Asimov on Humanity


“...Dr. Seldon, you disturb the peace of the Emperor’s realm. None of the quadrillions living now among all the stars of the Galaxy will be living a century from now. Why, then, should we concern ourselves with events of three centuries distance?”

“I shall not be alive half a decade hence,” said Seldon, “and yet it is of overpowering concern to me. Call it idealism. Call it an identification of myself with that mystical generalization to which we refer by the term, ‘humanity.’ ”

I'm re-reading "Foundation" and as when I was much younger, I'm struck by this brief exchange (from 1942, loosely based on the "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" writings) that defines our inability to look to and plan for the future.

Vital projects that range from fixing public school education, to rebuilding public infrastructure, to planetary science and outward exploration are suffering and setting our country and entire species back. Will we ever look forward? Will we ever truly set the stage for our grandchildren to chart the stars from an intimate seat amongst the vast depths of space?