Isaac Asimov, one of Keith Raniere's heroes
General News NXIVM

Did Isaac Asimov Inspire Keith Raniere to be ‘the Mule’?

Keith Raniere’s racketeering enterprise was based on exploiting other people’s emotional weaknesses.

Raniere stated 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.]”

Asimov is one of the six heroes that Raniere listed on his now defunct website

Isaac Asimov inspired Keith Raniere.
Raniere’s website is now offline.His other heroes are novelist Ayn Rand; Indian pacifist/freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi; Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner; hypnotist Dr. Milton Erickson; and judo teacher/acrobat Eugene Waddell.Raniere is not known to have met any of them.

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 a new science, psychohistory, predicts the impending fall of the Galactic Empire, to be followed by 30,000 years of a 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 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 led 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,” the Mule says in the book.

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.

A young Keith Alan Raniere read Asimov and became inspired by the character of the Mule.

In other words, the book that Raniere says inspired him to create NXIVM is about mind-control and emotional-control, and its use by the Mule to (nearly) conquer the Galaxy!

Artist’s conception of the Mule.
Like the Mule, Raniere had the capacity to adjust the thoughts of his followers.

He now enjoys a fitting home after all his labors. MK10ART’s beautiful painting of Keith Alan Raniere.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Steiner is an interesting choice – he did some good academic philosophical work when young, but is best known for his later spiritualist and Theosophist inspired pseudo-science that resulted in Waldorf schools and their particularities (everything from the colors of classrooms to the way children are supposed to move is laid out in his theories), as well as more obscure tangents like biodynamic farming (again, heavy on theory and short on results in practice).

    Raniere’s Waldorf education probably contributed to his worldview, perhaps particularly shown in his own bizarre educational theorizing in Rainbow Cultural Gardens. It’s also interesting if not telling, that people from local Waldorf schools got caught up in NXIVM.

  • Keith is such a bullshitter. At age 12, he was most likely interested in dry humping the Raniere family sofa versus reading Asimov.

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