“And after you die, sir?”
“Why, there will be successors—perhaps even yourself. And these successors will be able to apply the final touch in the scheme and instigate the revolt on Anacreon at the right time and in the right manner. Thereafter, events may roll unheeded.” (Asimov 46)
In this passage, Seldon is explaining to Gaal that he has been offered exile on another world. Gaal wants to know what will become of Seldon’s mission once he is gone. The way that I interpreted this passage was that Seldon is not taking responsibility for the future. This will fall on the future generations who will have to execute the real efforts of his plans with the Encyclopedia Galactica. This is an important observation Asimov makes of the way history is shaped. What Seldon devises could turn the 30,000 years of dark-ages into a fraction of the time, but he will not live long enough to see any of this come to fruition. His prediction of the fall of the empire isn’t for another 300 years, and in this world, prolonged/eternal life is not a possibility. So in order for his plans to work, it must be the future generations that carry it on. This is something that can be seen throughout our own history. The example that comes easiest to me is the birth of the United States. After becoming an independent nation, our forefathers could only lay the groundwork for the hundreds of years to come after, with the Constitution. It has been the duty of many who came after to work towards the long-term values they sought.