Aquinas's Commentary On The Metaphysics

#167- Asimov’s Foundation Part 2

Scott and Karl finish their discussion of the first novel in Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction masterpiece, Foundation.

The novel is set in the future, when the world is barely remembered, and humans have colonized the galaxy. While this series helped to redefine the science-fiction genre, the duo takes issue with the ways this make-believe society responds to the problems Asimov lays out and the use of mathematics and probability to predict the future. As Karl points out, “Scientific progress as a moral good makes no sense.”

Tune in to hear Part Two of Scott and Karl’s conversation. Brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com

Transcript

Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the online great books podcast brought to you by online great books.com where we talk about the good life, the great books, a great conversation, and great ideas

Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to the online great books podcast. This is Brett, I am the producer. And today Scott and Karl continue their discussion on Isaac Asimov’s 1951 book, Foundation. And you’re saying to yourself, darn, I still haven’t even read it. Don’t worry, they barely talk about it in this show. In fact, I would like to see, from my vantage point as the producer, and listener, an episode of online great books picture this, where there is the name of a book in the title of the show. But then the whole show goes by without Scott and Karl even mentioning it once. Now, they came closer than usual, to that feat in this episode, but Karl kept bringing Scott back to the main stuff. Please remember to visit online great books.com, especially if book discussions are something that you’re into. And at least join the mailing list so you can get updates so you can know when enrollment into the online Great Books program is open. And stay tuned to the end of the show today to find out what Scott and Karl are going to be up to next. As always, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for your time and attention. This is part two of Scott And Karl’s discussion of foundation. And I overlapped this show in the last show by about two minutes, they were in the middle of a kind of heavy discussion about the right side of history. So we’re gonna go back just so you can grab the context of that. All right, here we go.

Scott Hambrick 2:09
Ask them off in all the science fiction magazines, and radio shows, like x minus one and all that stuff from this era are one of the reasons the boomers are the way they are?

Karl Schudt 2:23
Yeah, probably me too. I read all their stuff.

Scott Hambrick 2:25
Yeah, they were they were inculcated are with a with a worldview that is out of fiction. They think that everything is always going to improve, they think that science has the answer. And they see that sort of history or the scope of time, is a character and acts in and of itself. So they don’t have a responsibility. Like, I don’t have to do this, I don’t have to take action, I don’t have to preserve this, I don’t have to, I don’t have to do anything, because progress is going to fix it. And it’s all going to be okay. So I’ll go buy my RV. And, you know, spend the kids inheritance, you know, whatever, what if

Karl Schudt 3:12
you bought land and an RV and parked it there, and then occasionally took the RV to the lake.

Scott Hambrick 3:18
That might be called thrift. But see, the boomer would buy the land somewhere around 2000 miles from where all their kids and grandkids are. And they would go there just in the winter, Christmas. Right? And then they would come back every now and then and park in the driveway of you know, one of the kids and just you know, be an interloper for a week. So that’s not what they do. But you know, they don’t really have a responsibility because, you know, science and the scope of history is going to take care of things. And this is one of the reasons why you hear from the modern person. Well, you know, they’re gonna be on the wrong side of history. Well, how does that fucking happen? What does that mean? What do you what do you realize history have a side? What are you talking about? What does that mean? But well, it’s

Karl Schudt 4:09
when you see Scott it’s the hegalian dialectic as the working out of the freedom of the human through thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Yeah, you’re right, to be instantiated in the Prussian state of the 1800s. Yeah, you’re right. It just, it naturally happens. It’s the working out of freedom over history. You can’t stop it. You can only be on its side or not on its side. Write history has a side. I don’t know that history has a side. That doesn’t make sense to me. The way you determine a side to your listeners, you have to read your Aristotle. Okay, you have to read your Plato and Aristotle and then after that, you know,

Scott Hambrick 4:53
stop, you’ll be okay. Just stop reading then.

Karl Schudt 4:58
You don’t need to stop by it, you need to have read this stuff. And understand that things do not have sides unless they have a goal to which they’re directed. The Greek word for that is tell us. So the study of that is teleology. It’s one of the four causes, it’s the final cause. So you have material cause what’s it made of efficient? Cause who made it formal? Cause what the blueprint is? And then final cause, which is why you made it in the first place? What is the purpose for for it to serve? The word good? is defined in the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics is that at which all things aim? In other words, the good is the final cause. So if you say that history, you want to be on the right side of history, isn’t that

Scott Hambrick 5:49
a tautology? I mean, do you think no,

Karl Schudt 5:53
it’s not a tautology? Nope.

Scott Hambrick 5:56
So say, so what you’re saying is, if you aim for it, it is good. Or if it’s good, it’s what you aim for. I mean, like, isn’t that?

Karl Schudt 6:07
No, you don’t make it good. By aiming at it. You just naturally tend to aim at things that are good. If you are diseased or sick, and you aim at something wrong, that’s not the good, but you’re still aiming at it because you think it’s the good. Got it. Okay, so, to talk about history, having a side implies that there is a goal that history is striving toward history is just a word for a book, it’s just means researches. So what your meaning is that time is striving for a goal. Naturally, that events are striving towards a goal naturally, what’s the goal? And on the smaller scale, I mean, it’s such a terrible idea, it’s a terrible way to think so I want to bang on it for a little bit. I have a goal, I have a leader, I have a goal, I need to get some stuck bolts out of a back of a car, and I’m going to do action that leads to the goal. Okay, I am a rational agent for the most part, on my better days. And so I’m going to do that. If you say right side of history, you are shoveling off the personal agency onto an impersonal thing. Only people have goals. Or animals have goals to impersonal forces of history do not have goals. So that means somebody’s got a goal in mind. And it’s telling you that it’s history,

Scott Hambrick 7:46
right? A certain faction with a certain political goal has just assumed that the well it’s rhetoric, right, they’re just telling you that if you don’t side with them that you will resist it futilely essentially right, because history will win out and you were on the wrong side wasting your time.

Karl Schudt 8:09
So but back interestingly, on nine to five when Selden says we cannot stop the fall we do not wish to for inferior culture, Imperial culture has lost whatever virility and worth it once had there, you get a hint of the telos for reality and worth. He almost sounds like a very briefly like a Nietzsche and vitalist. Yeah, which, you know, say what you want about Nietzsche at least it’s an ethos, right. Scott is not going to get that I just was quoting The Big Lebowski. But you know, it’s fun and salver harden is a trickster. And what does he do? So he establishes the way he breaks the power of the anok. Korean and that Korean Kingdom is threatens to shut on

Scott Hambrick 9:04
anachronism, you know.

Karl Schudt 9:07
Yeah. Because the foundation has established this religious, they’ve established a church. So they threatened to shut it off if you don’t play ball, and so the inept Korean king buckles says we’re sorry. The religion stuff so when they’re teaching theology, they’re teaching fake theology to these kingdoms around them. They put an accurate under interdict. Okay interdict was a thing that during the height of the power of the Roman Catholic Church that it could do to a kingdom if the king didn’t do well, you could you’re going to interdict and you remove the sacraments from them. No priests are then allowed to give sacraments can’t get married, can’t get baptized can’t get communion can’t get last right And the people would care so much about their religion that they would put pressure on their king and the king would end up saying I’m sorry. So that’s the historical thing, like Henry. The second was put under interdict for the murder of Thomas Becket. And so he ends up kneeling before is his friend that he had had killed before his tomb and being whipped by monks. That’s the power of religion that Asimov is using, but it’s a fake sham religion.

Scott Hambrick 10:32
There you go again, aren’t they? Oh,

Karl Schudt 10:36
well, they’re either all fake Shams or

Scott Hambrick 10:38
one of them isn’t not very ecumenical of you.

Karl Schudt 10:41
So 151 I don’t tend firing a shot and simply that word went out a week ago that at midnight tonight the planet inaccurate and goes under the interdict every priest and an actor and is going on strike unless I counterman the order. Do you realize your highness that an attack on the foundation is nothing short of sacrilege of the highest order? Yeah, so maybe it is all religion it’s, it’s ridiculous. But this is page 158 In the name of the Galactic spirit enough His Prophet Harry Selden and of his interpreters, the Holy men of the foundation, I curse this ship lets the televises of the ship which are its eyes become blind, let its grapples, which are its arms to be paralyzed, etc. The ship died and the bottom of 158 for it is the chief characteristic of the religion of science, that it works. And that sets curses as that of apparatus are really deadly. So there’s our friends mochi, right. And the religion of science.

Scott Hambrick 11:45
Your friend asked him I was fully since I used to buy all of this, I used to believe all this.

Karl Schudt 11:52
Yeah, me to cause me a lot of trouble.

Scott Hambrick 11:57
Then you go live for five decades, and you see that science doesn’t, hasn’t gotten anything done. And then priorities change. And then you can see it, you know, it’s a hopeful Outlook, you know, that it’s a very appealing to young person. You know, but I never got my Hover car. You know, I remember Popular Science Magazine, I never got my Hover car.

Karl Schudt 12:21
Do you want to have a car?

Scott Hambrick 12:22
No, I don’t but, but when you see, but when you see the promises of science and technology, and not be, you know, not be fulfilled for 50 years? Then you you know, then you start to question it, or I did. Didn’t take me 50

Karl Schudt 12:39
years. Yeah, we haven’t gotten Star Trek. We’ve gotten TPS reports, right. You’re not on a ship exploring for the glory of I don’t know, advancing knowledge. Nope. You can just fill out more forms.

Scott Hambrick 12:52
Yep. Economic growth did not provide us with the personal liberty that that had the sort of anarcho capitalists or maybe the, or maybe even the Austrians or maybe, you know, the, the Milton Friedman style libertarians thought it would bring us maybe just go on and on and on with these sort of progressive claims. Because you know, even Milton Friedman is a progressive in that and see that none of it, you watch it for 50 years and see that it just doesn’t come true. There was a blip, there was a time when stuff happened. And they could conflate this so called progress with their political view. Right? So maybe ask them off could say, see, look, it’s 1965. And it’s happening. There’s no polio. Right? He could, he could say, oh, it’s night. It’s July 20 1969. We just landed on the moon. But it’s correlation. It’s not causation. You know, if somebody accidentally found antibiotics, you know, somebody destroyed Europe and left North America untouched, right on the tail end of having unlimited free land for 100 years and a few other things, you know, and it wasn’t a liberal democracy that caused all those things. Or science.

Karl Schudt 14:05
Yeah, yeah. So for me the the problem, it really does become clear when you start thinking, I’m going to keep banging on it for causes. Science doesn’t deal with the most important cause. Why? It’s methodological, you know, you do it, you abstract from the final cause in order to focus on the other ones. So you can really study efficient causality and figure out which atom is hitting which Adam, you know that that’s fine. You do it as a method. When the method itself becomes elevated to the end, well, now you’ve got a category mistake, and thinking of things in the wrong way. It’s yoga. Yes, science does not provide anything of morality. It can’t because, well, in fact, it doesn’t, because as per Part of its method it abstracts from it. And so scientific progress as a moral good, makes no sense. It’s like saying, sleeping Green Ideas as a moral good. It’s nonsense. You’re applying words together that that seem like they make sense. This is an example from I forget where it’s from Green Ideas sleep furiously. It sounds like it should make sense to you, but it doesn’t.

Scott Hambrick 15:36
To me, it’s like yoga becoming a religion. Right? If I move in the certain ways, then there’s yoga. If I move in these certain ways, you know, something good will come. You know, it’s, it’s a method. It’s an it’s like, it’s an exercise method or whatever. Although somebody that’s into that stuff, it’s gonna be yelling. Oh, it’s, uh, you know, it’s a meditative practice. And I don’t understand what I’m talking about. I think I understand it better than you do.

Karl Schudt 16:05
I think the Venn diagram of our audience and yoga practitioners

Scott Hambrick 16:11
they don’t touch.

Karl Schudt 16:13
It’s only a tiny,

Scott Hambrick 16:14
maybe a little Jordan Jones get out of here. Jordan. Trans wife really does stretch it. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

Karl Schudt 16:24
which is what you’d have to do to get me to stretch. You’d have to tell me it was religious or

Scott Hambrick 16:29
intellect would have to come to you and smile. You know, it’s, you know, it’s a thing. It’s a thing you do. And they confuse it with the good with the end. But it’s not it’s a, you know, it’s a practice. And it’s not the good, it’s not the end. And then science scientific method is a practice, but it’s not the the end or the good. I can’t really read this stuff anymore crawls stuff drives me nuts, man. It’s crazy making?

Karl Schudt 16:55
Well, we read it, so you don’t have to. Although, I mean, I don’t know as the most

Scott Hambrick 17:02
fun. It is, it is fun. How did he know? Harry Selden? How does he know, that harden when faced with the Selden crisis is going to act properly. Now, he says, from time to time, they’re going to be coming to these choke points. And there’ll only be one way out. How does he know that they’re only going to take that one way out? Like, you know, and they and they do and it seems to work. And it may be, you know, an it’s almost like an Agatha Christie novel, or mystery, you know, they come to this choke point, you’re like, oh, no, what are they going to do? And then they then a little piece of information was revealed that you didn’t have before. And then the path forward is, you know, justified, you know, after hard and takes it or whatever, you know, which is fine. It’s fun. But nuclear deterrence and in, you know, mutually assured destruction in geopolitics is essentially this. Like they they just trust that people are going to have these weapons, and that there’s only one way they could possibly act in the face of this existential threat, right. They think that nuclear weapons there’s has put everybody in a in a heart in a in a Selden box, and that they’re always going to act rationally. And that nuclear deterrence works. And they go, Well, it’s worked since 1985. That’s no time at all. That’s no time at all.

Karl Schudt 18:31
That’s no time at all. Yeah, so that was I said, there were three problems. And I can’t remember what the third one was. First one is psycho history. And then, great, man, what was the third one?

Scott Hambrick 18:46
That world governments good or that this this big, giant overarching government was? A good?

Karl Schudt 18:51
Yeah, the problem of Telos and then yeah, and so you get to the the seldom crisis. There’s only so many choices you could make, but it takes an exceptional man to recognize the choice to take. And how do you predict an exceptional man?

Scott Hambrick 19:08
Socrates can virtue be taught? Harry

Karl Schudt 19:10
Selden? Yes, by my formulas, I will constrain it so that only virtuous men arise. Yeah, so I’m thinking of the siege of Vienna by the Turks. Things looked really bad for Europe. This is like 1611, something like that. If you didn’t have the King of Poland, Sobieski, charging down the mountain. He was so old and fatty had to be helped on his horse. He couldn’t climb his own horse, but he led that cavalry charge and relieve the see. If he’s not there, what’s going to happen? Are the forces of history going to lift the siege? It needed the crazy King of Poland. I don’t know that he was crazy. But

Scott Hambrick 19:53
how do you know that the crazy King of Poland isn’t going to be suffering from exhaustion like Stonewall. You know in the Insert a campaign and just not be there.

Karl Schudt 20:04
Gosh, speaking of that, you know, the impersonal forces of history dictate the conclusion of the Civil War, or was it? Jackson getting shot by his own troops? Mistake? In the aggregate, that’ll all work out well. Okay, maybe. But the story that Asimov wrote is not a story about the aggregate because you can’t write a novel about the aggregate, it has to have characters. And so he has characters pop up at these points. And I don’t know that you can, you can guarantee that, by the way, so if you watch no better if you read Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, the writing the the the row Hyrum, descending on the city and relieving the siege of minus Tirath. That’s inspired by the siege of Vienna. So the actual things pretty cool. I think they came out of the sun too. I mean, they waited for Dawn and came out of the sun. So you couldn’t look at him? More ludicrous armor with wings on it? Yeah, a much unknown bit of history.

Scott Hambrick 21:17
Yeah, I hope, I don’t know, I hope if somebody reads this, that they’re thinking about it, at least kind of like I am, or you are. Because people try to do this. Now, these economists are trying to do this or trying to say, Well, if we know enough about economics, and we know enough about people will be able to get rid of the business cycle. And if they can, but underlying that is the assumption that consumers are rational, and that prices are efficient. Prices are not efficient. They’re the best we can do. But they’re not as efficient as they think. The people who set prices are the people who have the least use for the thing. And the people who have the most use for the thing. a corn farmer that has 200,000 bushels of corn has almost no use for that corn, he’s gonna sell it a very, very low price. And the person who’s willing to buy the most by that at the highest price is going to go to the front of the line. So the rest of us that just need some we don’t get a vote there. We don’t get a vote. And I know that somebody who has been brainwashed by all this is saying that well, what’s the what’s the supply chain and all the value ads are priced in there, then, you know, the mid range consumer will be able to buy at a slightly higher price. Because no, that’s actually not how it works at every step of the way, every step of the way. The person who wants at least and the person who wants it the most set the price. So if you take corn, you grind it up, which is adding value somehow grinding corn is adding value, Karl, and make corn meal out of it. You can buy corn meal by the by the hopper car on a train, you could buy that much, or you can buy a one pound sack at Walmart. If you’re buying it the one pound level, the person who wants one pound the most has more pricing power than the one who wants it the least. That’s not to say once zero, just maybe can do without it today. The prices don’t tell you everything. Karl’s looking his eyes are darting around. I don’t know if the shifty like Asimov or if he’s thinking

Karl Schudt 23:41
shifty like asthma. No, I’m thinking about it. People don’t necessarily act rationally. So what happens when there’s a religious revival and people decide that eating corn is verboten? You know, things like that happen. You know, imagine you, you’re a pig farmer in Egypt, in 620. Ad selling for and then Muhammad Ali, you can’t sell it, you get wiped out. Humans are not entirely rational. And so Selden would say I’m presuming Well, that’s true. But if we get a quadrillion of them, they are.

Scott Hambrick 24:28
Yeah, but that’s another thing. There aren’t a quadrillion people, you know, in okay, there’s, let’s say there’s 8 billion people on earth, there aren’t 8 billion have the same kind of person. The central planner assumes that everyone has the same kind of mind as everyone else does. And the same kind of priorities. And so they will have the same vision of the goods so that they will, you know, act in a in a in a predictable way, and they don’t like we’re seeing that now.

Karl Schudt 24:58
What they might do is write off the ones that don’t Don’t act the right way. Right? And make things very difficult for them so that they’re no longer participants. So you clean up your sample.

Scott Hambrick 25:08
Is that your final solution to this problem here? Cleaning up the sample.

Karl Schudt 25:18
Yeah. Get rid of the data points that don’t match right. You know, no, true. It’s not that communism is bad. It’s that it’s never been tried all the places where it failed, weren’t it? Right, right, right. We just don’t count them. I want to go to support for the traders. So we have the time of the mayor’s it’s written like a history book. We have the traders and we have this motto that that salvor Hardin is supposed to have said. Which is like it’s Thank you Isaac Asimov for giving the whole problem with your book in a nutshell. So this is in the little, we have little excerpts from the Encyclopedia Galactica. Before these main sections, it’s about the development of the traitors, but they have one of salver hardens. epigrams, never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. And so we have tales of plucky traders, figuring out ways to advance the interests of the foundation by handing like nonworking personal shields and dishwashers and stuff and, you know, trading $40 worth of beads for the island of Manhattan. But it’s okay. Because you never let your morals your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. So how could that statement be true? Like guess it’s a moral statement? How could that statement be good? Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

Scott Hambrick 26:56
Now see this. Oh, God.

Karl Schudt 27:02
I feel like I’m torturing him today.

Scott Hambrick 27:04
I’ve run into this and so many. You run into this with people who first start reading the great books. Where they wrestle with this idea about are the differences between, you know, what are ethics? What are morals? What is the good, what is justice? You know, that kind of get all these things all sort of confused, and people have an idea about ethics, that it’s sort of a practical thing, kind of but morals are more social or religious. And they don’t really know what the words mean. You know, and they don’t have to agree with what I think they are. But they don’t really have them all squared away and pigeon holed in their own mind. So when they start talking about these things, and like Asimov is I don’t think they really know what they’re talking about. It’s too slippery. How could a moral not align with what is right? Like, what are they talking about? So in his mind, morality has nothing to do with that, which is right, right. It’s convention.

Karl Schudt 28:02
Yeah. So then what is what is right, and there’s a way in which this sentence couldn’t be terrible. It could be that you need to disrobe before the doctor so that she can see what’s wrong with you. And your sense of morals generally forbids you from disrobing in front of women who are not your wife. But you got a tumor in a delicate area, she needs to see it. Okay. That would be your, your morals getting in the way of what’s right. But then I can give you a statement about what’s right, what’s right is your health, your continued health. And your habits, which is what that sense, which is what we would mean, getting in the way of it. Well, you could understand how that can be true, but here, you know, traders doing shady deals. Never let your sense of morals prevents you from doing what is right. Well, what’s right is advancing the interests of the foundation, I guess. The end justifies the means.

Scott Hambrick 29:11
I don’t know. He’s just being shut up.

Karl Schudt 29:14
Well, if he’s gonna write it, you have a bunch of people reading or you’re gonna laugh at that line and say, oh, yeah, never let your morals get in the way of doing this. Right. It’s like, what did we read that thing on business bluffing?

Scott Hambrick 29:26
Let’s Kissinger. It’s just real politic, right?

Karl Schudt 29:32
How old is he now? 105.

Scott Hambrick 29:34
He’s not old enough. Although he and I agree about some of the recent goings on. He was born in 1923 other things going on? There are things going on. He was born in 1923 by my math 99 That makes him 99. September 22. No way, my way, way, way, way, way, way. May 27. The next year he’ll turn 100 years old, explained to me how someone born in 1923, Bavaria ends up being the national security adviser in the Secretary of State of the United States. How does that work?

Karl Schudt 30:14
Because we live in a meritocracy and he clearly had more merit.

Scott Hambrick 30:19
Oh, is that how it works? Yeah,

Karl Schudt 30:21
that’s what they told me in school.

Scott Hambrick 30:23
Now, don’t look behind the curtain, though, to find out that he was in the 970. At the Counter Intelligence Corps during World War Two. Don’t look at that. It doesn’t mean anything.

Karl Schudt 30:32
Yeah. Not gonna go down that rabbit hole that some more stuff on religion, foundation likes religion, they think it’s a good thing. But it’s all false. The middle of 194, the full depth of our religious customs in the ritualistic rather than the ethical sense is for the masses. So you come up with rituals and all that stuff to make the masses feel better. But the people in charge really know what’s going on. Yeah, this is gibbon. Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve read the whole series. It ends up being the same universe as the robot novels. If you read long enough, Daniel, all of our shows up later, much later.

Scott Hambrick 31:20
Yeah. Carlos, like, hey, let’s read some science fiction. And then do a show on musical theater. What do you say? Like, what what is it? I thought you cared about me?

Karl Schudt 31:40
Well, you’re just a math function.

Scott Hambrick 31:46
God helped me,

Karl Schudt 31:47
I have tastier bits for you. The, you know, like, I want to do that. I want to do that Dean Koontz thing later, I think that I think you can,

Scott Hambrick 31:56
I will, you know what, I enjoyed this too. But but I’m coming down with Socrates. Like, we need to control our myths and our stories. You know, well, maybe

Karl Schudt 32:06
you do, but you know, who’s gonna do it? It’s like, it’s like objections to the death penalty aren’t. Objections to censorship? aren’t necessarily about censorship, per se. They’re about who’s going to be doing the censoring. Nobody, except the degenerate wants their five year old viewing pornography.

Scott Hambrick 32:28
Should you want your 10 year old to read science fiction?

Karl Schudt 32:35
Well, I haven’t been pushing it right. You know, I haven’t pushed all the stuff I read.

Scott Hambrick 32:41
I wasn’t really wasn’t aware of how, how bad some of this stuff was? Oh, no, till maybe 15 years ago, something like that. And you can’t expect everybody to look at these things. And, you know, and choose, you know, because I Okay, just because what I’m getting at is you and I are censoring for the family. Right? And, you know, you can’t know about everything. And you know, how do you do it? It’s really difficult. I had this guy, you know, I said, I did this interview thing with this Timothy Kinney guy. And he asked me questions about stuff that I don’t think about. He said, What do you think about the three acidities? Trap? I’m like, I don’t think about it. I don’t, I don’t have anything to say about that. And he asked me several questions like that. I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t think about that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And then of course, you know, the gammas are like, Oh, he’s so dismissive. If he doesn’t want to think about it, you know, he’s not open minded. I’m more open minded than I ought to be actually. Actually, but I mean, in reality, I am. But people don’t, aren’t privy to that, because I do it. Privately into my own by myself, you know, but there’s a whole host of things I don’t think about I just don’t like what am I supposed to say to the guy? How do you tell him? He’s like, what, what do you think? I don’t think about it. But so then a bunch of people were like, oh, you know, he’s so dismissive. It’s fucking ridiculous. I just hate people. But, you know, if you’re, if you’re a if you’re a parent, or you’re a head of state or whatever, there’s just too much to think about, gosh, these governments have got to be too they got to be really small. Like the households too big to manage, you know, too much to think about.

Karl Schudt 34:27
Scott Hambrick does not hate people on aggregate.

Scott Hambrick 34:33
Humanity

Karl Schudt 34:35
he’s a reverse like a historian.

Scott Hambrick 34:40
One on One needs. He’s a he’s a, a lover of the human. Yeah, like individual people, but humanity to help individual people or just in general. I love doing these podcasts. And I love talking to you, Karl, and I like turning the mics on so that the stakes go up when we speak. You know, I love that But I don’t like everybody being able to listen to it so there Yeah, our audience is too big. Like it should be like Melissa yet. Maybe we should just record a show just for her.

Karl Schudt 35:16
That’s what I’m doing it for. Gosh.

Scott Hambrick 35:19
Oh, he’s so arrogant. Like Shut up your gamma shit. He comes off as when you say he comes off as you’re getting ready to tell me about your emotional state and you’re getting ready to say nothing about what I did. There’s so many things I want to say about it but I can’t prohibit it prohibited Carter

Karl Schudt 35:42
Page 289 Hoeber mela haber mela whatever his name is. You can’t just name them Jim. You know he’s got to come up with a a sci fi name. This is a Selden crisis we’re facing set and Selden crisis are not solved by individuals but by historic forces. Harry Selden, when he planned our course of future history did not count on billions, heroics, but on the broad sweeps of economics and sociology. So the solution to the various crises must be achieved by force has become available us at the time. I don’t think that’s true. I think history is driven by often by extraordinary men, by extraordinary people, 12th century Europe, Francis, not the Pope, but the saint. And all of a sudden, you know, 10s of 1000s of young men are going off to be poor. That’s weird, you could not have accounted for that. You couldn’t say, according to my calculations, there will be a religious leader who will emphasize poverty at the time to the extreme richness of the

Scott Hambrick 36:51
Asimov posits it with this weird religion. Not that they take vows of poverty, but that people start acting super weird. He thinks it’s all explicable, you know,

Karl Schudt 37:02
yeah, but Francis is and as the English would say, was an enthusiast.

Scott Hambrick 37:09
Yeah, it was.

Karl Schudt 37:11
So. So a little crazy, you know, you can’t account for that. I don’t think anybody thought to bring up recent events. I don’t think anybody could have accounted for Trump. Well, we’ll just leave it at that. I mean, a monkey wrench into the gears. I mean, there’s other examples in history. I mean, Socrates was, this is not a normal Greek, right? of the time. These are not these are persons at these junction points in history. They’re not impersonal forces. And even in the novel, The novel, it’s not impersonal forces, because how could you write that novel? Then the GDP ticked up by 3%. And the impersonal forces of pricing, you know that that’s a terrible novel. That’s the one we’re living in. Living in a terrible novel. What? Yeah, that’s why you want to blow it up. It’s like, I think it’s Notes from the Underground when the character just lets things just out of spite. You know, where despite fit into your mathematics? Yeah. Where you just be happy to blow things up just

Scott Hambrick 38:21
because nuclear deterrence,

Karl Schudt 38:24
the religion that I find it interesting. If you were telling me this, I would do one of your sounds. But on page 230, the religion that the foundation had set up, what they do is they this is a person complaining about what the foundation does, first, they were sold some of your goods and then your people asked for complete freedom of missionary effort in order that the goods might be run properly, that temples of health be set up. This was then the establishment of religious schools autonomous rights for all officers religion. With what result as scone is now an integral member of the foundation system, and the Grand Master cannot call his underwear his own. The dignity of independent people could never suffer it. So this was the plan that a mallet, the character, the Bucky changes, the plan makes it more of just trade, but spoiler, but what they would do is they would trade your goods and then they would send the religion in and set up temples of health. Very interesting. Come get your religious sacrament, and be healed. Come get your your second. I don’t know. We could call it a boost of your religious sack.

Scott Hambrick 39:43
Your new communion,

Karl Schudt 39:45
the failure of repair thing bugs me. I think that’s, I think he’s right on that bit of how empires fall. You know, when you can’t get your refrigerator fixed? Yep, the planned obsolescence by the Foundation. Of course, you can’t get your refrigerator fixed. That’s so we can sell you a new one. I don’t like the foundation.

Scott Hambrick 40:06
Well, once you introduce number, right, and once you introduce you put values on things, prices, you know, everything gets up getting reduced to that sort of thing. You know, I think Belloc told us that didn’t he, when you start thinking about things in terms of the economic, everything becomes a profit maximizing function. And the fact that, you know, you don’t want to dink around with refrigerator shopping every seven years, and that you have environmental concerns, I would rather have one refrigerator for 40 years, then put five in the landfill over that same time, you know, that there’s no economic calculus for that, it all becomes reduced to just profit. So is the foundation doing that? Is it just a property like the way humans make decisions? And the I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t figure out anything. So want to get dig in the dirt?

Karl Schudt 40:58
Have me what’s the point of having a refrigerator?

Scott Hambrick 41:03
To keep your food from killing you soon?

Karl Schudt 41:06
Yeah, keep your food from killing you. So you can store a bit more of it fresher. So that you can eat it. So that you can enjoy it and have a good life. Okay, replacing your refrigerator every, every 10 years now, every every five years lately? What end does that serve?

Scott Hambrick 41:30
It doesn’t serve somebody that doesn’t serve the consumers. And

Karl Schudt 41:36
it doesn’t help you lead a better life with your family.

Scott Hambrick 41:38
I’ve had a dear friend, who’s an engineer, and he and I were talking about this house that I’m building, and I’m trying to figure out what kind of insulation to use. Andrew, exactly what methods do you use to? To do this? And like I said earlier, did I say it in the show? I don’t know, I was talking to other people. You know, people really, it’s very difficult to get the the, the trades people to, you know, follow the drawings and the designs and so that I know what the darn building actually is. And then to insulate it, you know, it’s really tough. And this friend of mine, who has a keen mind for these kinds of things, says, you know, I think I could, if I had the wherewithal, I could start a business and just disrupt that entire industry, because everybody does such a terrible job. And suddenly, you can’t. Because when somebody walks into that house, the demo house, what do they call it, you go into, shoot a stay model, the model home, that you can’t see the differences. They’re all just drywall and paint, you know, it’s a new house, it smells like, you know, formaldehyde and new house smell, and they can’t see the difference, and they’re not going to pay extra, they’re just not going to do it. Every now and then you might find somebody like me that would be willing to pay more for one that’s built, you know, to a much higher standard. And maybe you could be a custom home builder and get enough of those jobs to do what you wanted to do and do it the right way. But you know, when you go to the appliance store, if there’s a 50 year refrigerator sitting there next to one that’s going to last seven years, how are you actually going to get somebody to buy it? We failed long before it because the person doesn’t know what the good is. So we failed long before he built the refrigerator because there aren’t people that value reparability lower environmental impact. They don’t value their time. Like I don’t ever want to go to an appliance store ever. Like I would pay extra for refrigerators, just so I don’t have to go back. You know, but you know, yeah, if you failed before the before we even built a machine or we failed. Yeah,

Karl Schudt 43:59
so making me think of hobbits. As many things do.

Scott Hambrick 44:03
Yeah, I just want to sit around and talk tobacco lore and scratch.

Karl Schudt 44:08
Well, sure. And the the took a family has the great smells. I’m not sure how you pronounce that. The many titled mansion of the took family that started getting built in 2683. Well, the end of Lord of the Rings is 3019. So it’s like a 400 year old house, which we don’t do. We don’t think that anybody’s going to be living in it that we care about after we build it. I’m trying to so good to get back to ask them off page 293.

Scott Hambrick 44:40
Keep coming back to the damn it.

Karl Schudt 44:43
Well, that’s my job. They beat the Corellian empire.

Scott Hambrick 44:46
I’d like to apologize to the listeners. I just can’t do this. I can’t do a good job today. I’m trying I just can’t I don’t have it in me. I’m sorry, guys.

Karl Schudt 44:56
I think you’re doing a fair job.

Scott Hambrick 44:58
Fair to mid length means It means a lot.

Karl Schudt 45:01
Let’s see, the whole war is a battle between those two systems between the Empire and the foundation between the big and the little to seize control of the world they bribe with immense ships that can make war but lack all economic significance. We, on the other hand bribe with little things useless in war but vital to prosperity and profits. A king or a Commodore will take the chips and even make war arbitrary released throughout history have voted their subjects welfare for what they consider honor and glory and conquest. But it’s still the little things in life that count and to ask for Argo, he’s the king, well stand up against the economic depression that will sweep all Carell into or three years. Okay, the theory is they win the war by taking away their consumer goods.

Scott Hambrick 45:48
And then everybody’s wife gripes because they their vacuum cleaner is broken.

Karl Schudt 45:54
Yeah, so you gotta quit making more on the foundation? Because you know, I’m having a little hardship. Right. That’s a very 1951 view that recurs. I mean, we have in the current thing we have that’s currently thinking, well, economic sanctions will low when this right. Doesn’t appear to be working

Scott Hambrick 46:22
the economic sanctions in the book work, though.

Karl Schudt 46:26
They work in the book. Yes.

Scott Hambrick 46:28
But see, we don’t understand the economic sanctions. Our economic sanctions, essentially amount to not giving them access to our fiat money in our fake banks. When they reciprocate, you don’t get fertilizer. Yeah. You know, again, it’s a misunderstanding of true force. It’s this divide between these people, you know, what NS lions calls the virtuals. And the in the physicals. You know, these people live in this virtual world they

Karl Schudt 47:03
don’t understand Tiktok will be adversely impacted. Tik Tok is

Scott Hambrick 47:08
a Chinese OB, they’ll tell you so it is

Karl Schudt 47:11
what can’t do it in China. Nope. If it were a good thing, when you let your people do it,

Scott Hambrick 47:16
Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids have iPhones. Back to the book.

Karl Schudt 47:21
Back to the book, I’m pretty much done with this book. I’m just looking at the series. I started reading it when it was a trilogy. It’s how old you are. And then I’m very old. If I read all of them, I think I have. So he started in 51. And he wrote them until just before he died in 92. You can look up the timeline on info galactic it can give you the history, they eventually end on. They get to Earth where the very old Daniel Oliver has been behind the scenes the whole time. So it’s kind of cool. If you like Asimov, you can start with iRobot and read all the way to foundation in Earth X 50 novels for you. They’re all in the same universe, kind of lots of smoking, breezy, fun, but might not be good books, they might be bad books that are good to read, or that are fun to read. They certainly cause me some problems. But me too. I don’t know if I’m an exception in that.

Scott Hambrick 48:23
No, it causes a lot of people problems. He paints an attractive worldview, that will then hold attractions for people. And if you’re not somebody that thinks about this stuff, like we do, end up with a baby boomer.

Karl Schudt 48:38
Well, fortunately, I’d also read loss of Tolkien’s so helped me the other direction,

Scott Hambrick 48:43
that much is good. He does say when they start to deal with his korells when I know there will, there will be other crises in the time to come when money power has become as deadly force as religion is now. Let my successor solve those new problems as I have solved the one today. That’s Mallow says that you know, but I was reading that and I’m like, you know, this, this suppose had money power is gone to. It’s all fun and games in the current year.

Karl Schudt 49:17
Yeah, so in fairness to Isaac, second book, foundation and Empire, which I read a million years ago. Gosh, I remember the room I was in reading, it might have been 11 I don’t know. But there is a a profit that arises and causes all kinds of problems. 1945 1952 So some sort of acknowledgement that extraordinary figures can screw with everything. Which is one of my big complaints about the first book.

Scott Hambrick 49:54
If you believe that extraordinary figures can, you know, drive these effects It then we have to be concerned with, how do we get what is an extraordinary figure? How do you get those? Are? How do we get those? How do they arise? Where do they come from whatever. That is a big, big problem. That’s one of the problems of education. One of them, there are many, and that’s one of them. And there’s just nobody fit to deal with the problem.

Karl Schudt 50:26
Well, what’s the I mean, what’s the point of education? Is it to produce useful consumers? Or is it to produce the rare, extraordinary people?

Scott Hambrick 50:36
I think it is to instruct people in such a way that they are able to see reality on reality’s terms. And then, you know, the excellent among us will be able to do things with them.

Karl Schudt 50:57
Yeah, so, yeah, but listen, drifting into compulsory education, that compulsory education to make everybody learn obedience. You probably wouldn’t want there to be extraordinary. If you did you want to funnel them into your school for guardians. And try to control them put a muzzle on them. Make them work for you. Yeah,

Scott Hambrick 51:22
I guess so.

Karl Schudt 51:24
Yeah, but that you can you can listen to all of that stuff on producer Brett’s show. Which I’m gonna give him a plug again. He’s been doing the 50 highlight episodes. There. He’s not actively producing new podcasts right now. But at least not not public podcast, but he has put together the highlights and I’ve been listening to them and it’s good stuff is public needs him over at the school sucks podcast. worth your time when you’re not listening to us.

Scott Hambrick 51:55
He’s the hero we need, but not the one we deserve. What are we gonna read next time? We got to hook it up like it’s gonna have to hit me right?

Karl Schudt 52:11
You want something fun?

Scott Hambrick 52:13
I don’t know. You know, we’ve got a little list here. Do you want to read your Koontz book? Little House

Karl Schudt 52:19
in the prairie might be fun. Yeah. I want you to do Odd Thomas. Yeah, yeah. short and easy.

Scott Hambrick 52:27
Let’s do that. Next.

Karl Schudt 52:28
I have to find my copy. That’d be fun. He has fewer overarching issues than asthma. It’s just a what? Am I gonna spoil it? One of the better practitioners of the thriller. His team coats. Yeah, yeah, let’s do that. Yeah,

Scott Hambrick 52:50
let’s do that. That’ll be good. Everything weirds me out. I said, Well, I just want to dig in the dirt. I mean it.

Karl Schudt 52:58
You could have come over yesterday. I could have used you.

Scott Hambrick 53:01
wins. Did you get started? So what is

Karl Schudt 53:03
today Thursday, Tuesday. So I dug a ditch to put in a cable, a power cable. Electrician said well, you stay at a certain depth you probably all right. I was not all right. The water line was not very deep. Get your water line. Fortunately, I’d gone out and figured out where the shutoff was and opened it up. So I knew where that was. So ran and shut it off called a plumber. He came out and said well I can get an excavator or if you dig out six feet and expose this pipe I can fix it for you and save you 800 bucks and so I did that and in 100 degree heat digging as fast as I can so I could get him back so my wife could have water

Scott Hambrick 53:53
when she helping. got that done and

Karl Schudt 53:55
then I got that done. And then yesterday fill it in. The boys actually helped. That was nice.

Scott Hambrick 54:05
We shouldn’t call it No, you had a broken waterline. I’d come over there with a shovel and my boat broken foot and we’d get on it. It

Karl Schudt 54:11
was alright i Did you ever see that movie? Lilies of the Field? Nope. recommend it. It’s good movie. Sidney Poitier is in it. He plays a handyman driving his station wagon through Arizona I think. And he overheats and he need some water and he pulls in. And this woman comes out and says I need water and she gives him water and she turns out she’s German. And he does a lot of work for her in exchange for the water and then they offer him a meal and he goes in and he finds out at six nuns from East Germany who have set up a little convent in the desert. The mother Sapir ends up saying you will build a chapel and well he ends up building them a chapel except that he gets mad when people come to help him when all of the the local Catholics come out and and want to help him and I want to do it myself, so I wanted to bury it myself. I get it’s a it was my project I get

Scott Hambrick 55:16
it. Yep, I understand. So when

Karl Schudt 55:21
it’s working, I can say I did it. Yep, I understand that. But I need to stick it out. So I remember where everything is. I also understand that I’m not sure how to demand just get some lath some wood the stakes put them in till I figure out what else to do. Build a monument. A Karen, this is where the power and the water cross and

Scott Hambrick 55:43
obelisk there. Create your own language with its own characters. Its own alphabet and put a verbalist over that. The GULAG goblins study good nobody will know.

Karl Schudt 55:58
I didn’t find a single rock down there. I went down in some spots. 24 inches and it’s all dirt. Yeah,

Scott Hambrick 56:03
good. Is it all that red? It’s all the same red dirt but no raw iron in your vegetables.

Karl Schudt 56:13
Yeah, so didn’t care. It’s autonomous next time and then after that we can dig into Meteor stuff.

Scott Hambrick 56:21
Oh, well. I think we need to read this Albert day. Not but I’m telling you. That’s kind of a meteor thing. Okay, well, Lubbock bit servile state. Of course. There’s some other stuff I’d like to read. I got some wacky shit. Carl, are you ready to get crazy with me? Do we have to LARP we have to pretend like we’re almost Okay. Can we get crazy? Can I get my John Birch Society stuff? Can we bring that out?

Karl Schudt 56:48
Sure. Yeah. I’m

Scott Hambrick 56:51
ready to get crazy.

Karl Schudt 56:52
We can also do a movie day One day we could do office space. The movie for our time. Yeah.

Scott Hambrick 56:56
You’ve talked about doing that. We had a call. I think maybe producer Brett might like to be in on that even. That could be fun. I watched that once a long time ago. movies or movies are hard for me, man. Yeah,

Karl Schudt 57:09
I watch it regularly.

Scott Hambrick 57:11
Have you seen The Ballad of Buster Scruggs? I have not Coen Brothers.

Karl Schudt 57:17
It’s on Netflix. I do not have Netflix.

Scott Hambrick 57:19
Yeah, you have to see if you can find it somewhere. I’ve been kind of I watched about half of that. I was enjoying it and I had to go to bed. Go to bed like 915 930 You know gotta get up before it gets hot. You know? The our amendments are coming in later today, Carl. I hope everybody’s enjoying us just catch

Karl Schudt 57:40
on. Yeah, soil amendment

Scott Hambrick 57:44
amendments are coming in RnL truck lines called me and said it was on its way. So I won’t be unloading that kind of pallet of feather meal and fish meal and all kinds of gross stuff. That will be stirred gardens. I’m

Karl Schudt 58:00
excited to make your soil fertile in particular locations so that you can grow so yeah, it’s gonna be good organically though. Soil organic stuff. Yeah, it’s

Scott Hambrick 58:11
all it’s all made out of dead animals mostly. Or, you

Karl Schudt 58:14
know, you could wait five years until you have enough compost to do it. Just purely with compost and

Scott Hambrick 58:19
working on. I’m in pain on that compost pile. But I drank two and a half gallons of water yesterday. How

Karl Schudt 58:25
much did you drink? I’m about the same PVS can’t keep

Scott Hambrick 58:29
us can’t keep abreast of it. It’s crazy. It’s so hot.

Karl Schudt 58:35
It’s warm. I lost seven pounds one day. That’s a gallon, weighed in at 242 in the morning and weighed 235 at night. And I hadn’t not been drinking. So I’d been replacing.

Scott Hambrick 58:46
Yeah, it’s like an elephant. You need all wrinkly? Yep. All right. There’s that crowd made me read that music and ideas show coming up here is about musical theater.

Karl Schudt 59:02
I’m not sure when we’re going to do that work to trance

Scott Hambrick 59:04
even he wants to do that. Yeah. And well, we’ll get that kicked off. Next show is going to be a little Dean R Koontz. That’ll be fun. superfan Paul wanted us to talk about. Ask them off. And here we did. So sorry, man. I failed to you. I could say anything about it.

Karl Schudt 59:22
Okay, I carried it. If you’d like to join us at all my great books, you can go to all my great books.com/podcasts. Right. Does that still work? And you can get on the mailing list. And know when we open it up because it’s a very exclusive club. You can’t just join anytime you want. It has to be the right time. The moon has to be full.

Scott Hambrick 59:46
It’s like Starlink you get on the waiting list and then we you know when we decide it’s okay. We’ll let you join

Karl Schudt 59:54
while Starlink makes you put down a deposit. Maybe we should do that.

Scott Hambrick 59:57
Maybe we should. Maybe we should do You put down your $100 deposit

Karl Schudt 1:00:01
and then we decide when when OGB can arrange ogv. It’s full in your, in your region, but we expect to come online in 2023. No, but that’s all fake. Come and join the mailing list, buys and stuff from the store. If you have any really odd friends, tell them about us. We’d love to have you. The seminars or not this the seminars, you’re reading stuff that everybody knows is at least pretty good. We call it the online great books podcast, but we don’t really read the great books on the podcast. It’s all my great books as an entity’s podcast that

Scott Hambrick 1:00:39
mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,

Karl Schudt 1:00:42
right? Oh, yeah.

Scott Hambrick 1:00:44
All right. I can’t take it anymore. Everybody. You have a wonderful week, and we’ll talk to you here soon. I’ll be back in Maybe

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