Buckminster Fuller


Bucky Fuller was one of the 20th century's greatest innovators, both in thought and deed. His life's quest boiled down to one encompassing objective: "To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest time through spontaneous cooperation and without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone." 

To describe him succinctly, Fuller was primarily a pragmatic cosmic fisherman. “Cosmic fishing” is what he called his process of opening intuition to whatever insight the cosmos was ready to reveal. He was a perpetual explorer of nature’s methodologies of design, structure, transformation, integrity and wholeness, and dedicated his life to the application of this knowledge to the benefit of all humanity and life on Earth. He was an idealist (one whose optimism is based upon nature’s absolute integrity to life), and called himself a comprehensivist (the opposite of a specialist,  one who looks for generalized principles in the context of wholeness rather than special case instances).

Start With Universe

One of Bucky’s primary tenets is, “Start with Universe.” The initial relevant context is the whole Universe, and from there you peel away irrelevancies until you find the scale and relationships that are most relevant to the inquiry at hand. As a comprehensivist, he was naturally a whole-systems thinker and designer, and as was true with David Bohm, seeing the cosmos as a unified whole and all things in it as wholes within wholes was for Bucky the only true lens through which to study and comprehend cosmic design.

Integrity & Synergy

Among his vast résumé of research, writings, inventions and inspirations, what stand out foremost as primary threads throughout them all are two fundamental principles "operative" (as he would say) in Universe: Integrity and Synergy. "Only integrity counts" is one of his simplest axioms, providing a baseline upon which we can measure our personal and shared thoughts, words and deeds, and by which we can course correct with objective honesty and efficiency. And the understanding and application of the principle of synergy — the behavior of whole systems that is greater than and unpredictable from the behavior of the system's parts when viewed separately — is, for Fuller, of paramount importance to the survival and thrival of humanity and life on Earth. It is through Integrity and Synergy that we can achieve his life-long objective, one that all whose mind is lead by their heart, as was Bucky's, can fully align with.

Synergy was so fundamental to how Fuller viewed the nature of the cosmos that he named what is one of his most outstanding contributions to the world — his research into "nature's coordinate system" (structural cosmometry, in this context) — Synergetics. His writings on the subject, Synergetics – Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, Volumes 1 and 2, are profound in their comprehensive survey of the most fundamental aspects of cosmic pattern and form (and the equally profound power of "mind" to comprehend and apply this knowledge, hence "the geometry of thinking"). Unpacking the relevance and significance of Synergetics in many scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, mathematics, topology, biology, engineering... to name a few already positively informed by it) and the design of solutions to the technological and social challenges we face, has only just scratched the surface of its potential. Synergetics ought to be studied from kindergarten through graduate school; and in fact, according to Fuller, the basics of it are so easily understandable through hands-on modeling that young children are often able to comprehend it faster than traditional Euclidean-geometry-taught learned adults.

Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science

Fuller also described himself as a "comprehensive anticipatory design scientist" — one who takes a forward-looking view (anticipatory) and combines the best of intuition (design) and logic (scientist) to address the needs and well-being of all of life through whole-system problem solving (comprehensive). Another of his popular axioms states, "“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” He knew that it's far easier and more effective to offer new and better ways of living that will be spontaneously adopted because they're based upon an ever-increasing integrity and efficiency than it is to try to change someone's mind through argument — no matter how correct it may appear to be.

Vector Equilibrium - Zero-Phase Geometry

In the context of cosmometry, what may be Fuller's most essential contribution is his revelation that the vector equilibrium (and the "Cosmic Hierarchy" of all geometric form enfolded in it) is the geometry of the the Unified Field — the "zero-phase of conceptual integrity inherent in the positive and negative asymmetries that propagate the differentials of consciousness" as he describes it. When it comes to modeling a most fundamental aspect of physics wherein the zero-point field of energy has infinite density yet cannot be seen or measured, the vector equilibrium simply and absolutely fulfills this ground-zero starting place from which everything else springs forth. 

As Bucky put it in a more poetic sense, here from a card in his Synergetics Dictionary:

Special thanks to the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, the Estate of E.J. Applewhite and the dedicated work of Robert Gray for Synergetics Dictionary Online


To learn more about Fuller and the continuation of his works in the world, see the website of the Buckminster Fuller Insitute.


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