I've read a number of books by Buckminster Fuller, but it was not until this one that I realized he is the only person that writes longer sentences than I do. He is also, as his daughter notes in the preface, a man who uses words with great precision, and invents words when he is certain none already exist. So many words in fact, that he has his own dictionary, Synergetics Dictionary, the Mind of Buckminster Fuller: With an Introduction and Appendices (4 Vols.).
I drew three big ideas from this slim volume:
01 All of the energy we create at great expense enriching the few is trivial in comparison to all the free energy offered to Earth by the Universe.
02 No other species -- no other elements of the Universe -- submits to the slavery of a wage, of having to "earn" a living. Why do we? Could that be our greatest intellectual and moral failing?
03 Fuller trusted in God and submitted himself to God. This is an aspect of his life and work I did not properly appreciate prior to reading this book.
The bottom line on this book, which I rate at beyond five stars, is that Fuller, alone among all minds, concluded that humanity was created by God as an experiment and to experiment -- to devine the universal principles and see where else they might lead us.
QUOTE (22) "Therefore the fact that we are designed to be born naked, helpless, and ignorant is, I feel, a very important matter."
Tied to naked ignorant helpless babies are two other Fuller thoughts in this book: first, that no one is a fool to be dismissed, only an alternative perspective to be factored in; and second, at the end of his life, he anticipated the moment when for the first time, instead of a global tower of Babel, we would achieve a point in human history "at which approximately everybody is "in" on both speech and information (p 25).
His biggest lasting lesson, the lesson that should be the first day in every school, every course, every year, is that you are going to have to do your own thinking. ALL teaching is in some form inaccurate, incomplete, and mis-directed. Intelligence is in the moment, in context, and found only in those who can achieve a holistic appreciation (to which I would add as Fuller would no doubt have added, true cost economics as pioneered by Dr. Herman Daly, see for instance Valuing the Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics).
I am surprised to find that Fuller at one point considered suicide, and promptly rejected the idea as selfish. I have no doubt the matter never came up again.
The book draws to a close with some truly moving material on pages 36-37, in which Fuller outlines how he committed himself to God and God's evident intent that humanity be a functioning endeavor in which Fuller, one man, was to be an exemplar.
This book joins the following in my very small collection of pinnacle books. The others are
7 years from somewhere: Poems
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure
The Lessons of History
Inside this book is also a listing of all that Fuller left to humanity in the way of archives, and a listing of his 28 published books. At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog I have created a series, BUCKY 2.0 that highlights a number of historical and current resources rooted in the life, mind, and invention of Buckminster Fuller. I am honored to know Medard Gabel, co-creator with Buckminster Fuller of the analog World Game (and architect of the digital EarthGame), and I am certain that a number of us are carrying on in the tradition of Buckminster Fuller, with the same faith in God and the same commitment to creating a prosperous world at peace, "a world that works for all."
NOTE: among Medard's books that I recommend are these:
Designing a World that Works for All: Solutions & Strategies for Meeting the World's Needs
Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond
I also recommend:
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability