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"I don't know what I am. I know I am not a category, a highbred specialization: not a thing-a noun. I am not flesh. At eighty-five, I have taken in over a thousand tons of air, food, and water, which temporarily became my flesh and which progressively disassociated from me. You and I seem to be verbs-evolutionary processes. Are we not integral functions of the Universe?"

R. Buckminster Fuller


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Living Consciously

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Once Upon a Kitchen



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Especially for Children: Understanding through Books

Learning to See

Elemental Refreshment

Critical Path

Sampling Simple Thoughts

Threads, Knots, Tapestries

Reviews of Three CDs

Peace in Our Lifetime

Home » Resources » A review

Critical Path
To Be a Benefactor: Not-quite-quotes from R. Buckminster Fuller's Critical Path
Extracts selected, rearranged & edited by Leonard Ross

Reprinted with permission from St. Martin's Press, LLC

Always experimenting on himself first, exhaustively:
My Dymaxion Chronofile record demonstrated I had been positively effective producing life-advantage wealth only when doing so entirely for others, not for myself: the larger the number for whom I worked, the more positively effective I became. Obviously, if I worked always and only for all humanity, I would be optimally effective. I had only the remaining days of my life to invest.

To this end, Bucky's: determination to treat myself as an historical guinea pig, able to comment objectively regarding my Guinea-pig B Self: When my subject is being effective, I am glad; when worriedly procrastinating, I am sad. When it makes mistakes, I learn the most and am elated. (And I seem to have made more mistakes than any others of whom I know.) That is the extent of my prejudice.

Yet, in candor (whose appropriateness will be empathetically confirmed by any who have similarly tried): my previously conditioned reflexes frequently contradicted my intentions, while circumstances beyond my control converged so powerfully as to divert me from my intended self-disciplines. It has taken constant disciplining and re-disciplining to get myself under control to a productively effective degree.

I sought never to "promote" or "sell" either my ideas or artifacts or pay others to do so. I sought to produce irreversible gains, reforming the environment, not the humans, determining never to try to persuade humanity to alter its customs and viewpoints. I oriented my comprehensive, anticipatory design science strategies toward primarily advantaging the new life to be born within the environment-controlling devices I was developing.

The success of all humanity can be accomplished only by a terrestrially comprehensive, technologically competent, design revolution, developing artifacts whose energy-use efficiency not only occasions their spontaneous adoption, but also the inadvertent, unregretted abandonment and permanent obsolescence of socioeconomically undesirable practices.

Sincerely engaged in trying to be "anti-entropically" useful to the Universe, how did he contribute a "fuller" meaning to "renouncement"?:
What humanity rated as "side effects" of their conscious drives are nature's main effects. I adopted the precessional "side effects" as my prime objective, focusing all my effort for the rest of my life to applying the highest science and technology directly to the realization of human livingry. Nature would "evaluate" my work. If I was doing what nature wanted done, undertaking ever more humanly favorable physical-environment-producing artifact developments that in fact did improve the chances of all humanity's successful development and if I was doing it in promising ways, permitted by nature's principles, I would find my work being economically sustained-and vice versa, in which negative case I must quickly seek logically alternative courses until I found the new course nature signified her approval of.

Producing ever more effective life-improving results with ever less investment of weight of materials, ergs of energy, seconds of time per each measurable level of improved artifact performance, I was hopeful of finally doing so much with so little as to implement comprehensive economically sustainable physical success, eliminating the need for lethally biased politics and their ultimate recourse to hot or cold warring.

Fuller's work is grandly antithetical to Malthus' overridingly influential dog-eat-dog pessimistic "realism":
War is obsolete. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival. Technologically we now have four billion billionaires on board Spaceship Earth entirely unaware of their good fortune.

We have the realistic opportunity to help evolution do what it is inexorably intent on doing-converting all humanity into one harmonious world family, producing and sustaining a higher everyday standard of living for all than ever heretofore experienced or dreamt of by any. I know what I am talking about. This is not an opinion or a hope-it is an engineeringly demonstrable fact, using only the already proven technology, with the already mined, refined, and in-recirculating physical resources.

I scientifically documented the emergent invisible chemical, metallurgical, and electronic more-with-lessing, the accelerating acceleration and accelerating ephemeralization, trending toward an ultimate doing of everything with nothing at all, a trend of the omniweighable physical to be mastered by the omniweightless metaphysics of intellect.

R.B.F. was:
Deeply involved with the world's great housing crisis, with making high-performance shelter available to all, such environment-controlling shells and survival equipment as produced only by the most advanced aircraft and space technology and level of technical problem solving.

This brought him: to regard the history of cities, developing plans for entirely feasible and practical new ways to live together economically. Utilizing: floating tetrahedronal cities; air-deliverable skyscrapers; submarine islands; sub-dry-surface dwellings; domed-over cities; flyable dwelling machines; and rentable, autonomous-living, black boxes, man may converge and deploy around Earth without its depletion.

So what does Buckminster Fuller say to would-be benefactors, protectors and impellers, called by who-could-say-what to respond beyond themselves?:
Wishes are reasonable, defining the functions of not-as-yet invented but highly desirable technology. It is the as-yet-ungratifiable everyday needs that always inspire inventors. What you want for yourself may never by gratified. What you want for everybody, because you can see the total benefits that can accrue, is usually reasonable and technologically gratifiable, to be realized possibly within your own generation.

There is no joy equal to 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. Activities of this kind are reinspirational to a mystical degree.

To be optimally effective, undertake at outset the most comprehensive task in the most comprehensive and incisively detailed manner.immediately undertake the greatest task with thorough commitment of attention to every detail.We are being taught to assume as closely as possible the viewpoint, the patience, and the competence of God.

Spiritual in a modern, integrated way, "Ever Re-thinking the Lord's Prayer," Fuller dreamed and worked for:
An ever-more-truly omniloving, classless, raceless, human family of Earth's planetarians-all engaged competently in local Universe information-harvesting and problem-solving, in successful support of the 100-percent integrity of eternally regenerative Universe, that being the function World Game assumes occasioned the inclusion of humans and their generalized-principles-discovering-minds in the design of Universe.

In all reality I never "leave home." My backyard has just grown progressively bigger and more globular until now the whole world is my spherical backyard. "Where do you live?" and "What are you?" are progressively less sensible questions. "At present I am a passenger on Spaceship Earth," and "I don't know what I am. I know I am not a category, a highbred specialization: not a thing-a noun. I am not flesh. At eighty-five, I have taken in over a thousand tons of air, food, and water, which temporarily became my flesh and which progressively disassociated from me. You and I seem to be verbs-evolutionary processes. Are we not integral functions of the Universe?"

Realistic, comprehensively responsible, omnisystem-considerate, unselfish thinking on the part of humans does absolutely affect human destiny




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