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In Foundation's Edge, a planet called Gaia is inhabited solely by Mentalics, telepathic beings whose minds are linked together into a vast collective mind. The collective mind calls itself Gaia and includes every organism and inanimate object on the planet.

It has these known powers.

  • It can sense the thoughts of non-Gaian humans.

  • It can adjust the thoughts and memories of non-Gaian humans, even when those humans are hundreds of kilometers away in orbit above Gaia.

  • Every human within Gaia can access deep Gaian memories from hundreds of years ago.

  • It can adjust the physical climate of the Gaian world so that humans live in comfort.

  • When a Gaian-human is separated from Gaia by hundreds of light-years, that human maintains instantaneous communication with the Gaian world.

It also has limits.

  • It was not aware of political changes throughout the galaxy until one of its own, known as the Mule, escaped from Gaia.

What are Gaia's powers and limits?

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    Didn't you just answer your own question?
    – Dima
    Aug 15 '20 at 13:52
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Let's take your last two points:

When a Gaian-human is separated from Gaia by hundreds of light-years, that human maintains instantaneous communication with the Gaian world.

It was not aware of political changes throughout the galaxy until one of its own, known as the Mule, escaped from Gaia.

From these, I think it is reasonable to surmise that, for communication/sensing across hyperspatial distances, there needs to be a part of Gaia at 'both ends of the call'.

Presumably, after the Mule's exploits, Gaia sent out agents to various strategic locations throughout the galaxy – notably, to the Two Foundations' HQs on Terminus and Trantor, which led, ultimately, to the summoning of Golan Trevize and Stor Gendibal.


Another significant limit to Gaia's powers concerns the robot, R. Daneel Olivaw (who was, essentially, the creator of Gaia). Quoting that remarkable robot (from Ch. 101 in Foundation and Earth):

"I can, as an associate of Gaia, make myself aware of what Gaia is aware of … Gaia, however, cannot make itself aware of what I am aware of … "

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