Monday, 5 October 2015

BUCKMINSTER FULLER - more relevant today than ever!

To say it once more - all I know is what I read. And in the course of re-writing my first eBook - SUSTAINABILITY -A Primer - two oldies from 1968 were rediscovered and proved the key to my being able to define that elusive concept 'Sustainability'. [A]

I quote some excerpts from two sources, 

the first being 
Pocket Books, New York 1971
first published by 
Southern Illinois University Press
March 1969

the second
Collier Books, New York, 1970
containing Fuller's inaugural lecture
of the Littleton Franklin Lectures
at Auburn University, October 1968


“Man has failed thus far, as a specialist, to define the microscopic limits of divisibility of the nucleus of the atom, but, epochally, as accomplished by Einstein, has been able to define successfully the physical universe but not the metaphysical universe; nor has he, as yet, defined total universe itself as combining both the physical and metaphysical.  The scientist was able to define physical universe by virtue of the experimentally-verified discovery that energy can neither be created nor lost and, therefore, that energy is conserved and is therefore finite. That means it is equatable…
“But the finite physical universe did not include the metaphysical weightless experiences of universe. All the unweighables, such as any and all our thoughts and all the abstract mathematics, are weightless. Einstein and others have spoken exclusively about the physical department of universe in words which may be integrated and digested as the aggregate of nonsimultaneous and only partially overlapping, nonidentical but always complimentary, omni-transforming, and weighable energy events.

Eddington defines science as ‘the earnest attempt to set in order the facts of experience.’ Einstein and many other first-rank scientists noted that science is concerned exclusively with ‘facts of experience’.

“Holding to the scientists’ experiences as all important, I define universe, including both the physical and metaphysical as follows:
The universe is the aggregate of all of humanity’s consciously-apprehended and communicated experience whith the nonsimultaneous, nonidentical, and only partially overlapping, always complimentary, weighable and unweighables, ever omni-transforming, event sequences.

“Abraham Lincoln’s concept of ‘right triumphing over might’ was realized when Einstein as metaphysical intellect wrote the equation of physical universe E=mc2 and thus comprehended it. Thus metaphysical took the measure of, and mastered, physical. That relationship seems by experience to be irreversible. Nothing in our experience suggests that energy could comprehend and write the equation of intellect. That equation is operating inexorably, and the metaphysical is now manifesting its ability to reign over the physical.

This is the essence of human evolution upon Spaceship Earth.

“Man thus began for the first time to really employ his intellect in the most important way… when he discovered how to use energy as matter in the form of levers, shafts, gear trains, and dams, and how to take advantage of and use the energy as Sun radiation which vapourized and elevated water as atmospheric cloud, allowing it then to be precipitated and pulled back toward the centre of the spherical Earth from the spherical mantle of clouds in the form of water molecules collected in droplets. From this moment of comprehending energy circuits, and thenceforth, man’s really important function in universe was his intellection, which taught him to intercept and redirect local energy patternings… to do the manifold tasks leading directly and indirectly toward humanity’s forward regeneration.

“What we now have demonstrated metaphysically is that every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less. He may learn that what he thought was true was not true. By the elimination of a false premise, his basic capital wealth which is his given lifetime is disembarrassed of further preoccupation with considerations of how to employ a worthless time-consuming hypothesis.  Freeing his time for its more exploratory investment is to give man increased wealth.

“Sumtotally, we find that the physical constituent of wealth – energy – cannot decrease and that the metaphysical constituent – know-how – can only increase. This is to say that every time we use our wealth it increases. This is to say that, countering entropy, wealth can only increase…

“Wealth is anti-entropy at a most exquisite degree of concentration.  The difference between mind and brain is that brain deals only with memorized, subjective, special-case experiences and objective experiments, while mind extracts and employs the generalized principles and integrates and interrelates their effective employment. Brain deals exclusively with the physical, and mind exclusively with the metaphysical. Wealth is the product of the progressive mastery of matter by mind, and is specifically accountable in forward man-days of established metabolic regeneration advantages spelt out in hours of life for specific numbers of individuals released from formerly prescribed entropy-preoccupying tasks for their respectively individual yet inherently cooperative elective investment in further anti-entropic effectiveness.”

“Our wealth is inherently common wealth and our common wealth can only increase, and it is increasing at a constantly self-accelerating rate.
This all brings us to a realization of the enormous educational task which must be successfully accomplished right now in a hurry in order to convert man’s spin-dive toward oblivion into an intellectually mastered power pullout into safe and level flight of physical and intellectual success, whereafter he may turn his Spaceship Earth’s occupancy into a universe exploring advantage.

“These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. 
They are not man-made laws.
They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.”


“Man is not unique in having altered his environment. All living creatures alter the environment in one way or another, and then the altered environment alters them back. There is a chain reaction that goes on, giving rise to what we call evolution.

 “The fact, that energy is not lost, has not yet found its way into our books on economics. In them we still find the word ‘spending’ – a word referring to that outdated thinking before man knew that there was a speed of light. What then do we know about our wealth – about what we can ‘afford’? … I’m going to say to you first, that no matter what you think wealth is, would you agree with me that no matter how much you have of it, you can’t alter one iota of yesterday? … So we don’t have to give any thought to yesterday as we try to think about what wealth is. Whatever wealth may be, it has to do with our now and our tomorrows but not our yesterdays. … I would say, then, that what we probably mean by ‘wealth’, really has something to do with how many forward days we have arranged for our environment to take care of us and regenerate us in life and give us increased degrees of freedom. … Now, regeneration of life is produced first with energy … [which] now we find that the energy part of the universe is conserved – that it cannot be created or destroyed. … Every time we rearrange our environment, we can get more energy and more levers to do more work to take care of the regeneration of more and more of our forward days. These energies are there, and they cannot be spent.

“The other element of wealth to be defined is by far the more important. It is our intellectual capacity to recognize generalized principles that seem to be operative in the universe and to employ these principles. … There are a number of very important irreversibles to be discovered in our universe. One of them is that every time you make an experiment you learn more; quit literally, you can not learn less. That’s a pretty interesting fact, isn’t it, because it means that the metaphysical factor in wealth is one that is always gaining.

“That wealth combines two factors – the physical which is conserved, the metaphysical which can only increase – isn’t to be found in our textbooks, but it is what we are learning. It explains the fact that suddenly completely to our surprise, we find forty percent of humanity prospering as no king ever dreamt of less than a century ago – in that yesterday we agree couldn’t be repeated or changed. And it means that we are going to have to get into a completely new accounting system. There’s not a single chapter in any book on economics about doing more with less. All the great secrets, how the world was run by the great powers – all carefully omitted from the books even now. And there is still no integration of the economists with the physicists in regard to the inner significance of these matters. The economists and physicists are all too specialized. But these are the kind of things we are going to have to learn.”

* ”We therefore proceed ever more earnestly with our general systems analysis of the problems of human survival, with the premise that at present neither the world’s political officials nor its bankers know what wealth is.”

* ”Typical of the subsidiary problems within the whole human survival problem, whose ramifications now go beyond the prerogatives of planners and must be solved, is the problem of pollution in general – pollution not only of our air and water but also of the information stored in our brains.”

* ”It is easy to demonstrate to those who will take the time and the trouble to unbias their thoughts, that automation swiftly can multiply the physical energy part of wealth much more rapidly and profusely than can man’s muscle and brain-reflexed, manually-controlled production. On the other hand, humans alone can foresee, integrate, and anticipate the new tasks to be done by progressively automated wealth-producing machinery. To take advantage of the fabulous magnitudes of real wealth waiting to be employed intelligently by humans and unblock automation’s postponement by organized labour, we must give each human who is or becomes unemployed a life fellowship in research and development or in just simple thinking. Man must be able to dare to think truthfully and to act accordingly without fear of losing his franchise to live. … Thus, production… will unleash humanity’s unique capability – its metaphysical capability.
* three apposite & complementary quotes from the MANUAL

So, planners, architects and engineers, take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don’t hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lop-sidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.

It becomes evident, then, that youth’s world-round clamour for peace can only be realized through technological revolution, which will do so much more with so much less per each function as ultimately to produce enough to support all humanity. It is also clear that such task can only be accomplished by this technological design revolution…They have to shift their effort from mere political agitation to participating in the design science revolution.  The latter course involves the development of ever self-regenerating and improving scientific competence, and that in turn means the individual must plunge earnestly and dedicatedly into self-development by the resources of an educational system designed to develop the inherent comprehensivity of humanity.
October, 1968

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 I hope that these quotations may convince you that these two books, and two referred to in earlier blogs, CRITICAL PATH and NO MORE SECONDHAND GOD, are as relevant today as when written.   

[A]  SUSTAINABILITY - THE FULL MONTY  is published by Lulu Press, at