Hari Seldon's "Psychohistory"-is It Feasible?

Also, even absent the hyperintellectual robot, it only worked because it was a work of fiction in which the author can simply declare that something works because it is useful for the plot for it to do so.

I would suggest that for his next project the OP work on the atomic structure of unobtanium. I’m sure there’s a Nobel in that one.:slight_smile:

That was a later development, though. He didn’t include that until the 80s.

Simple answer to the OP is no, because it’s chaotic.

The answer is “no” reagarding far simpler subjects, for the same reason.

Things that are chaotic have mass properties, but one of those properties is that there is a lot you can’t predict about the results of even a fairly simple experiment, without actually running a perfect simulation. A perfect simulation is rarely possible, other than just setting up the real thing and letting it go.

Psychohistory would have to predict inventions, which is really quite impossible. Asimov handles that by saying that necessary things get invented, but the problem is, only possible things get invented. Faster-than-light travel is necessary, but is it possible? If you can’t answer questions like that, you can’t predict what will actually be invented. (And that’s the easiest reason; there are more.)


I’m just going to post this before I go dig through my library, but Lem’s Futurology has some interesting parallels.

In Asimov’s Foundation works, FTL travel has already been invented, and is long-established. It may even be that that was a necessary precondition to the development of psychohistory, since it allowed for populations much larger than that of a single planet to all interact.

And MiguelDetonacciones, you seem to be saying that there’s a prediction in there, but I can’t see one anywhere. I’m looking for something like “By the year 2050, Europe will be united into a single nation”, or “By the year 2075, humans will have colonized other worlds in our Solar System”, or “The US will have a female President before humans first land on Mars”. Just saying things like “Humans will enter a new era of history” is useless, because first, it leaves ill-defined just what a new era of history would look like, and second, because it gives no timeline under which we can eventually say “No, that prediction didn’t come true”.


The context of the F.E.D. predictions is their scientific, systematic, taxonomic progression of the forms of scientific prediction, in the context of their scientific, systematic presentation of the progression of the psychohistorical systems of mathematics, and the growing capability of each successive axioms-system to describe scientific predictions ever-more concretely.

The predictions to which you are referring arise from the F.E.D. “first psychohistorical algebra”, which, in their systematics, comes right after the “0th” psychohistorical algebra, that of the “Natural” Numbers arithmetic, which can only present quantitative ordinality / ordinal quantity [or cardinal quantity], unqualified in any way.

Their second system in this progression of psychohistorical mathematics, their “first psychohistorical algebra”, is “contra” to the “Natural” Numbers system, and can express [only] qualitative ordinality, or ordinal quality, without any quantification.

So, what you can get from their “first psychohistorical algebra” is ordinal prediction.

Predicting that the next in order major ontological category to be instantiated in the cosmos, after the category of “humanity”, h, is the category of “meta-humanity”, y, and that this next category contains a sub-order of sub-categories – (1st) the sub-category of individual “meta-human” bodies created by “human-genomic self-re-engineering”, g, (2nd) the sub-category of individual “meta-human” bodies created by “android robotics”, r, and (3rd) the sub-category of individual “meta-human” bodies created by a dialectical synthesis of the “meta-human” body-creating modes of the 1st and 2nd subcategories, q****rg = c, "cyborg prosthetics / bionics, IS A PREDICTION, but it is an ORDINAL PREDICTION only, issuing from an algebraic language that is only capable of expressing qualitative ordinality, including [especially] temporal ordinality, or chronological ordinality.

To obtain quantitative determinations, such as the predicted date of irruption of the new cosmological ontology of “meta-humanity”, y, would require a later psychohistorical-mathematical language in the F.E.D. systematic progression-presentation of their systems of psychohistorical-mathematical languages.

I think it would take at least the 15th system in that progression – the “alpha-mu” system of psychohistorical-mathematical ideographical language – to exp0ress what you require. Moreover, the <<arche’>> language-system for that progression would have to be at least the [purely-quantiative] “Real” Numbers axioms-system, R, not the “Natural” Numbers axioms-system, N.

To my knowledge, F.E.D. has not made public versions of their “psychohistorical- dialectical equations” written in anything beyond the “first psychohistorical-dialectical algebra”, which they denote by N****Q_.

I will, in my next post here, narrate the first few stages in the systematic presentation of the progression of the F.E.D. psychohistorical-algebraical language-systems.

Could someone with higher math skills please tell me whether I am being dazzled by brilliance, or baffled by bullshit?

There are things today, that on a much smaller and limited scale, are sort of like what psychohistory purported to be.

For example, the reason we don’t hear much about Somali piracy these days is due to the application of data mining and predictive analysis. Basically, there’s enough data on the pirates to develop an accurate enough model of their behavior to effectively deploy naval assets and/or re-route shipping to render them ineffectual.


But scaling that up much wouldn’t be reasonable- you’d end up with a huge number of outcomes, with groups being more likely than others, but any one outcome not having any advantage over others.

Looking at the website, it looks a lot to me as if someone is having a bit of fun with a pastiche of Asimov’s books. A bit of a mélange of Foundation and Illuminati (with more Shea/Wilson than Asimov.) I see absolutely nothing that is even vaguely real mathematics. As noted earlier in the thread, if you look even slightly below the surface, it isn’t even wrong. Just a mash up of random snippets of notation.

So far it seems its predictive ability is confined to stating that
[li]Human history will happen.[/li][li]Things will change.[/li][li]Change will happen in a linear order.[/li][li]Events that cause other things will happen first.[/li][/ol]

The Systematic Order of Presentation for the F.E.D. Psychohistorical Algebras.
This introduction outlines steps 0 through 3 of the F.E.D. dialectical model equation for its systems-progression presentation, or “meta-systematic dialectical” presentation, of its axioms-systems of dialectical arithmetic.
It aims to aid the understanding F.E.D.’s first psychohistorical arithmetic / algebra, the language in which the seven F.E.D. psychohistorical equations published so far – as well as F.E.D.’s published equations which address other-than-human domains of the cosmos, e.g., the domain of pre-human Nature – are all written. [For an early pictorial rendition of this application, see –

– and –

http://www.dialectics.org/dialectics/Primer_files/7_PrimerII_OCR.pdf ].
It also aims to aid the understanding of F.E.D.’s second through seventh systems of psychohistorical arithmetic, each of which can express a richer version of those seven psychohistorical equations, relative to what its predecessor arithmetics can express.
This presentation of the progression of the F.E.D. systems of psychohistorical arithmetical / algebraical language is, interestingly enough, also modeled, by the F.E.D. psychohistorians, using this first psychohistorical language, via one of their “Seldon Function” equations, a “Seldon Equation” which I have outlined, briefly, below.
Each successive system of psychohistorical arithmetic / algebra in this systems-progression is stronger in descriptive power, and contains the arithmetical and algebraic wherewithal to describe experienced reality more richly, less abstractly, more concretely, and more specifically than its predecessor axioms-system / language.
The F.E.D. “first psychohistorical arithmetic” / algebra is the language weakest in descriptive power in this progression of languages, with one exception.
That weakest of all of these systems is the system of language / arithmetic / algebra of the “Natural” Numbers, the numbers of the set N****L = { 1, 2, 3, . . ., L }, where L denotes the effective finite Limit of the “Natural Numbers” for a given practical context of discourse, e.g., ‘‘‘the largest “Natural” Number representable within the computer hardware/software system that we are using to facilitate our discussion’’’.
[Note: In a definition like N****L = { 1, 2, 3, . . ., L }, ‘N****L’ is said to be an “intension” or “intensional [“connotational”] symbol”, whereas ‘{ 1, 2, 3, . . ., L }’ is said to be an “extension”, or “extensional symbol”, because the latter specifies individual content of the entity defined, whereas the former merely “names” it as a whole].
That weakest system – the system of arithmetic that is the weakest in this progression of systems of arithmetic in terms of the ‘‘‘thought-concreteness’’’ of its descriptive power – is the axioms-system of the “first-order” “Natural” Numbers, which we will denote by N_, by itself, can supply only abstract, unqualified, unmodified “quantifiers”.

Mere “quantifiers” are but one fragment of the many language-elements that we need in order to describe experienced reality with any specificity or concreteness.
The second language-system in that progression-presentation, the F.E.D. “first psychohistorical arithmetic”, is capable of far richer descriptions of reality than the first language-system in this progression-presentation, N_, even though that second system in this presentation is restricted to purely-qualitative descriptions: that second language-system cannot express “quantifiers”, just as the first system, N_, cannot express “qualifiers” – whether “ontological qualifiers”, or “metrical qualifiers”, or “dynamical system qualifiers”, or other “arithmetical qualifiers”.
Therefore, this second system presents itself as a potential “algorithmic heuristic” – as an “intuitive-intensional”, i.e., “connotational”, non-“extensional”, algebra, much like original Boolean algebra, but also a deep contrary to that Boolean algebra.
However, it is of a kind of contrary of that Boolean algebra that also conserves and “contains” the core “law” of Boolean algebra within itself.

In F.E.D.’s psychohistorical theory, the [psycho]historical source of “artificial languages”, such as mathematical languages – whether or not this is known to those who historically constructed mathematics – is human “natural language”, first in the form of spoken language, and, later, in the form of written language as well.

They focus their presentation of their progression of psychohistorical-mathematical languages on natural language phrases of the following kind –

“two apples”

– and –

“two pounds of apples”.

In the first phrase above, they term “two” is an “ontological quantifier” – that is, a “KIND of thing quantifier”, and the term “apples” an “ontological qualifier” and an “ontological category [“symbolic-“]name”.
In the second phrase above, the term “two” is a “metrical quantifier”, or “unit of measure quantifier”, the term “pounds” is a “metrical qualifier” and a “metrical unit category name”, and the term “apples”, is, again, an “ontological qualifier” and an “ontological category name”.
Now, in ancient arithmetic – in the arithmetic of Plato’s «Arithmoi Monadikoi» and of Diophantus of Alexandria’s circa 250 C.E. treatise «Arithmetiké», which began symbolic [ideographical] algebra – the ontological unit qualifiers, and the metrical unit qualifiers, were symbolized, at least in a generic way, in an arithmetical / proto-algebraic symbolism.
That is, these “qualifiers” were part of arithmetic / algebra, just as much as were the “quantifiers”.
Diophantus’s treatise uses a capital “M” [the Greek letter “Mu”], with the letter “o” [the Greek letter “omicron”] written on top of that “M”, as an abbreviation, or “syncopation”, of the ancient Greek word «Monad», which simply means “unit” – the fact this M^o was a symbol for a qualitative entity, not for a quantity, notwithstanding.
Diophantus wrote, in place of our modern “2 + 2 = 4”, something like “ b’b’M^o = d’M^o ”, using the “Gematria” method, defining the primed second letter “ b’ ” to be the numeral for the number II, and the primed fourth letter “ d’ ” to be the numeral for the number IV.
However, after the European Dark Ages, and during the Renaissance revival of mathematics and arithmetic, including the emergence of full “symbolic” [ideographical] algebra, the “qualifiers” dropped out of arithmetic and its algebra – according to the F.E.D. psychohistorians, this elision of the qualifiers” arose due to very profound and telling psychohistorical causes, causes which we will not go into within this post.

The F.E.D. immanent critique [“internal critique”, or “self-critique”] of the first order axioms-system of the “Natural Numbers”, N_, brings the “qualifier” dimension back into arithmetic.

0. The initial step of the F.E.D. Seldon Function for this progression-presentation of psychohistorical arithmetics, step s = 0, merely reasserts the starting point of this progression-presentation, the “Natural” Numbers system of “pure, unqualified quantifiers”:

(N_)^(2^0) = N_.
In the “uninterpreted” F.E.D.’s “first psychohistorical arithmetic”, this maps to –

[ q1 ]^(2^0) = [ q1 ]^1 = q1.

1. The next step of their Seldon Function, step s = 1, conserves the initial language, but also outs, and adds, its most extreme “intra-dual” [“intra” because the added system is a model of the same first order Peano Postulates that the “Natural” Numbers, N_, are also a model of] –

(N_)^(2^1) = N_^2 = N_(N_) = N_ “of” N_ = N_ + NQ_

– where NQ_ is the F.E.D. symbol for their “first psychohistorical arithmetic” axioms-system.
In the “uninterpreted” F.E.D. “first psychohistorical arithmetic”, this maps to –

[ q1 ]^(2^1) = [ q1 ]^2 = q1 + q1+1 = q1 + q2.

What this equation says, per its F.E.D. standard interpretation, is that the “Natural” arithmetic, of “pure, unqualified quantifiers”, reflected upon/critiqued in its own immanent terms – a process of self-critique connoted by N_(N_), or by N_ “squared” – divulges explicitly its internal, formerly only implicit, hidden “intra-dual”, its extreme-opposite “contra-system”, which F.E.D. denotes by the symbol NQ_, which is the diametric qualitative opposite of the standard “Natural Numbers” arithmetic: it is the “meta-Natural” arithmetic of “pure, unquantifiable ontological-category qualifiers”, which still follows the first four, “first order” Peano Axioms, which Axioms were intended to embrace only the “purely quantitative” “Natural” Numbers, but which Axioms fail to do so exclusively [as explained in earlier posts].

2. The next step of their Seldon Function, step s = 2, is the self-critique, or immanent critique, of the result of the previous step, step s = 1: it is the self-critique of ( N_ + NQ_ )

**(N_)^(2^2) = N_^4 = (N_^2)^2 = ( N_ + NQ_ )(( N_ + NQ_ )) =

( N_ + NQ_ ) x ( N_ + NQ_ )) =

( N_ + NQ_ ) “of” ( N_ + NQ_ ) =

( N_ + NQ_ ) “squared”

N_ + NQ_ + NqQN + NqQQ = N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_

– where NqQN = NU_ is the F.E.D. symbol for their “second psychohistorical arithmetic” axioms-system, an arithmetic which critiques the separation of, and the opposition between, N_ and NQ_, by reconciling them, in an arithmetical language of explicitly “quantifiable ontological-Unit qualifiers” , or of ‘ontologically-qualifiable quantifiers’, and where NqQQ = NM_ denotes their “third psychohistorical arithmetic” axioms-system, an axioms-system of an arithmetic/algebra of “unquantifiable Metrical qualifiers”, which critiques the absence of explicit metrical qualifiers in both N_ and NQ_, by ‘‘‘present-ing’’’ a system which does contain that kind of qualifier.
In the “uninterpreted” F.E.D. “first psychohistorical arithmetic”, this maps to –

**[ q1 ]^(2^2) =

[ q1 ]^4 = q1 + q2 + [SIZE=“4”]q[/SIZE]2+1 + q2+2 =

q1 + q2 + q3 + q4**.

3. The next step of their Seldon Function, step s = 3, is the self-critique, or immanent critique, of the result of the previous step, s = 2.
That is, it is the self-critique of ( N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ )
**(N_)^(2^3) = N_^8 = (N_^4)^2 =

( N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ ) x ( N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ ) =

( N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ ) “of” ( N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ ) =

N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ + NqMN + NqMQ + NqMU + NqMM =

N_ + NQ_ + NU_ + NM_ + NqMN + NqMQ + NqMQN + NS**
– where NqMN is F.E.D.’s symbol for their “fifth psychohistorical arithmetic” axioms-system, an arithmetic which critiques the absence of a quantifiable metrical qualifiers arithmetic in step 2, by presenting one, where NqMQ denotes an axioms-system of arithmetic/algebra for explicit “compound Metrical unit qualifiers” [e.g., ML/T, or [gm. x cm.]/sec.’, for the ‘measuremental unit’ of “momentum”], which critiques the absence of such in step 2, by presenting one, where NqMU = NqMQN critiques the separation of, and the opposition between, ontological qualifiers and metrical qualifiers, in step 2, by presenting an arithmetic which unifies them [i.e., in dynamical system terms, which can explicitly, arithmetically, algorithmically, and “quanto-qualitatively” express both dynamical system “state-variables” and dynamical-system “control-parameters”, including a new kind of ‘arithmetical qualifiers’ for “state-variables” and for “control-parameters”], and where NqMM = NS critiques the absence of explicit dynamical system qualifiers in step 2, by presenting a system of arithmetic of unquantifiable dynamical system qualifiers.

In the “uninterpreted” F.E.D. “first psychohistorical arithmetic”, this maps to –

**[ q1 ]^(2^3) = [ q1 ]^8 =

q1 + q2 + q3 + q4 + q4+1 + q4+2 + q4+3 + q4+4 =

q1 + q2 + q3 + q4 + q5 + q6 + q7 + q8**.

The Seldon Function for the progression-presentation of the F.E.D. psychohistorical arithmetics / algebras / languages as a whole is –

)-|-(s = (N_)^(2^s)

– wherein the symbol ‘**)-|-(**s’ simply signifies the “cumulum”, “cumulator”, “accumulation”, “accumulator”, or “non-amalgamative sum”, of the interpreted arithmetical [axioms-system] category-qualifiers that are explicitly extant in step s of this immanent, self-critique of the “Natural” Numbers arithmetic.

The F.E.D. psychohistorians continue the presentation of this immanent critique of first-order “Natural” arithmetic far beyond s = 3, deriving ever richer and more powerful psychohistorical-mathematical languages.

See, for example, F.E.D.’s early text –

http://www.dialectics.org/dialectics/Primer_files/8_Fract1-1_OCR.pdf .

Is this a cut-and-paste from some website or textbook?

Nevermind-I found it.

No, I recently wrote it myself, for this discussion, and for others like it.

Rather than just giving us a lecture series we didn’t sign up for, could you just converse with us-maybe take questions?
Like-why do so many of the links at dialectics.com go to the apple.com start page?

The question was “Hari Seldon’s “Psychohistory” – is It Feasible?”

Therefore, exhibiting specimen’s of an already actualized mathematical psychohistory is HYPER-relevant to answering that question.

But, yes, I am totally open to responding to questions from participants here.

To your question: It is helpful to distinguish underlining for emphasis from underlining for hyperlinks.

The two are, visually, quite different on the www.dialectics.org site.

Once you learn to distinguish emphasis from links, you can avoid wasting time clicking on non-links, and getting the Apple site by default.

So the apple links just appeared magically when you happened to underline words? Wow!
Here is a serious question: Could you give us a simple definition of “Psychohistory”-no math, please?


Could you please give us a simpler definition, preferably without the multi-hyphenated and strangely bracketed psychobabble?

Paraphrasing the official F.E.D. Definition, and other, related F.E.D. sources, i would define ‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ as follows –
‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ names the theory of the historical development of a planetary humanity, created by that planetary humanity itself – a theory of self that can only be achieved after a certain stage in the [psycho]historical development ***of ***that humanity is attained by that humanity.

Specifically, this ‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ holds that ‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ can first appear only in that phase of human development in which not mere Appropriations of Natural Products, rawunimproved by human labor for human consumption – and not “mere” Products of human labor, not exchanged, or exchanged only intra-tribally, as mere “Gifts”, and not that phase in which mere barterable Commodities constitute the most advanced socio-economic relation among those humans, and not even in that phase in which Monies constitute the most advanced socio-economic relation among those humans, but only in the next phase after that, in which Industrial Capital-value constitutes the most advanced, and still-advancing, socio-economic relation on that human[oid] planet.

This mathematical, scientific theory of humanity by humanity focuses on ‘’‘The Human Phenome’’’, but extends also to the evolving “complex unity” of ‘’‘The Human Phenome’’’ with “The Human Genome”.

This ‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ forsees the collapse of that planet’s human civilization into a Final *** Dark Age*** – this is what Karl Seldon calls “The Meta-Darwinian Planetary Selection Test” of that planetary humanity, which it must “pass” if it is to advance to, and to actualize, the interplanetary and “meta-human” phases of its potential psychohistorical development.

If this humanity fails that “Test”, that humanity, and, typically, its entire noo-biosphere, becomes “extinct”.

The possessors of that ‘’‘Psychohistory’’’ organize to avert that Final Dark Age, or at least to reduce both its severity and its duration, in accord, e.g., for planet Terra, with the ‘’‘Seldonian Imperative’’’, if their efforts are too late to do more than partially avert the descent towards that Final Dark Age.

On planet Terra, this descent is already well underway.

It began with the “Great Deflation” in the U.S. in the later 1800s.