Did Asimov inspire Raniere to be ‘the mule’?

mule

Artist’s conception of the Mule, an unpredicted mutant who has the capacity to detect and ‘Adjust’ the thoughts of others.

(This essay contains major spoilers about Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” of science-fiction novels.  So if you want to fully enjoy these classics, read them first before reading further.  For the rest of you, we continue below.)

A little bit of light reading for Christmas.

Keith Raniere’s whole enterprise is based on exploiting other’s emotional weaknesses.

Keith Raniere, the self-styled “Vanguard” of NXIVM/ Executive Success Programs, states in his affidavit in “NXIVM v Ross Institute et al”:

“It was at the age of 12 I read The Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov and was inspired by the concepts on optimal human communication to start to develop the theory and practice of Rational Inquiry [his name for the principles of NXIVM.”

Indeed, Isaac Asimov is one of the six heroes that Raniere lists on his website.

isaac-asimov

Speculation: The fertile imagination of Isaac Asimov may have inspired Keith Raniere’s secretly desired  role in NXIVM.

Forbes Magazine reported:

“As a boy he read an Isaac Asimov sci-fi novel about a brilliant scientist who knew his galaxy was in irremediable decline and had reduced all human behavior to elegant mathematical equations. It inspired Raniere later to try to do the same.”

The premise of the Foundation Trilogy is that the new science of psychohistory predicts the impending fall of the Galactic Empire, to be followed by a 30,000 year dark age of war and barbarism.  But if a Foundation is established, in the right place and in the right way, it will grow into the nucleus of a Second Empire, cutting the dark age to a mere 1,000 years.  The Foundation is dedicated to the physical sciences, engineering, and commerce, and for a while overcomes all foes, usually without firing a shot, due to psychohistorical inevitability.

But halfway through the second book, forces lead by the self-styled Mule begin to defeat the Foundation.  The Mule has an ability not anticipated in the psychohistorical Plan, which is revealed to be the power to control the emotions of others.

“To me, men’s minds are dials, with pointers that indicate the prevailing emotion… Slowly, I learned that I could reach into those minds and turn the pointer to the spot I wished, that I could nail it there forever.”

For Millennials, think Kilgrave from Marvel’s “Jessica Jones.”

The rest of the Trilogy is about the search by the Mule for the Second Foundation, which is the only force left capable of defeating him.  It is revealed that the Second Foundation has also developed emotional mind control, and ultimately uses it to defeat the Mule, and put the First Foundation back on the psychohistorical trajectory to its ultimate triumph.

In other words, the books that Raniere says inspired him to create NXIVM are all about mind control, and its use by the Mule to (nearly) conquer the Galaxy!

muleraniere

Did the young Keith Raniere picture himself as the Mule in Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy”?  Raniere has been accused by critics of having the capacity to ‘Adjust’ the thoughts of his simple followers.

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