I re-read the Foundation series a few months ago but I was just thinking about it now in a case of very late Fridge Logic. If Daneel already established Gaia a long time ago, why did he feel the need to establish psychohistory and the Foundation? Wouldn't Galaxia already be a way to ensure the success of humanity in the universe?

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    I think he was hedging his bets. BTW, I've just removed the HUGE SPOILER from the title.
    – Andres F.
    Mar 18, 2013 at 23:05
  • Wow, I am currently on Second Foundation and have no idea what you are talking about. I thought I was 30 pages from finishing this series!
    – Jeff
    Mar 18, 2013 at 23:57
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    Please don't link to tvtropes as it has been known to kill people through dehydration.
    – WOPR
    Mar 19, 2013 at 0:18
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    @WOPR - incidentally, there are TVTropes pages related to dehydration, though peripherally. You're welcome. Mar 19, 2013 at 2:58
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    @Jeff - Apart from the original trilogy, Asimov also wrote two prequels Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation, and two sequels Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth. I suggest you keep reading by publication history. Mar 19, 2013 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


Daneel helped to create psychohistory, because he wasn't sure that Gaia would work. To quote from Die Rückkehr zur Erde (German Translation):

Unterdessen - vor fünf Jahrhunderten, als es schien mir würde es nie gelingen, all die Schwierigkeiten zu überwinden die der Gründung Gaias im Wege standen - wandte ich mich der zweitbesten Lösung zu und half mit, die Wissenschaft der Psychohistorik zu auszulösen.

Short english translation:

Five centuries ago, when it seems that I never could solve the problems of Gaias birth, I also implemented the second best solution and helped to create the science of psychohistory.

So he has done it, because he didn't know if Gaia would work.

Quote from Die Rückkehr zur Erde, Heyne Verlag ISBN 3-453-52018-1 Page 544 (German translation of "Foundation and Earth")

  • The original English passage is very similar: “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 psychohistory.”
    – gidds
    Jul 26 at 12:45

Daneel's mission, due to the three laws of robotics embedded in him (plus the zeroth law), was to ensure that humanity survives. His vision was a humanity that could better handle the inherent chaos of the universe. To reach this goal he formulated two approaches, a humanity guided by Psychohistory; and as an alternative, humanity as the super organism Galaxia (of which Gaia is a prototype).

Daneel couldn't predict which approach would work better so he initiated both of them, so that if one path leads to a dead end the other path would still have hope.

As it was apparent in Foundation and Earth, Daneel is continually tweaking his plans as he learns more and humanity itself develops. It is hinted that both approaches would eventually merge (and perhaps the genetic modification approach used by Solaria) into one grand solution of the human condition.

  • I wonder what function, if any, Daneel would take upon himself once Galaxia is complete.
    – Xantec
    Mar 19, 2013 at 19:24
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    @Xantec - If he's still functioning by that time, then the three (plus one) laws would compel him to stay on as humanity's silent protector. Unless, of course, humanity is so changed that it's no longer covered by the laws. Food for thought. Mar 19, 2013 at 19:27
  • I thought he initiated galaxia long before he even met Seldon to establish psychohistory? From what I understand, it took a long long time for humans on Gaia to begin their evolution process to merge with the collective mind.
    – z -
    Mar 19, 2013 at 19:47
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    @yx. - I don't remember the timeline exactly, but he could've initiated Psychistory later as a backup plan should Gaia fail. Or it could be the other way around, my memory is hazy on that. Mar 19, 2013 at 19:49
  • @yx. What became Gaia was established during the pre-empire days as one of the initial colony worlds, the world in fact where Daneel was constructed (if memory serves, he did get around a lot).
    – jwenting
    Mar 20, 2013 at 7:13

In the ending of Prelude to Foundation, Daneel talks to Hari Seldon. Daneel says that besides psychohistory, he is also working on another plan, far from this one, because he can't be sure either one will work. In Prelude to Foundation, this explains part of why Daneel is so busy, because besides having to be the first minister of the emperor Cleon, he also works with Gaia.

Daneel does not tell what his other plan is, but we learn about Daneel's connection with Gaia in Founation and Earth, and some more details in David Brin's Foundation's Triumph.

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