. I confused his goal with the means to accomplish the goal.

  • Yes it is coming to me now, but that raises another question. Why Seldon missed his grand-daughter a lot when they both were in Trantor... I think I need to finish series then come back to ask this :)
    – ifyalciner
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:31
  • Correct, I updated the answer to reflect your fact Harry Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 13:43

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