View full issue

This link was published in:

Nintendo Cardboard

by M.G. Siegler


Elon Musk: Inventor's Plans for Outer Space, Cars, Finding Love

Neil Strauss:

"I didn't really have a primary nanny or anything," Musk recalls. "I just had a housekeeper who was there to make sure I didn't break anything. She wasn't, like, watching me. I was off making explosives and reading books and building rockets and doing things that could have gotten me killed. I'm shocked that I have all my fingers." He raises his hands and examines them, then lowers his digits. "I was raised by books. Books, and then my parents."
Some of those books help explain the world Musk is building, particularly Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The books are centered around the work of a visionary named Hari Seldon, who has invented a scientific method of predicting the future based on crowd behavior. He sees a 30,000-year Dark Ages waiting ahead for humankind, and creates a plan that involves sending scientific colonies to distant planets to help civilization mitigate this unavoidable cataclysm.
"Asimov certainly was influential because he was seriously paralleling Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but he applied that to a sort of modern galactic empire," Musk explains. "The lesson I drew from that is you should try to take the set of actions that are likely to prolong civilization, minimize the probability of a dark age and reduce the length of a dark age if there is one."

I was a fan before, but the Foundation reference is 💯.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?