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:: In short

Critical Path by R. Buckminster Fuller; Adjuvant: Kyoshi Kuromiya. New York: St. Martin's Press; New York; 1981; 471 pages; $16.95
Copyright© 1981 by R. Buckminster Fuller




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Critical Path

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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


Who was R.B.F.? How can one introduce such a multifaceted, world-acclaimed person, without clichés, without boxing him in? With family roots in the Transcendendalist circle of Emerson and Thoreau, "Bucky" (1895-1983), is perhaps most easily recognized for his now ubiquitous geodesic domes, and for his felicitous phrase coinings, like "Spaceship Earth," "One-Town World," and "Synergetics." The diverse roles he played included: author, editor, teacher, philosopher, inventor, engineer, architect, mathematician, cartographer, historian, naval commander, pilot, poet, artist, international governmental consultant, husband, father, grandfather....

Adjoined are some collated reflections in his own words, a testament greatly relevant to spiritual unfolding. They are offered here as an invitation to study Fuller's work more deeply, at first-hand: go read the book for yourself, which has something of interest on virtually every page.

Shall we begin with an especially crystalline moment?
I clearly remember New Year's Eve, December 31, 1899. I was four and a half. I had just received my eyeglasses and was deeply excited at all I could now see. At 11:45 P.M. my father opened a window of our New England home to let in the twentieth century. I remember with what earnest thinking he tried to envision the coming years in which I would live beyond his time.

That child later coming to say:
What I am trying to do is discover why God included humans in Universe, to find out what God permits us progressively to know and preferably to do if we are to continue in Universe;

and counseling:
The overall cosmic scheme is trying to make us a success despite our overwhelming ignorance and fear. The stars are trying to tell humanity to awake, prosper and consciously assume the important cosmic responsibilities for which it was designed.

R.B.F. challenges us:
All the individuals of humanity are looking for the answer to what the little individual can do that can't be done by great nations and great enterprises.

What could you or I do? He suggests each ask him/herself:
What was I thinking about before I was first told, convincingly, I had to 'earn a living' by doing what someone else said I had to do? What do I see needs to be done that nobody else is attending to? Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done. This will bring out the real you.... Try making experiments of anything you conceive and are intensely interested in. Don't be disappointed if something doesn't work. That is what you want to know-the truth about everything.

We may soon discover that all babies are born geniuses and only become degeniused by the erosive effects of unthinkingly maintained false assumptions of the grown-ups, with their conventional ways of "bringing up" and "educating" their young.

He gave his own testimony, exemplifying providential economy as perhaps few have:
Acting entirely on my own initiative, I committed all my productivity potentials toward dealing only with our whole planet Earth and all its resources and cumulative know-how, undertaking to comprehensively protect, support, and advantage all humanity instead of committing my efforts to the exclusive advantages of my dependents, myself, my country, my team.

I adopted such a course formally, realizing no human could authorize nor validate my decision to do so, none to evaluate my work as it proceeded-nor tell me what to do next.

Was not this wholly involved man a true disciple of those:
artist-scientists of history-unscathed, comprehensively effective, largely unidentified? individual articulators who inaugurated whole new eras of physical environmental transformation affecting the lives of all ensuing humanity? who had somehow grown to maturity without losing the full inventory of their innate, intuitive, spontaneously coordinate faculties?

Pushed to the edge as a young man, suicidal and judging himself a discredited throwaway, he dramatically inverted his distress, resolving to commit "egocide" instead:
The great emergencies may finally force political society to "do the right things" for the right reasons. I found my way into so doing, half a century ago, occasioned only by total crises in my life-why should not others?

He saw us:
moving ever deeper into crisis without precedent, adequate to springboard humanity into oblivion or a relatively utopian future, in peril of extinction if each does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, all the truth, and promptly-right now. Cosmically acceptable effective decisions will not be made by leaders single or plural, political or religious, military or mystic, by coercion or mob psychology. The political economic systems and leaders are not in final examination; the integrity of each individual is. On personal integrity hangs humanity's fate. I did not know of any other humans who thought there was anything they personally could do about any such "too big" problems.

Earnestly striving for us Earthians all to see and foresee better was a lifetime vector:
at the age of twelve, challenged by Robert Burns's "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as others see us" (Oh would some power give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us), I sought to "see" myself as others might-and usually did-see me.

For humanity to see correctly the entire surface of the globe the Dymaxion Sky-Ocean Projection was designed, with Earth's geography displayed on one flat surface without any visible distortion in shape or relative size and without any breaks in its continental contour-the whole world surface viewable simultaneously as one-world island of unbroken contour in one-world ocean.

Keenly aware of:
the difficulties of popular comprehension imposed by the invisibility of the frontiers of everyday reality; by specialization as an obstacle to popular apprehension of "what life is about;" by humanity's inability to see more than a very limited number of rates of motion, continually exploring for the invisible power structure behind the visible official head men, for the underlying, hidden causes of individual wars; maintaining omnihistory inventories of world physical and metaphysical resources, of technical trendings and progressively evoluting group and individual needs.

R.B.F. labored that we: recognize formerly invisible patterns and thereby forecast and plan in vastly greater magnitude.

Thence his: giant gossamer, open trusswork Geoscope spheres, miniature Earths-the most accurate global representations of our planet ever realized, in proper interorientation within the theater of local Universe events;

and World Game: exploring ways for anybody and everybody in the human family to enjoy the total Earth without any human interfering with any other, without any gaining advantage at the expense of another.

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