|Encyclopædia Galactica – Foreword
Author: Yorkin PM
This is how I imagine it. Isaac Asimov invented it, Carl Sagan popularized it, Douglas Adams made fun of it. A leap of hope and faith in this demoralized world. Translated by Masza Dvornik.Rated: Fiction K - English - Sci-Fi - Words: 808 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7321949
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Encyclopædia Galactica – foreword to the first terrestrial edition
Every social change meets with resistance, to a greater or lesser extent. The history of mankind is full of such examples: the spread of the early Christian Church, the acceptance of the idea of a heliocentric planetary system, the rise of Isaac Newton's axiom of classical mechanics as a new theory which could explain a large number of natural phenomena, humanism and the renaissance... An eternal optimist, such as the likable coyote chasing the Road Runner, might even say that people have learned something from their rich history. Therefore we were very surprised by the wave of dissatisfaction which swept over Mankind not long after the announcement that everything except "the third rock from the Sun" would be included in the Encyclopædia Galactica. Malevolent people, among whom there was a large – fortunately, not large enough – number of my fellow Encyclopædists, claimed it was "the final proof that Mankind is a lost case, despite all accomplishments, because it is still trying to place itself into an imaginary privileged, central position".
Personally, I think that the Milky Way, as Mankind calls it, and the entire Cosmos are large enough to allow every civilization and species that much vanity, as long as it causes no harm to others. The globalization on Earth began, at least symbolically, with the foundation of the League of Nations after the First Terrestrial War, and continued through the work of the United Nations. The fear of globalization, which gained greatest momentum in the computer era of humanity, was marked by treason, greed and hopelessness. The wars were just the consequence of these human conditions. Many individuals, nations and their leaders feared that globalization would sweep away their cultural, ideological and any other identity. The globalization of Earth did, in a way, erase the differences between the Earth's nations and cultures, but if it were not for those differences, there would be no globalization. As positive and negative electric charges or opposite magnetic fields attract, as a key fits into a lock, so these differences helped the nations of the Earth complement one another and created a unique entity – a real human civilization, the one and only.
Everyone is privileged, and yet, everyone is equal.
Apart from diplomacy and art, science also made a great contribution to globalization. Mankind's ability to stabilize and control the process of cold fusion supplanted the use of fossil fuels and greatly reduced the possibility of electric energy shortage, the decline of industrial and agricultural production, environmental pollution, those symptoms that forebode war. There is no need for the individual to be greedy, with all the abundance there is. The only potential threat left is disregard for oneself and one's fellow man.
On a much greater, but not so conceivable scale, Mankind has taken a step into, if you'll excuse the pun, the process of galactization. The Encyclopædia was created with the purpose of bridging the cosmic gap, in the spatial, cultural and scientific sense, between a civilization which is just getting ready to set off among the distant stars and the rest of the galactic society. And those who can go among the stars are certainly responsible enough to take care of their heritage. That is why, in this terrestrial edition of the Encyclopædia, you will find everything except Earth itself.
If we were to compose a detailed list of individuals who are to be thanked for this accomplishment, it would be large in number and reach far into the past, all the way to the first workers of the ancient Library of Alexandria. Great minds like Eratosthenes, Euclid, Aristarchus, Homer, Confucius, Leonardo da Vinci, Descartes, Kelvin, Mendeleev... would also be included. However, let us emphasize those from the last stage of globalization.
We would like to posthumously thank Mr. Isaac Asimov and Mr. Carl Sagan for bringing the idea of the Encyclopædia Galactica closer to Mankind through their works, as well as Mr. Douglas Adams who's Guide to the Galaxy served as a model for the terrestrial edition. In his honor, there is a separate article on the number 42. Furthermore, we thank the volunteers of Wikipedia and the qualified personnel of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., who selflessly took over all the work of updating and language editing from the Committee for the Encyclopædia on Terminus.
Lastly, I personally thank the Committee for approving the publication of the Encyclopædia on Earth, despite initial skepticism. The Encyclopædia is not the end. It is but the beginning of a new epoch in the progress of Mankind.
In my own name and the name of the entire Galactic community, welcome.
May the flame of the Sol star shine upon your "third rock" for many generations.
Before the Committee for the Encyclopædia and the publishing house "Ursa Major",
R. Daneel Olivaw