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Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth [Paperback]

R.Buckminster Fuller
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2001
Buckminster Fuller (1895a "1983) was an architect, engineer, geometrician, cartographer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time. For more than five decades, he set forth his comprehensive perspective on the worlda (TM)s problems in numerous essays, which offer an illuminating insight into the intellectual universe of this renaissance man. These texts remain surprisingly topical even today, decades after their initial publication. While Fuller wrote the works in the 1960a (TM)s and 1970a (TM)s, they could not be more timely: like desperately needed time-capsules of wisdom for the critical moment he foresaw, and in which we find ourselves. Long out of print, they are now being published again, together with commentary by Jaime Snyder, the grandson of Buckminster Fuller. Designed for a new generation of readers, Snyder prepared these editions with supplementary material providing background on the texts, factual updates, and interpretation of his visionary ideas. Initially published in 1969, and one of Fullera (TM)s most popular works, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth is a brilliant synthesis of his world view. In this very accessible volume, Fuller investigates the great challenges facing humanity, and the principles for avoiding extinction and a oeexercising our option to make it.a How will humanity survive? How does automation influence individualization? How can we utilize our resources more effectively to realize our potential to end poverty in this generation? He questions the concept of specialization, calls for a design revolution of innovation, and offers advice on how to guide a oespaceship eartha toward a sustainable future. And it Came to Pass a " Not to Stay brings together Buckminster Fullera (TM)s lyrical and philosophical best, including seven a oeessaysa in a form he called his a oeventilated prosea, and as always addressing the current global crisis and his predictions for the future. These essays, including a oeHow Little I Knowa, a oeWhat I am Trying to Doa oe, a oeSoft Revolutiona, and a oeEthicsa, put the task of ushering in a new era of humanity in the context of a oealways starting with the universe.a In rare form, Fuller elegantly weaves the personal, the playful, the simple, and the profound. Utopia or Oblivion is a provocative blueprint for the future. This comprehensive volume is composed of essays derived from the lectures he gave all over the world during the 1960a (TM)s. Fullera (TM)s thesis is that humanity a " for the first time in its history a " has the opportunity to create a world where the needs of 100% of humanity are met. This is Fuller in his prime, relaying his urgent message for earthiansa (TM) critical moment and presenting pioneering solutions which reflect his commitment to the potential of innovative design to create technology that does a oemore with lessa and thereby improves human lives . . . a oeThis is what man tends to call utopia. Ita (TM)s a fairly small word, but inadequate to describe the extraordinary new freedom of man in a new relationship to universe - the alternative of which is oblivion.a Buckminster Fuller.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller Publishers (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3907078233
  • ISBN-13: 978-3907078235
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,515,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will set you thinking 14 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this book by its wonderful title and the recognition that I'd collected a number of quotations by its author without really knowing anything about him.

I found this book to be something of a curate's egg. In places it uses language to develop ideas in a really clear way. In other parts the language and structure of the description seems to make the ideas rather impenetrable. On balance, however, the ideas win through.

(Having found out a little more about R. Buckminster Fuller I have learned both that this is one of his more accessible volumes, and that his other books may well be worth the challenge.)

It is a book with some wonderful ideas, not least the one captured in the title, that the Earth is a spaceship travelling through space escorted by the Moon and following its mother ship, the Sun. Though written in the 1970 this metaphor, or perhaps its simply a realisation, provides a framework which encompasses many of the problems of sustainable living we are currently grappling with.

Equally the book has some very vivid and enlightening imagery with which to entice the reader to see and begin to challenge their current paradigm. It for example begins with a story of Global Pirates which is used to describe the recent history of western civilisation, its creation of empires and the division of the world into those that have and those that have not. In a dozen pages or so it describes our current paradigm for how the world works and some of the key characteristics of our environment and the thinking this has created.

For example our understanding of need and scarcity, the role of nationality, the use of knowledge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The world needs more Bucky's 15 Feb 2011
Buckminster Fuller was so far ahead of his time that he was akin to a 20th century Da Vinci. If Buckminster's inventions, thoughts and beliefs were taught as part of the National Curriculum, school children and their teachers and lectureres would be left with no alternative but to change their currently held views and beliefs. They would realise that we need to make massive changes to the ways in which we think and act in order for us all to continue as a viable species riding aboard 'Spaceship Earth'. This book needs to be read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clairvoyant Work 15 May 2010
Buckminster Fuller was a remarkable genius whose works are absolutely unique.

This book is a good introduction to his transcendent way of thinking. It describes for the first time, the concept that our little planet has finite resources, and since it was written, we have seen that he sensed very well the direction that society was taking.

Though his thoughts may seem outdated now in certain ways, this book, and his other works, continue to provide inspired reading within the framework of the quest to understand human life on this planet, and related philosophical ideas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I expected more from the book 5 May 2014
By Andrea
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
R. Buckminster Fuller had some very good ideas, but this book oversimplifies everything too much and doesn't give evidence of most of what it claims to be true.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer for Bucky's followers 31 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
If you have any interest in R. Buckminster Fuller's philosophies, inventions and thoughts, this book is a good starting point. Other of his works can be more difficult to absorb, easily. Fuller's basic concepts of "synergy," "ephemeralization" and "modern day pirates" are all made clear here. If you read this short work and are intrigued by the man and the distinctions he brought to the world, you can proceed from here.

Sorry OMSE is getting difficult to find. Now that Bucky's "phantom Captain" has moved on, his words are what we have to instruct us -- these, and the wonderful contributions of Bucky's students to the "world game."
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Control, Operate and Plan Your Spaceship 11 Mar 2000
By rareoopdvds - Published on Amazon.com
R. Buckminster Fuller's (Bucky hereout), designer of the geodesic dome (one can see at EPCOT), lays down the thought patterns of a successful world in this short and concise book based on his discoveries (probably more appropriate than inventions, as he said "I am not tryingto imitate nature, I'm trying to find the principles she uses"). It is in this book that Bucky gives the reader insight into how he thinks, and how to change ones thinking entirely, to see the Earth as a Spaceship. To feel yourself riding the Earth as a Spaceship. Demonstrating from the anceint "pirates" and how evolution is changed through specialization. How a wealthy nation, such as ours, cannot afford to make economical mishaps or delays on such life-giving elements as water. Moving our modes of consciousness into Einsteinian, omni-directional thinking, we can then turn to everyone to "co-operate." To help others, and not gain at the expense of others. Certainly a classic in its own right, this book will change the way you think, not about life or the world, just that you change your thinking, making every action a universal consequence. There is only one Earth, and we are all living in it. Reccomended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clairvoyant Work 24 April 2010
By Ila France Porcher - Published on Amazon.com
Buckminster Fuller was a remarkable genius whose works are absolutely unique.

This book is a good introduction to his transcendent way of thinking. It describes for the first time, the concept that our little planet has finite resources, and since it was written, we have seen that he sensed very well the direction that society was taking.

Though his thoughts may seem outdated now in certain ways, this book, and his other works, continue to provide inspired reading within the framework of the quest to understand human life on this planet, and related philosophical ideas.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected But Hugely Satisfying 28 Jun 2009
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was actually expecting an Operating Manual. Although what I ended up with is a 136-page double-spaced "overview" by Buckminster Fuller, a sort of "history and future of the Earth in 5,000 words or less, bracketed by a *wonderful* introduction by grandchild Jamie Snyder, an index, a two-page resource guides, and some photos and illustrations including the Fuller Projections of the Earth.

First, the "core quote" that I can never seem to find when I need it:

OUR MISSION IS "To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone." Inside front cover.

The introduction is a treat--I note "impressive" and appreciate the many insights that could only come from a grandchild of and lifelong apprentice to Buckminster Fuller.

Highlights for me:

Founder of Design Science, a company by that name is now led by Medard Gabel who served as his #2 for so long. I just attended one of their summer laboratories and was blown away by the creativity and insights. It is a life-changing experience for those with a passion for Earth.

He imagined an inventory of global data. I am just now coming into contact with all of this great man's ideas, but my third book, Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time, also online at the Strategic Studies Institute in very short monograph form, is totally in harmony with this man's vision for a global inventory of global data.

"Sovereignness" was for him a ridiculous idea, and a much later work out of Cambridge agrees, Philip Allot tells us the Treaty of Westphalia was a huge wrong turn in his book The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State.

"Great Pirates" that mastered the oceans as the means of linking far-flung lands with diversity of offerings was the beginning of global commerce and also the beginning of the separation between globalists who knew the whole, and specialists whom Buckminster Fuller scathingly describes as an advanced form of slave.

He was frustrated with the phrases "sunrise" and sunset" as they are inaccurate, and finally settled for "sunsight" and "suneclipse" to more properly describe the fact that it is the Earth that is moving around the sun, not the other way around.

In 1927 he concluded that it is possible for forecast with some accuracy 25 years in advance, and I find this remarkably consist with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's view that it takes 25 years to move the beast--see for instance Miles to Go: A Personal History of Social Policy.

He has an excellent discussion of the failure of politics and the ignorance of kings and courtiers, noting that our core problem is that everyone over-estimates the cost of doing good and under-estimates the cost of doing bad, i.e. we will fund war but not peace.

He described how World War I killed off the Great Pirates and introduces a competition among scientists empowered by war, politicians, and religions. He says the Great Pirates, accustomed to the physical challenges, could not comprehend the electromagnetic spectrum.

He states that man's challenge is to comprehend the metaphysical whole, and much of the book is focused on the fact, in his view, that computers are the salvation of mankind in that they can take over all the automaton work, and free man to think, experiment, and innovate. He is particularly forceful in his view that unemployed people should be given academic scholarships, not have to worry about food or shelter, and unleash their innovation. I am reminded of Barry Carter's Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era as well as Thomas Stewart's The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization.

There is a fascinating discussion of two disconnected scholars, one studying the extinction of human groups, the other the extinction of animal species, and when someone brings them together, they discover that precisely the same cause applied to both: over-specialization and a loss of diversity.

Synergy is the uniqueness of the whole, unpredictable from the sum of the parts or any part individually.

On page 87 he forecasts in 1969 when this book was first published, both the Bush and the Obama Administration's ease in finding trillions for war and the economic crisis, while refusing to recognize that we must address the needs of the "have nots" or be in eternal war. I quote:

"The adequately macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive solutions to any and all problems never cost too much."

I agree. I drove to Des Moines and got a memo under Obama's hotel door recommending that he open up to all those not represented by the two party crime family, and also providing him with the strategic analytic model developed by the Earth Intelligence Network. Obviously he did not attend, and today he is a pale reflection of Bush. See the images I have loaded, and Obama: The Postmodern Coup - Making of a Manchurian Candidate.

Early on he identified "information pollution" as co-equal to physical pollution, I am totally taken with this phrase (see my own illustration of "data pathologies" in the image above). I recognize that Buckminster Fuller was about feedback loops and the integrity of all the feedback loops, and this is one explanation for why US Presidents fail: they live in "closed circles" and are more or less "captive" and held hostage by their party and their advisor who fear and block all iconoclasts less they lose their parking spot at the White House.

Most interestingly, and consistent with the book I just read the other day, Fighting Identity: Sacred War and World Change (The Changing Face of War), he concludes that wars recycle industry and reinvigorate science, and concludes that every 25 years is about right for a "scorched earth" recycling of forces.

He observes that we must preserve our fossil fuels as the "battery" of our Spaceship Earth, and focus on creating our true "engine," regenerative renewable life and energy.

He joins with Will Durant in Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers: education is our most formidable task.

I am astonished to have him explain why the Pacific coast of the US is so avant guarde and innovative (as well as loony). He states that the US has been a melting pot for centuries, and that the West Coast is where two completely different cultural and racial patterns integrated, one from Africa and the east, the other from the Pacific and the west.

I learn that he owned 54 cars in his lifetime, and kept leaving them at airports and forgetting when and where. He migrated to renting, and concluded that "possession" is burdensome.

See also:
Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (Substantially Revised)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic 21 Mar 2012
By Anne R. Fitzgerald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a classic I somehow missed and worth going back to. Buckminster Fuller is STILL original and delightful, even after all this time. How did I miss reading this years ago? The book is a pastiche of bits and pieces, but they're all Bucky pieces and worth your time because he is always so thought provoking.
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