It comes as a shock to me to realize that many, in fact most people in modern society don’t know who Buckminster Fuller was. He was a comprehensive designer, inventor, engineer, mathematician, architect, cartographer, philosopher, poet, cosmogonist, and visionary – – truly one of the world’s leading philosopher-scientists.
Those who have heard of him think of him as little more than the man who built geodesic domes. This brilliant, energetic, totally original, self-educated man hit his stride back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, touring the world, speaking to young people on campuses and saying all kinds of amazing things that left one wide-eyed and incredulous.
I heard him speak in Memphis, TN, and left the auditorium changed for life. The things he said were based on solid facts and careful research. His themes engendered great hope as well as a determination to act. Coincidentally, I had been taking a class in Political Science and had a head full of muddled notions about 1) the political system of the U. S. 2) how ours related to systems of other nations 3) the state of the world and especially 4) war. Vietnam had left me in grim disillusionment in those days and I was ready for someone who would tell simple truth. I bought a bunch of his books, mined them for gems and still find myself mesmerized by his writings.
This blog is my attempt to keep alive some of his most important ideas. Looking back, I have perhaps underestimated his influence for the simple reason that, while on the surface the state of the world seems dire and needs are great, they are actually being worked on in very diligent ways by small groups of extremely bright people here and there.
At any rate, you may see me refer to Fuller – – a lot. Therefore, I’d like to throw the following quotes out there for your consideration.
“Either war is obsolete or man is.”
“War is the ultimate tool of politicians.”
“Weaponry has always been accorded priority over livingry.”
“The greatest fact of the century – – we can make life on earth a general success for all people.”
“”Utopia was impossible when people thought there was only enough for a minority to live in comfort. But utopia is, inherently, for all or for none. Because invisible technology can do much more with much less, utopia is now possible for the first time.
“Malthus [the British economist who predicted world catastrophe because of the population explosion] was wrong. There is enough to go around. For example, one telstar weighing only 500 pounds out-performing 75,000 tons of transocean copper cable.”
“Ephemeralization, which constantly does more with visibly less has not as yet been formally isolated, recognized and discussed in print as such by any economists [and thus] cannot be popularly comprehended and be adopted in public policy formulations.”
“We have been leaving it to the politician to make the world work. There is nothing political that the politician can do to make fewer resources do 60% more.”
“Politicians are obsolete as fundamental problem solvers. Politics, to be effective, must eventually make war.”
“Where there was not enough whale oil or coal oil, there were not enough lamps to go around. Some said that what was needed was more social engineering, to move more people to the lamplight available. What was really needed was one Edison.”
“There is only one revolution tolerable to all men, all societies, all political systems: revolution by design and invention.”
“Education revolution [is] the highest priority of all.”
So there you have it: his clear statement that urges me to invent, design and spread a new learning system for the world.