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Buckminster Fuller, Visionary - Decades ahead of His time

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As mentioned on the Eco-cities thread...

Norman Foster: Building on the green agenda

Foster mentions Buckminster Fuller, a true visionary- years ahead of his time





About Bucky Fuller:



Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983)[1] was an American architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, poet and visionary. He was the second president of Mensa.[2]


Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" Considering himself an average individual without special monetary means or academic degree,[3] he chose to devote his life to this question, trying to find out what an individual like him could do to improve humanity's condition that large organizations, governments, or private enterprises inherently could not do.


Pursuing this lifelong experiment, Fuller wrote more than thirty books, coining and popularizing terms such as "Spaceship Earth", ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also worked in the development of numerous inventions, chiefly in the fields of design and architecture, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes or buckyballs were named for their resemblance to a geodesic sphere.


Late in his life, after working on his concepts for several decades, Fuller had achieved considerable public visibility. He traveled the world giving lectures, and received numerous honorary doctorates. Most of his inventions, however, never made it into production, and he was strongly criticized in most fields he tried to influence such as architecture, or simply dismissed as a hopeless utopian. Fuller's proponents, on the other hand, claim that his work has not yet received the attention that it deserves. According to philosopher N.J.Slabbert, Fuller had an obscure writing style which has impeded the circulation of his ideas.


## http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller


"obscure writing style" - too bad. Because his ideas were DECADES AHEAD !:


Fuller was one of the first to propagate a systemic worldview and explored principles of energy and material efficiency in the fields of architecture, engineering and design.[17][18] He cited Francois de Chardenedes' view that petroleum, from the standpoint of its replacement cost out of our current energy "budget", essentially the incoming solar flux, had cost nature "over a million dollars" per U.S. gallon (US$300,000 per litre) to produce. From this point of view its use as a transportation fuel by people commuting to work represents a huge net loss compared to their earnings.[19]


Fuller was concerned about sustainability and about human survival under the existing socio-economic system, yet optimistic about humanity's future. Defining wealth in terms of knowledge, as the "technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life", his analysis of the condition of "Spaceship Earth" led him to conclude that at a certain time in the 1970s, humanity had crossed an unprecedented watershed. Fuller was convinced that the accumulation of relevant knowledge, combined with the quantities of key recyclable resources that had already been extracted from the earth, had reached a critical level, such that competition for necessities was no longer necessary. Cooperation had become the optimum survival strategy. "Selfishness", he declared, "is unnecessary and...unrationalizable...War is obsolete..."[


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Any relationship to... The Fuller Brush Man?


Come on, get real, Man.


Bucky Fuller was one of the transcendent geniuses of the last 100 years !






Life Work

"Over the course of... his lifetime, R.Buckminster Fuller became perhaps the best known American thinker of the twentieth century. Sometimes called 'the planet's friendly genius', Bucky gained renown as an inventor and designer (of the Dymaxion House, the Dymaxion car, the Dymaxion map), the creator of the Geodesic Dome, the man who coined the term 'Spaceship Earth' and organized the World Game, the mathematician who discovered Synergetics, and as a dogged individualist whose genius has been felt throughout the world for over half a century


LIKE TIM LEARY - he was from Massachusetts


"He also produced what he called the World Game. Based on his Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map, which was the size of a basketball court, it entailed trying to distribute world resources in a way that ensured that everyone would 'win'.

This very whole earth entertainment drew the attention of a number [of] Californian programmers and philosophers, who managed to implement a version of it using a computer [see World Game Institute --ed.], perhaps in the process creating the world's first world simulator and setting a precedent that was to make the idea of virtual worlds more accessible -- at least, to California's free-thinking programmers".




from Massive Change Interviews / Stewart Brand


Massive change: What was Bucky Fuller's reaction to your button campaign that asked, "Why haven't we seen an image of the whole earth yet?"


Stewart Brand: It was all because of LSD, see. I took some lysergic acid diethylamide on an otherwise boring afternoon and came to the notion that seeing an image of the Earth from space would change a lot of things. So, on next to no budget, I printed up buttons and posters and sold them on street corners at the University of California, Berkeley. I went to Stanford and back east to Columbia, Harvard, and MIT. I also mailed the materials to various people: Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, senators, members of the U.S. and Soviet space programs.


Out of everyone, I only heard back from Bucky Fuller, who wrote, "Dear boy, it's a charming notion but you must realize you can never see more than half the earth from any particular point in space." I was amused, and then met him a few months later at a seminar at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. I sat across from his lunch table and pushed the button over to him, asking him what he thought about it. He said, "Oh yes, I wrote to that guy." I said, "I'm the guy. So what do you think? What kind of difference do you think it will make when we actually get photographs of the earth from space?"


There was this slow, lovely silence. Then he said, "Dear boy, how can I help you?"

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He does that in this interview, recently rediscovered:


Buckminster Fuller

World Game Synergy Anticipatory - mid-1974:


A one hour conversations with renowned "Comprehensivist" Polymath Buckminter Fuller at his "World Game" offices in Philadelphia. Much time is given to asserting his "synergetic" major premise that in terms of mankinds collective technological augmented advancement through time we had reached a point - in terms of our collective capabliity to provvide "life suport" to the people of "Spaceship Earth" - within a correct assumption there were more "haves" than "have nots" for the first time in human history and that by utilizing "Anticapatory Design Scince" we could beginning serious modeiling the premise we had transcended material scarcity and we had reached that "Critical Point" in the year 1970.


SOME POINTS made by Fuller :



+ End of scarcity in 1952: that's what he had seen, that there was enough resources,

if properly organised for "all of humanity" to enjoy a higher living standard (like China & India in 2007)


+ We need to phase out of fossil fuels: with wind and solar power


+ End of scarcity, means a new politics. We no longer need to fight over scarce resources.

Instead, we should be putting our efforts into better design, to improve living for all,

and into enlightening and educating people.


+ People are better informed, and with so many sources of information, do their own thinking


+ In an era of plenty, automation may relieve people of the need to earn a living


+ He saw people being busy at "making documentaries", and offering them to others for enlightenment


(Note: he is very wrong on some of these points. He comes across as a naive optimist)

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Dymaxion Car - great investion! What happened to it??



Dymaxion Car Video:


Richard Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller was recognized as a poet, artist, engineer, architect, cartographer, mathematician, sailor and philosopher. Many believe his invention of the geodesic dome is as architecturally important as the Roman arch. Fuller's far ranging interests also included automobiles and he designed (with the help of Starling Burgess and Anna Biddle) the Dymaxion, one of the most significant and progressive cars ever built in the early 1930's. Burgess, a famous naval architect and aircraft builder, was hired to engineer the car and direct its construction. Biddle, a wealthy Philadelphia socialite and longtime friend of Fuller, agreed to financially back the project. The three-wheeled cars were built in the old Locomobile factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Fuller coined the word Dymaxion from dynamic, maximum, and ion. To Fuller, a three-wheeler wasn't radical, it was simply logical. He didn't care about marketing statistics, buyer profiles, or luxury styling cues. This highly streamlined car used a Ford V-8 engine at the rear to drive the two front wheels. The single rear wheel steered like the rudder of a ship. Since the rear wheel could pivot 90 degrees, the car could easily turn on its own axis, giving the driver the sensation of meeting himself coming.


One of the most radical features of the Dymaxion design was that it was mounted on two frames, hinged at the front, with one frame carrying the engine and drive chain while the other carried the rear wheel mount, suspension and steering. There were no rear windows, just a periscope. Top speed was about 120 mph with fuel economy between 25 and 30 mpg. During 1933 and 1934, three Dymaxions were built before Fuller ran out of cash. #1 and #3 have disappeared. #2 is displayed here. (copyright National Automobile Museum)



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