On Buckminster Fuller’s

0
153

Critical Path is the most ambitious book I have ever read. Mr. Fuller (1895-1983) attempts to summarize his vision, achievements, speculations, and analysis. Written in the late 1970’s at the end of a long life, the author shows himself to be part scientist, inventor, economist, historian, sociologist, and political theorist.

The first line of this book: “It is the author’s working assumption that the words good and bad are meaningless.” I like him already. He has developed several extremely useful inventions, designed energy-efficient cities, analyzed humanity relentlessly, and formulated a plan for the world government and survival of humanity. I’m deeply impressed with his creativity, gumption, and analysis. However, I’m also unimpressed with his convoluted philosophy and master plan.

The little I know of his life is extremely interesting. Born in New England, he speaks of being indoctrinated by his family and community.

I did my best not to pay any attention to my own thinking and trained myself to learn what seemed to me the “game of life” as you would train yourself to play football. The rules are all written by others.

Mr. Fuller was raised with the belief that there wasn’t enough (food, resources, money) available for every person. His mentors justified the ruthlessness of humans (in war and business) with this belief.

He served in WWI as a commissioned line officer in the U.S. Navy, and married at 22. He describes himself as a “spontaneous failure” in the business world: he developed a manufacturing and building business, constructing four factories and 240 residential buildings, but lost his friends’ investments and became “discredited and penniless” in 1927.

This year was a milestone for Mr. Fuller; here he formulated and committed to a path that he was to follow for the rest of his life. He decided to embark on a lifelong experiment, dedicating himself to “comprehensively protect, support, and advantage all humanity (�)” He claims to have put no energy towards the welfare of himself or his family after 1927, believing that the universe would provide for him because he was focused on humanity as a whole. He committed himself to do his own thinking, to develop technology beneficial to everyone, patent it, and yet never promote or sell any of his work. He believed that if his work was worthwhile, it would be spontaneously recognized and used. This quote says it all:

Above all I sought to comprehend the principles of eternally regenerative Universe and to discover human functioning therein, thereby to discover nature’s governing complexes of generalized principles and to employ these principles in the development of the specific artifacts that would benefit humanity’s fulfillment of its essential functioning in the cosmic scheme.

He wrote this book because he believes that the knowledge contained in Critical Path is essential for human survival:

Humanity’s ability to survive “no longer depends on the validity of political, religious, economic, and social organizations”

This ability depends on the intuition, “comprehensive informedness,” and integrity of the individual

“Humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all of the truth, and to do so promptly � right now.”

He makes a distinction between “cosmic-energy income” (solar, water, wind power, etc.), the “cosmic-energy savings account” (fossil fuels, natural gas, etc.), and the “cosmic-capital plant and equipment account” (atomic energy). The fact that humanity is using earth’s savings rather than earth’s income is

a spending folly no less illogical than burning your house-and-home to keep the family warm on an unprecedently cold midwinter night.

Incidentally, Mr. Fuller claims that our present rate of humanity’s total energy consumption (as of the late 1970’s) was one four-millionth of one percent of the rate of our energy income.

While all this energy income goes unused, savings gets eaten up. He observes that the intent of government and business is to profit by putting meters between people and energy, and that individual common sense is subverted by the profiteering and parasitical behavior of government and business.

A few of Mr. Fuller’s many developments:

The Dymaxion Projection Sky-Ocean World Map: Far more accurate than any other flat map in use, Mr. Fuller divides the globe into 20 equilateral triangles and spreads the land masses out radially from the north pole. Very close to the pole lies North America and Asia, with Africa just the other side of Asia from the pole, and the Americas snaking out in the other direction. Australia is off the underside of Asia and Antarctica is at the end of the America snake.

The Geoscope: a big model of the earth designed and manufactured as 20 equilateral triangles. It changes from a 200-foot sphere (that rotates synchronously with the earth) into (a very big) Sky-Ocean World Map. Wired with lights and connected to computers, the population of the earth is illustrated by position, movement, and density. Also programmed: locations and quantities of various resources; the movements of airplanes; the presence of weather systems and geological occurrences; the locations and capabilities of various technological and manufacturing centers. He proposes this as primarily an educational device: he developed the World Game, which documents

resources, behaviors, trends, vital needs (�) The players as individuals or teams would each develop their own theory of how to make the world work successfully for all of humanity. Each individual or team would play a theory through to the end of a predeclared program. It could be played with or without competitors.

The objective of the game would be to explore ways to make it possible for anybody and everybody in the human family to enjoy the total Earth without any human interfering with any other human and without any human gaining advantage at the expense of another.

The Geoscope also could be used to illustrate the actual conditions and circumstances of this planet to educate and inform humanity.

The Geodesic Dome: Mr. Fuller has designed these domes for houses, cities, and everything in between, heeding these facts and bringing this research to bear:

spherical structures enclose the greatest volume with least surface area

when the linear dimension of a sphere doubles, the surface area quadruples and the volume is multiplied by eight.

geodesic spherical structures (meaning supported by triangular beams) are the strongest structure per unit weight

when a geodesic dome is enclosed within another, bigger dome (and when the space between the two boundaries is greater than the depth of the frost penetration in that area) (and when there are not metal connections between the two domes) the heat gain and loss of the inner dome is halved (compared with the same dome without the outer dome)

There are a multitude of arrangements for harvesting energy

The dome is capable of harvesting sun energy during summer with solar panels

Converting windpower into compressed air, all mechanical operating needs can be supplied by a pneumatic-tool system.

Temperature Regulation

When the dome is transparent or translucent on the sunny side and opaque and inwardly reflecting on the non-sunny side, greater amount of heat get trapped as the diameter of the dome increases

during summer, the dome is capable of opening its lower edge as well as a small portion of the top, thereby using the Bernoulli effect to air condition

When growing vegetation within the dome,

the natural cycle of carbon dioxide to oxygen occurs

you can eat the food, or use vegetable produced alcohol as energy

In addition to supplying all energy needs of the inhabitants, two sanitary inventions render the house or city autonomous.

the “fog gun”: a high-pressure adjustable air gun fed by small amounts of atomized water: used in everything from washing dishes to cleaning oneself

a system of carton-packaged human waste: rendered for methane fuel or fertilizer.

He proposes a “design science” revolution,

which will result in the conversion of all humanity into an integrated, omniharmonious, economically successful, one-world family.

He believes that the technology now available (applied correctly) makes it “highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known.”

Mr. Fuller contends,

It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival. War is obsolete (�) It could never have been done before. Only ten years ago the more-with-less technology reached the point where it could be done (�) Technologically we now have four billion billionaires on board Spaceship Earth who are entirely unaware of their good fortune.

This design science revolution involves a complete transformation from using the savings account to using the income. Among the important elements of this revolution: the necessary research and development of “alternate” power sources; a worldwide electric grid that supplies all equally; energy-efficient domed cities and transportation and communication technology; and the constant recycling of all resources, especially metals and chemical byproducts.

In less that twenty years (�) all humanity is scheduled by evolution (not by any world planning body) to become physically more successful and metaphysically more interestingly occupied than have any humans ever been in all known history � provided that humanity does not commit ignorance-, fear-, and panic-induced total-species suicide.

Why might they panic? All the present beaurocracies of political governments, great religious organizations, and all big businesses find that physical success for all humanity would be devastating to the perpetuation of their ongoing activities.

Of the countries of the world, he writes,

(�) all of the 150 nations of our planet are about to be desovereignized by evolution; that is, they are about to become operationally obsolete (�) We have today, in fact, 150 supreme admirals and only one ship � Spaceship Earth. We have the 150 admirals in their 150 staterooms each trying to run their respective stateroom as if it were a separate ship. We have the starboard side admirals’ league trying to sink the port side admirals’ league.

Computers are integral to his vision of the design science revolution. Paper will become obsolete as

all news can be disseminated by television and that computers can keep track of all the information that fills the advertising and want-advertisement pages, and any individual looking for any kind of opportunity can get the matching information from the computer in seconds. Individuals can go shopping by cable television.

He also envisions a world-integrated computer system documenting and analyzing a

world inventory of foods, raw and recirculating resources, and all of the world’s unique mechanical and structural capabilities and their operating capacities as well as (�) available energy-income-derived operating power with which to put their facilities to work. All of the foregoing information will become available (�) to all the world-around technology’s environment-controlling, life-sustaining, travel- and communication-accommodating structures and machines.

Mr. Fuller makes a very interesting point about pollution. Recovering and stockpiling toxic waste is a valued industry in his plan.

All the chemical substances (�) from all previous liquid, gaseous, or solid dumpings, fumings, or runnings-off � (are) known ignorantly as pollution. Nature has no “pollution.” This is a word coined in human ignorance regarding the presence of the right chemicals being released in the wrong places by those who profit only through selfish preoccupation and nonconsideration of others. The hour-to-hour changes in the inventory of world-government stockpiling of all recirculatable substances will be constantly fed into the world-integrated computer together with locations and summaries of total inventories available for new tasks.

The introduction of automation will make teachers, accountants and other financial professionals, many technicians, and most legal, service, data entry, and manual labor jobs obsolete. Mr. Fuller calls the present educational system “mass-production baby-sitting,” and speaks of using computers, television, and a worldwide network of libraries to teach oneself. He says,

(�) freed of the necessity to earn a living, all humanity will want to exercise its fundamental drive first to comprehend “what it is all about” and second to demonstrate competence in respect to the challenges. The greatest privilege in human affairs will be to be allowed to join any one of the real wealth-production or maintenance teams.

I’ll come back to this later. Despite his extremely accurate diagnosis and predictions, there are serious holes in his master plan.

He says that all of the combined decisions of humans throughout history and the “myriad of unforeseen technological, exploratory, and environmental happenings” produce historical results that no one could have predicted. “Such noncontemplated-by-any results constitute evolution � the will of God.” Other choice snippets include

“What I am trying to do is to discover why God included humans in universe”,

“Cosmic evolution is omniscient God comprehensively articulate”,

“Evolution is methodically synergetic and omnimeaningful.”

He is convinced that evolution is

irrevocably intent upon transforming omnidisintegrated humanity from a complex of around-the-world, remotely-deployed-from-one-another, differently colored, differently credoed, differently cultured, differently communicating, and differently competing entities into a completely integrated, comprehensively interconsiderate, harmonious whole.

Okay! Let’s take a break. His belief that evolution is intent on making humanity “omnisuccessful” pervades this book.

Evolution is the movement of here and now. It is a vast movement that includes planets and galaxies, geology and biology, thought and energy.

The “universe” started as part of a process far beyond our understanding. The solar system started as the collapse of a cloud of gas and dust. Under intense pressure, massive amounts of hydrogen combined into helium in nuclear fusion. In the resulting heat and pressure, heavier elements are blown away from the center as a star is born. These heavier elements eventually attract each other to create asteroids and planets. This whole process of creation gives birth to vast destructive forces as objects collide (especially during the early life of the system) and, in the end, the center explodes and engulfs much of what it has created in supernova. Sometimes, the supernova and the resultant clouds of gas and dust give rise to more solar systems.

This is but a snapshot of an infinitely big and infinitely small process of life. And here, on this planet, an array of organisms has evolved. The environment changes, often drastically, and some species that were previously well adapted die. Their genetic line ends. Some organisms that were previously maladapted flourish. Some organisms previously well adapted adapt again (through conscious design, genetic mutation, or dumb luck) and survive. Or not.

Sometimes survival depends on disease resistance, or on quickness, strength, brutality, or intelligence; sometimes on manipulative or industrious qualities. The path to survival can lie through the convergence of dramatic events, or at the periphery. It can be assisted, hurt, or destroyed by cataclysms or environmental changes occurring over eons.

It is obvious that the rules of survival for humans are changing. The “fittest” of 100 or 1000 or 100,000 years ago were different than the “fittest” today. Among the factors that define the fittest to survive is technological ability. One who has access to and control of vital materials and technology, who controls the research and development of new technologies, who is privy to new information, who has greater maneuverability, more money, etc.

Mr. Fuller tries to break down the “universally assumed law” of the survival of the fittest, and to discredit Darwin. His “speculative prehistory” is laugh-out-loud dumb.

He talks about the adaptation humanity went through to survive and thrive in cold climates, and the inbreeding of various traits for survival. He assumed “Darwin’s evolution of life from the simple to the complex (�) to be in reverse of the facts.” He contends that humans are the only primates that have salt-water tears. I can find no corroborating evidence, and I can only interpret this as fear and loathing that humanity’s closest cousins happen to be gorillas and chimps.

This just has to be quoted in full:

We see it as highly feasible to have telescanned from elsewhere in Universe the DNA-RNA-like coding of a complex angle-and-frequency programming together of terrestrially occurring chemical elements into their molecule-combining chemistries to successively produce a variety of species such as trilobites, dinosaurs, etc., as a progression of elsewhere-controlled Earth-landing tests. We see it as also highly feasible that these landings were used to discover the most suitable types of local-in-Universe information-harvesters and problem-solvers. The critical-limit experiences of the successive creature landings we see thereafter being sent back to some cosmic headquarters, thereby to guide the improvement of the design of the landings of thick-skinned creatures able to cope with greater annual temperature ranges than are humanly tolerable. And after further millions of years have passed and the environmental conditions have become auspicious, we see it becoming feasible to telescan the assembling of humans on Earth, thereafter inbreeding some of them into the ape-stages.

Translation: aliens from another planet created humans. Come on. Sure, it’s possible. It is also possible, through the power of positive thinking, that I turn into Superman.

Mr. Fuller also contends that humanity’s first habitat was the atolls of the South Pacific, and that all marine mammals are descended directly from us.

And after all that, he breaks down the history of human power structures very insightfully and thoroughly.

Throughout the history of land and sea transport those who have gained and held control of the world’s lines of vital supply have done so only by becoming the masters in the game of establishing supreme human power over (�) all humanity.

He points to the development of big ships (3000-1000 B.C.) as a big change in human history. Beforehand, horse/mule/camel caravans were the main line of supply. Overland trade routes between Asia, Europe, and Africa took years, while ships were faster and carried more.

He documents the evolution of the power structure from tribal leadership to a very crude division of labor to the skillful, systematic control of human lives. The medieval European version was an alliance of business and monarchy that was able to build and maintain ships (a huge investment), defend them with armies and navies (and use these forces to attack competitors), and make a ton of money.

This process gradually became more sophisticated. It’s called capitalism. We see it played out today in wars for control of arms, drugs, oil, and technological and economic advantage. The power structure is simply people living off of other peoples’ productivity.

He documents the history of ownership of land. What we now call racketeering and extortion are the roots of ownership. A farmer or shepherd is intimidated into giving food, animals, or whatever in exchange for “protection.” This soon evolved into fights between would-be protectors, and then into mounted warfare, and so on. Deeds to land started with leaders “deeding” land to their soldiers and other supporters in gratitude. The protectors, or “government,” preyed on agriculture, manufacturing, and trade. All markets and trade routes were inevitably “taxed.” The history of serfdom, sharecropping, and slumlording is part of this process.

Up to 1500 B.C., barter was it. Animals, resources, and manufactured goods were exchanged. Mr. Fuller says that the Phoenicians, in their trading voyages, used to carry cattle and other live animals on their ships until they got sick of it and created coinage. (As an aside, he claims that the whole concept of interest comes from loans of domesticated animals: during the tenure of the loan, any offspring of the animal were “interest,” and kept by the person that loaned out the animal.) Then, because they were successful traders (and were dealing with many different languages), they created phonetic spelling and the alphabet we trace our alphabet to.

Gold eventually became the primary coinage. The next big development was this: because you were sick of pirates and thieves robbing you, promissory notes were exchanged instead of gold. These notes were settled at the end of a certain time, with gold only moving from one bank to another. Then armored carriages and cars started getting robbed, and the banks became more centralized, and then the gold disappeared�and here we are.

He details the history of the U.S. in this context:

With the Revolution over we have Alexander Hamilton arguing before the Congress that it was not the intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence that the nation so formed should have any wealth (�He) went on to argue that the United States government so formed would, of course, need money from time to time and must borrow that money from the rich landowners’ banks and must pay the banks back with interest. Assuming that the people would be benefited by what their representative government did with the money it borrowed, the people gladly would be taxed in order to pay the money back to the landowners with interest. This is where a century-and-a-half-long game of “wealth”-poker began � with the cards dealt only to the great landowners (�)

America became an industrial power in the 19th century through metals production and various technologies. When WWI came along, J.P. Morgan and other industrialists/financiers cashed in. England was a huge customer, but they really made money when the U.S. entered the war. Every last dime the U.S. spent on the war was borrowed from Morgan and the other industrialists, to be repaid with interest by the taxpayers.

Then Congress invented the income tax.

Mr. Fuller traces these events directly to the Great Depression. After the war, the tremendous production was continued with cars and farming equipment. With a bad crop failure in 1926, many banks foreclosed on the farmers, but were unable to sell the farms or the equipment (because city people weren’t about to move onto a farm). And these banks were inevitably beholden to larger banks they had borrowed from. Big banks foreclosed on little banks, and huge banks foreclosed on big banks.

The 150-year-long “infinite wealth” poker hand and its uncalled bluffing were over. The called hands were suddenly down. It turned out that the “wealthys” wealth was nonexistent (�) what the banks had been doing was to loan the people’s deposits to other people. The banks had no money themselves (�)

In 1933, for the first time ever, the hands of the U.S. American wealthy were exposed (�) most were money empty (�) the game of “deedable land wealth” had been a bluff from its very beginning � multimillenia ago, when that little man on a horse, armed with a club, first rode up to the giant shepherd leader of a tribe and said, bluffingly, “It’s very dangerous out here in the wilderness for beautiful sheep such as yours.”

All the failed farm mortgages passed to the government; Roosevelt and company guaranteed the safety of bank deposits, regulated banking, threw a few of the worst crooks into jail, and established the S.E.C. (Securities and Exchange Commission) to restore confidence. Rent and price controls were established, and the value of gold was fixed against the dollar.

Mr. Fuller says that corporations took control of most farmland immediately.

What began in 1934 as government subsidies and loans to farmers for farm machinery, later to keep acreage out of production, would by 1978 result in President Carter making enormous payments to appease big corporations for cutting off vital grain and other strategic shipments to Russia. Next, the U.S. government would make enormous subsidies to bail out large corporations such as Lockheed and Chrysler, which as basic military suppliers the U.S. government could not allow to go bankrupt.

Corporations, especially “prime” military contractors, were subsidized on the backs of taxpayers. The New Deal created tax loopholes designed for corporations to grow, and grow they did. After WWII, most big corporations moved out of the U.S. to exploit new markets, often with the help of U.S. “foreign aid.” Later milestones in their explosive growth were Eisenhower’s 1952 release of New Deal economic controls, and Nixon’s 1972 severing of the gold standard. Needless to say, both men were tools of big business.

When in 1972 all the power-structure capital had converted its dollars into gold, oil, or other highly concentrated and mobile equities, then-President Richard Nixon severed the U.S. dollar from its government-guaranteed gold equity value of $35 per ounce, and the U.S.A. people’s dollar buying power plummeted � now, in 1980, being worth only 5 cents on the 1971 U.S.A. dollar.

He defines three major stages in history: from land-based capitalism, to finance capitalism, to lawyer capitalism. He has humorous and insightful anecdotes and metaphors to illustrate each stage:

Land-based:

Obviously, very powerful people had their land given to them by the king (�and) the king, with the church’s approbation, asserted it was with God’s blessing (�) All the kings always had their priests present when the land claimage was made by their explorers. The priests planted their crosses to confirm that the king’s ownership was blessed by God. The Roman Catholic Church, starting in its emperor-pope days, has been in the deeded-land business for (�) 2000 years. It is as yet the world’s largest real estate owner.

Finance:

Up until the time of World War I the owners of the factories (Mr. Morgan et al.) said, “We put you in as management to make a profit out of this factory.” If the management said, “Give us a new piece of machinery,” the owners said, “New piece of machinery! What are you talking about? We put you in to make money out of our machinery. You are fired.” Change was anathema to the J.P. Morgan-type of financier. Scientists would come up to Mr. Morgan and say, “Mr. Morgan, I can show you how to make steel so that it won’t rust.” “Young man! The more it rusts, the more I sell. How crazy you must be! Get the doctor to look this man over, he’s obviously a lunatic � take those mad papers out of his pocket and put them in my desk drawer.”

Lawyer:

The Wall Street lawyers’ grand strategists put the Wall Street lawyer John Foster Dulles in as Ike’s Secretary of State to dictate the American foreign policy of “Soviet containment,” and Foster Dulles’s Wall Street lawyer brother Allen Dulles was put in as head of a new brand of absolutely invisible, U.S.A.-financed, capitalistic welfare department, the CIA, established ostensibly to cold-war-cope with the secret-agent operations of our enemies. So secret was their operation that the people of the United States and its Congressional lawmakers had no idea of the size of the unlimited funds given to the CIA, nor for what those unknown funds were expended (�) I call the CIA, “Capitalism’s Invisible Army.”

He caps a brilliant analysis:

If we take the billions of dollars given in the 1930s to the great U.S.A. defense-industries corporations by the New Deal’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation�if we take the hidden tax-deduction subsidies to do research, development, and advertising given to all these companies in pre-1942 dollars between 1933 and 1980�if we take the $100 billion in foreign aid that paid for the overseas establishment of the great corporations�if we take the $155 billion of atomic know-how and development taken over by the oil companies�if we take the number of fine ounces of gold bullion taken out of America exclusively by the capitalist world’s banking system�and if we take a reasonably low estimate of the unknown billions of dollars taken out of the U.S.A. by the CIA to operate exclusively on behalf of international capitalism without the knowledge or authority of the people of the U.S. of America’s quasi-democracy�and, if we multiply the sum of the foregoing figures by twenty-five, which is the amount to which our present U.S. dollars have been depreciated between the time of the appropriations and January 1, 1980, we come to a figure in the magnitude of $6 trillion that has been legally transferred from the U.S.A. people’s national capital account over to the capital ownership account of the stockholders of the 1000 largest, transnational, exclusively American-flag-flying corporations.

He understands the pathology of humans very well. It is strange, then, that he has a formula (along with every other philosopher and budding imperialist) to eliminate this madness.

Back to Mr. Fuller’s design science revolution. In this book, he declared that 1989 would see his vision realized. A bold and brash assumption, based (I believe) on faith in his version of evolution. He has thought of almost everything; his planning, priorities, and designs are impressive. But�

A very big assumption running throughout this book is that history has somehow ended; that we are somehow entering a golden age. His language is clear about this: humanity must “no longer” depend on various governments, ideologies, and religions; advancing technology only now will enable humans to live in peace and plenty; war is now obsolete.

He has left out important essentials of human nature. Not everyone wants to be a scientist. He says,

Children and grown people will be able to get their continuing intellectual education�at their home terminals. They will get their social experience and tool-handling education in locally organized neighborhood activities when humans wish to converge.

He sounds like a computer, and doesn’t seem to be having any fun. He says, “The computer will continually direct us back to basics.” I couldn’t disagree more. A tool is an extension of a person that uses it.

Then we get to the real issue: the nature of this world government. He foresees all people interning in various production roles (until age 38), after which they receive a (very generous) fellowship to do what they want, “to the improvement of human functioning in support of the eternally regenerative integrity of Universe.”

Of the production teams, he says,

There would be no pay for the work. It would be like qualifying for the Olympic team to be allowed to do what you want to do. You would have to prove that you could do the job you wanted to do better than anyone else available to get onto the production teams (�) There is no joy equal to that of being able to work for all humanity and doing what you’re doing well. It is difficult to match the gratification of not just crudely crafting a plaything for one child (which indeed can be very rewarding) but of producing exquisite somethings for a billion children.

This new world order will be supervised by a “nonpolitical, professionally trained, and examination-qualified management,” who would presumably preside over a computer network regulating all aspects of life.

You won’t be able to buy any nonconsumables � you will only be able to rent. If you are renting more than you can use, the system will call the excess back.

Each individual’s (electromagnetic) field alternates between positive and negative. When an individual is feeling predominantly negative mentally, the field is negative, and vice versa. (�) satellites, dynamically space-stationed around the world, can take continual readings of the sum-total proportions of positive and negative electromagnetic field reactions of all humanity in respect to world-numbered “proposals” � to be broadcast at given times all around the world � regarding computer-discovered solutions to each and every world-human-affecting problem.

This is Big Brother, not some benign governing body. Many people will not want any part of it. Can every aspect of life be regulated?

In the electromagnetic field, there isn’t a clear distinction between positive and negative. It is a vast spectrum. And even if a scan did pick up a clear “positive” response, how could it differentiate between an opinion about a certain proposal and the constantly shifting emotions and thoughts of people?

Who controls this world management committee? How are they selected? How do they decide what proposals to float before humanity? And who controls the scanning technology?

Technology is not a magic answer, and no system or plan will give each of us what we need. Granted, Mr. Fuller has some really good ideas. But he ignores human nature as he intellectualizes us to death. He states in the beginning of the book,

(�) I am convinced that human continuance now depends entirely upon:

The intuitive wisdom of each and every individual.

The individual’s comprehensive informedness.

The individual’s integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual’s own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative.

The individual’s joining action with others, as motivated only by the individually conceived consequences of so doing.

The individual’s never-joining action with others, as motivated only by crowd-engendered emotionalism, or by a sense of the crowd’s power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one’s own intellectual convictions.

And the fact is that there is no map, no path, and no formula to follow to gain these qualities. No government, or organization, or mass movement, or any group of people have ever found “the key,” and they never will. Each of us must create this for ourselves.

God is a word. It means different things to different people. Mr. Fuller’s belief in God is detailed quite succinctly in this book. In a poem/prayer (called Ever Rethinking the Lord’s Prayer), he defines God as

the scientific method

human intellect

human experience

In the same poem/prayer, he says, “I define Universe as all of humanity’s in-all-known time consciously apprehended and communicated (to self or others) experiences.”

The last thing I want to do is break down a poem or a prayer, but this is too much. Shakespeare’s Hamlet comes to mind: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” And if a tree falls in a forest with no human there to hear it, is there sound?

Are we so full of ourselves that we imagine the vast play of life to be dependent on human perception?

He obviously believes that, given enough time, science will penetrate the design of (reality, the universe, existence, consciousness, God, take your pick). Science and the scientific method are born of language and logic. No doubt powerful tools, but as with every tool, there are limits. One must understand the language. And there are also more important, subtle limits.

Taking the word door: we have agreement. We all know what a door is. The word door points toward what is, the wooden or metal thing that swings on hinges that we walk through. The word points towards the real.

Sometimes what’s real isn’t something we can touch, or look at, or smell. Maybe it can only be felt or sensed in some other way. We may still describe and express this experience with words. Yet, when we can no longer point outside ourselves to what we’re talking about, we are at a purely personal level. It’s me. It’s the self. This world of sense, emotion, thought, energy, vibration, breathing, heart pumping, marrow growing, cell dividing�only I know the truth of it. No one knows how it is for another.

Words aren’t adequate to express the totality of this experience. The process of the mind, this tool of imagination, memory, analysis, division, and generalization; it is just a part of a whole. It is obvious, is it not? that an integrated approach to life is needed. And what is this process of life? Not a definition, but a real understanding. With all the ability and baggage we inherit, and all the potential we have, life still remains to be found here, now. I have only my sense. I’m not a computer plugged in, sharing information. The only access to truth is through my physiology and direct experience. All else is brainwashing.

We’ll understand only if we examine and question every concept, assumption, and belief. Beliefs create division: person/animal, self/environment, physical/non-physical, wave/particle, good/bad, Mr./Magoo. The process of mind has tremendous liability along with tremendous value. It is true that we have beliefs, but the belief is not truth. Yet, so often we act as though our individual belief systems are reality.

What does it mean to be insane? Does it not depend on your perspective? A Lakota Sioux medicine man may pierce pectorals and other major muscles with weighted hooks and dance until the hooks rip. A U.S. army officer may deliberately infect with small pox blankets and supplies bound for indigenous Americans. A person may commit suicide out of depression or religious belief or to make a political statement. A person may kill another for power, money, food, or clothing, or out of depression or religious belief or to make a political statement. People may say that the world is round, or flat, or that it is all an illusion. People may pay taxes to a government that oppresses and kills people with that money. A person may follow the pictures in their head towards respectability, infamy, or whatever.

Insanity is a process of thought. We may accept a thought, or resist, reject, modify, analyze, justify, talk to ourselves, and much more; we all know the story. This process of thought, which so often dominates the landscape of our awareness, is capable of great subtlety and drama. And it grows out of patterns, many of which form in our younger years. Some are picked up from our parents, and many are centered around memories of pleasurable or painful events. We call these patterns beliefs, or habits, or whatever.

We develop practices and goals, disciplines and escapes, ideals and belief systems. We strive towards “good” and do away with “bad”, whether chasing different pleasures or achieving certain lifestyles or emotional or energetic states. And these patterns we experience, inherit, cultivate, enjoy, fulfill, resist�this is the continuum of insanity in which we all find ourselves.

Mr. Fuller has explored a lot, but he has failed to explore himself. In his fervor to transform what he sees as society’s ills, he has neglected to sincerely attempt to understand these things. Out of a clear recognition that humanity is in a process of self-destruction, Mr. Fuller launched a personal crusade. And he left a legacy of inventiveness and resourcefulness that has a very real potential of benefiting us. However, this intellectual knowledge that was the core of his life never addressed why we are self-destructive, greedy, violent, and stupid. He simply tried to affect a “positive” change.

Mr. Fuller is not unlike the disgruntled young westerner who moves to Asia and becomes a devotee of an eastern religion, or the person who, seeing the damage wrought by modern industry, chooses to never ride in a car again. Seeing the tremendous suffering, we react. We try to escape it, fix it, and transform it. We develop a sense of urgency, an ideal of peace, and a desire to end this suffering. And yet, do we understand the roots of suffering? Do we recognize this appalling greed, violence, and stupidity in ourselves? Are we attempting to understand these things?

Or are we trying to escape, change it, reform the system, or carve out a niche in this crazy world to protect ourselves?

These things aren’t separate, but acting out of a belief to change the world (or to protect oneself from it) illustrates a complete lack of understanding of what the world is, and who we are.

The design science revolution can accomplish a lot, but it can’t compel us to understand ourselves. No mass movement or belief or theory, nor any amount of money or resources can accomplish this understanding. No amount of reform or discipline or hard work or intellect or allegiance to anything can substitute for this understanding.

Mr. Fuller says, “Human mind has discovered a number of cosmic laws � generalized scientific principles.” I ask, what laws? Sure, we have developed numerous models to explain reality. Some work well, until they don’t. Around 1900, before Einstein, Planck and the rest, physicists were talking craziness: “We have the model to understand the universe now.” The assumption that science will eventually explain reality is just that: an assumption. No doubt, science and technology are a big part of human survival; with these tools, we have extended our sense of the universe and ourselves. We have a better idea of the past, and a more complete picture of reality. But the fact remains that we don’t know anything.

He is, well�skip over this quote if you don’t feel like tripping along with him.

Apparently the integrity of the synergy of all synergies of all principles is continually testing its own comprehensive adequacy to accommodate all challenges in pure principle to the maintenance in pure principle of the principle of nonsimultaneous, only-overlappingly-affected, complex unity’s eternal regeneration.

Realization that the foregoing may be true tends to inform humans that the introduction into Universe of humans, in pure principle, with minds operating in pure principle, capable of apprehending and objectively employing in pure principle some of the eternal principles, was courageously undertaken by God to discover whether the principle of the eternally regenerative integrity of Universe can endure inviolate despite the dichotomy of knowledge brought about by introduction into the cosmic scheme of humans and their minds with access to and employment of some � but not all � of the eternal principles. This was an experiment in pure principle to test the adequacy of the synergy of synergies of principle to cope with the sometimes perverse, egotistical, selfish, and deceitful initiatives inherent in the concept of humans in pure principle without access to the wisdom accruing synergetically only to knowledge of all the principles � ergo, possibly capable of impairing the integrity of eternal regeneration. That may be what the integrity of God needs to know and needs to know by experimental evidence.

That is what I am thinking about in “Ever Rethinking the Lord’s Prayer.”

He seems to have confused this delusional rambling with some kind of logic. He must have said principle 50 times. The worship of the mind so prevalent in this book is stupid.

I am all about the earth. Waking up in the morning, feeling sunlight, hearing the multitude of sounds. Walking outside and feeling the wind, looking up through a tree canopy at the green filtered sunlight on a blue background. And this is just the small stuff!

It is clear that we are extremely far from the ability to find, much less colonize other planets capable of supporting us. And a good thing, too. The legacy of colonization has been marked by parasitical behavior marked at best by oppression, and at worst by genocide. Let us survive here and now, in learning, self-sufficiency, and love, however that looks to you, or die.

Padraic Rohan was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has taught elementary school and started an outdoor adventure not-for-profit organization.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.