In the Foundation series, every time there is a "Seldon Crisis", Hari Seldon appears in a Time Vault and updates the citizens of the Foundation on the latest crisis. He discusses why the last crisis happened, how it was resolved, and why it was necessary for the evolution of the Foundation. For Salvor Hardin's two crises, the reader joins the Foundation in watching Seldon's speeches in the Time Vault. For Hober Mallow's crisis, and the victory against the empire, the reader and the Foundation do not see Seldon's speeches. It is explicitly mentioned in Foundation and Empire that nobody bothered to watch Seldon for these last Time Vault appearances.

My question is: Why would the citizens of the Foundation skip these speeches? Yes, they had already overcome the crises so it may not have been considered as important as the first crisis when Seldon reveals the true nature of the Foundation and alludes to the Anacreonian crisis. However, considering that the Foundation essentially considers him a deity who controls their destinies, it seems crazy that they would have just not bothered to show up. I can understand Asimov leaving out the speeches and then later alluding to them having been seen by the Foundation, but why did he explicitly mention that nobody had bothered to watch them?

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    Its been a while since I read the series, but I seem to remember that things didn't run to plan for a while. During that period, Seldon appeared but no one was there because his appearance didn't coincide with anything going on at the time. His appearances weren't announced ahead of time - you had to sort of be expecting something critical to happen, then hang around the vault waiting for him to show up. There's mention of one character who did just that.
    – JRE
    Jul 1, 2017 at 8:10
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    If every time your founder showed up being prophetic, he essentially said "you'll figure this out on your own, because I calculated for it", you might stop listening to him too, and just get with the practicality of fixing your own mess (as he intended).
    – Radhil
    Jul 1, 2017 at 10:14
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    @JRE The appearances I'm referring to happened before The Mule (i.e. when things were still on track).
    – DIMMSum
    Jul 1, 2017 at 16:56
  • @Radhil I guess, but in this case "every time" was 4 times in 2-3 centuries
    – DIMMSum
    Jul 1, 2017 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


In short it was because two first crises were resolved by essentially doing nothing. I know that Hardin did not "did nothing", but that was how the Terminus saw those things.

This has given the Foundation people the sense of inevitability of their success, so they did not bother with some old man saying they're doing okay. And one point for the comments to the question: Seldon appeared in the Vault always AFTER the crisis has been resolved with one exception only. And even then Seldon's "ghost" said they successfully quashed the rebellion (IIRC, of course).

Also, if I remember correctly that was the overall sense of the passage the two missed appearances were mentioned in.


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