Earth Day 2011 – Honoring “St. Bucky” – Buckminster Fuller

JohnsArt 2011 earth_day

Dear Readers! 

I’m a day late – but no matter, earth care is a daily, year-around, celebration and commitment.  Earth-day art is John-art, found  here, or at above page link on this website.  His design for this year is such a treat,  rich and intense blues and greens are among my favorite ‘earthy’ colors!

Consider these words from Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth, (pdf link):

I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top.

I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem. Our brains deal  exclusively with special-case experiences. Only our minds are able to discover the generalized principles operating without exception in each and every special-experience case which if detected and mastered will give knowledgeable advantage in all instances.

Because our spontaneous initiative has been frustrated, too often inadvertently, in earliest childhood we do not tend, customarily, to dare to think competently regarding our potentials. We find it socially easier to go on with our narrow, shortsighted specialization’s and leave it to others — primarily to the politicians — to find some way of resolving our common dilemmas.

Countering that spontaneous grownup trend to narrowness I will do my, hopefully “childish,” best to confront as many of our problems as possible by employing the longest-distance thinking of which I am capable — though that may not take us very far into the future.

Buckminster Fuller offered much insight we’d do well to consider. 

He declared all newborns to have immense potential – seldom nurtured or given opportunity to blossom. He believed we’re so pre-occupied with survival (even in sophisticated life-styles) that individual gifts are lost to common and shared experience. He believed politicians are unable to escape short-term thinking geared to re-election; and that, because of this, we cannot, and dare not, rely on politicians to find appropriate and long-range solution to critical earth and life questions. He also said “it’s all or none” – “everybody or nobody” if we want to humanity to find its promise.

Richard-Buckminster-Fuller dome & Fuller info. at Essential Architecture

Richard-Buckminster-Fuller dome & Fuller info. at Essential Architecture

Equally important – he not only offered insight on what we might change in views and practices to honor human promise; he dedicated himself to finding real and tangible solution. The most famous of these is the geodesic dome.  The dome’s structural integrity and advantages were truly revolutionary.

Buckminster Fuller offered deep insight on all topics that matter: environment, intelligence, human potential, resource management and use, understanding dynamics of universe, of earth, of humanity. He was modest, a clear and comprehensive thinker, with a ‘natural teacher’ manner, who welcomed humanity as student.  He, if anyone, is surely a candidate for sainthood!

Specific to today’s post, please notice his celebration of, and faith in, our ingenuity, with the cautionary warning against our habit to cling to ‘piano tops’ – solutions  that once worked.  Notice also that he makes a distinction between how we use our ‘brains‘ – and larger understandings available to us if we use our ‘minds‘.  Please notice too his observation that, (if we don’t pay attention with integrity), we go with what is ‘socially easier‘.  (Integrity is one of Fuller’s key principles – not used in the quote above, but found much emphasized in his quoted work.)

Follow these links to learn more of Buckminster Fuller (or to re-new your awareness if you’ve neglected attention to his gifts and insights.) Wikipedia on Fuller and Wikiquotes-Fuller.  See also my previous blog post “Torches Passed from the 20th Century” for link to an excellent documentary. Unlike many documentaries, this one offers no “interpretation” by the film maker. It is solely a compilation of Fuller-footage, as he speaks and demonstrates key principles of his thought in different settings.

For current and on-going news and developments related to Fuller’s contributions see the Buckminster Fuller Institute link on my blog-roll list.  (My blog-roll is largely a list of resource sites for 21st Century ideas.)

My Best to All of Us! –MaggieAnn


About maggieannthoeni

A description once given of me was "rooted in the earth while roaming the stars" - and this has felt 'right'. I believe in something akin to this for each of us. I am a passionate supporter of discovering the autonomous self while serving the whole as primary intent. I believe in discovery of innate principles, clearing the overlay of socialization that obscures this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to leave no one behind - most particularly to respond to suffering as best we can whereever we find it, whenever we are made aware. I believe in this for the insect as well as the most magnificent form of humanity. I believe in brother/sisterhood without boundary. I believe in righteous indignation when it is appropriate, but do not believe in an enemy. I believe in consciousness, in intelligence, in logic, in rationality, in emotion, in transcendence - and am convinced until we generally practice explore and honor all this in ourselves, we remain profoundly immature. (I believe real maturity is known and practiced by many young children, and not enough adults!)
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