April 14, 2008


Posted in Education, Philosophy, Science & Technology, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:22 am by randallbutisingh


By: R. Buckminster Fuller 1895-1983 – inventor of the geodesic dome and many futuristic products. The following entry is from his book: “Education Automation – freeing the student to return to his studies”, published in 1962:

I am convinced that humanity is characterized by extraordinary love for its new life and yet has been misinforming its new life to such an extent that the new life is continually at a greater disadvantage than it would be if abandoned in the wilderness by the parents. For an instance of misconception extension there is my own case. I was born in 1895. The airplane was invented when I was nine years old. Up to the time I was nine years old, the idea that man could fly was held to be preposterous, and anybody could tell you so. My own boyhood attempts to make flying machines were considered wasted time. I have lived deeply into the period when flying is no longer impossible, but nonetheless a period in which the supremely ruling social conventions and economic dogma have continued to presuppose a non-flying-man ecology.

My daughter was not born into the kind of a world that I was; so she doesn’t have to struggle to sustain the validity of the particular set of spontaneously-logical conceptions that were pronounced “impossible” in my day, nor need she deal with the seemingly illogical concepts that the older life thought to be “evident”‘ and “obvious” in my day. The new life is continually born into a set of conditions where it is easier for it to acquire more accurate information, generated almost entirely outside of family life and folklore, regarding what is going on in human affairs and in nature in general; and, therefore, the new life has the advantage of much more unshaken intellectual courage with respect to the total experiences than have its as yet living elders who have had to overcome these errors, but who retain deep-rooted delusively-conditioned, subconscious reflexes

I said I started a number of years ago exploring for ways in which the individual could employ his experience analytically to reorganize patterns around him by design of impersonal tools. To be effective, this reorganization must incorporate the latest knowledge gained by man. It also should make it an increasingly facile matter for the new life to apprehend what is going on. It should eliminate the necessity of new life asking questions of people who don’t know the answers, thereby avoiding cluttering up the new minds with bad answers which would soon have to be discarded. I felt that the evolving inventory of information “decontaminated” through competent design might be “piped” right into the environment of the home. Please remember my philosophy is one which had always to be translated into inanimate artifacts. My self-discipline ruled that it would be all right for me to talk after I had translated my philosophy and thoughts into actions and artifacts, but I must never talk about the thoughts until I have developed a physical invention — not a social reform.

That is the philosophy I evolved in 1927 when at thirty-two I began my own thinking. I have been operating since then on the 1927 premises, looking exploratorily for tasks that needed to be done, which would, when done, provide tool complexes that would begin to operate inanimately at higher advantage for the new life. I am the opposite of a reformer; I am what I call a new former. The new form must be spontaneously complimentary to the innate faculties and capabilities of life. I am quite confident that humanity is born with its total intellectual capability already on inventory and that human beings do not add anything to any other human being in the way of faculties and capacities. What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed, so that by the time that most people are mature they have lost use of many of their innate capabilities. My long-time hope is that we may soon begin to realize what we are doing and may alter the “education” process in such a way as only to help the new life to demonstrate some of its very powerful innate capabilities.

— Buckminster Fuller – 1962

Buckminster Fuller - Inventor of the Geodesic Dome

COMMENT by Cyril Bryan:

I have selected the above entry and I do hope that it is informative.

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), the creator of the geodesic dome and many unique products, was truly one of the great thinkers and inventors of the 20th century. His life story and books are truly fascinating, and demonstrates how a university dropout can achieve the pinnacle of success in science using the intuitive processes that are innate in everyone, but which can be dulled by the “education factories” teaching yesterday knowledge.

Many of the concepts and words like Synergy, Holistic, “Paradigm shift”, ” “Thinking outside the box” “Comprehensive thinking”, and research methods used today have their geneses in his writings.

His ideas have influenced architecture, mathematics, philosophy, religion, urban development and design, naturalism, physics, numerology, art and literature, industry and technology. I have been influenced by his life story and philosophy and have read most of his books, the most interesting being his two-volume “Synergetics” – Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking.

I would suggest that readers learn more about his life and works by visiting the following website of the Buckminster Fuller Institute:


— Cyril Bryan – Guest Contributor



  1. Brian Lorne Maged said,

    Enjoy the photo of BUCKY in 1962. I saw him in 75 when I was known as GEO at McGill Science where he recieved an honourary degree (was nick-named after his geodesic domes).
    Today I have evolved my own curfuture
    geometries and have organized my work under the title CURFUE.
    Any more shots of him? This one was taken at the Cinerama theatre which was one of several built in North Amrica. It comes not too long after his St.Louis Climatron.

  2. randallbutisingh said,

    Brian Lorne Maged

    You wrote the following comment on the Randall Butisingh weblog on may 31, 2009. I am the person that wrote that entry as I have always followed the work done by Buckminster Fuller. I am glad that you are also an admirer of that great man.

    There is a Buckminster Fuller Institute and they have a website.: http://www.bfi.org/

    I attach their latest newsletter.

    Kindest regards
    Cyril Bryan

  3. Brian Lorne Maged said,

    Thank you again for your incites into Buckminister Fuller and education. I saw him at McGill University live in an audience probably around the time he recieved his honorary degree there. I had been under the impression that he had done some work in the architecture school. I have never found proof of this but my professor Stuart Wilson had a workshop filled with Buckminister Fuller geodesic dome type geometry models and was fascinated by triangular grids. He even built an A Frame home beside the school out of sheets of plywood. I took his geometry course which went many levels beyond this flat earth construction, that introduced its students to the basic techniques, disciplines, and crafts of construction. In Stuart Wilson’s design course I believe we stepped beyond Bucky’s Universal World of platonic and monotheistic engineered ”centralism”, to the real world of ”Aristotilean heart” and the dynamics of the interactions of real people and ”the rachitectural client”. Stuart ‘taught’-(tot) us things about the real world, not some (tot)alitarian futurian development placed upon it, and how to deal with real communities. He taught us Mont-(real) geometry and the many levels of (top)ological re(a)latinships.
    Stuart Wilson invented a counterpart to surrealism which he called ‘surrationalism’. In his memory I would like to dedicate my
    philosophic thought process by using that name and continue in the tradition as a SURRATIONALIST. To this I have added HETEROTOPIC and FUTUROLOGIST so I am a HETEROTOPIC SURRATIONALIST FUTUROLOGIST.

    I began my life in fascination with the wonderful domes of Fuller, the modules of Safde, and the symbolism and geometric involvement with nature of Arthur Erickson. I was a journalist and columnist and was very much into different persons.
    My dad liked travelling. We visited many clients, the NY fair, Washington and Florida etc., and I saw so many pavilions that my philosophy extended to include a whole universal range of cosmological experiences. Everyone, all things were integrated into my world view and ”Mage Multiversity”.

    As the years rolled by I explored lines. shapes and curves. Some of my first
    drawings as a child were made with the edges of kitchen dishes. I developed an original type of origami based on folded surfaces, and the nick-name I was given in school GEO after Fuller’s geodesic dome which I tried to use to backlight a first year design courtyard model, gave way to a self imposed alias ‘Curfue’ which represented the new folding geometry and ‘the curfuture curvature’ I had invented on my own. The language was also an evolution on the poetic style of word use that Buckminister Fuller was so fond of in many of his books.

    In 1974 we had a dance in first year design and I began to sketch people while dancing. I became known as GEO in Mr. Tondino’s nude model sketching class on Saturday mornings in architecture. In the late 19th century the founder of our school Ernest Capper had had a loft filled with nude sculpture copies by many classic sculptors and he conversed with William French of the Chicago Art Institute by letter. William was the brother of DC French who sculpted the Statue opf Abraham Lincoln in Washington. I discovered his signature on a pamphlet in the Blackader architecture library. There were pictures of similiar cast sculptures on display in Chicago.

    In 1976 after several seasons in Stuart’s class we went to Owl’s head for a skiing excursion. I danced with Frances Bronet and Janet Noble who later married Ian Fairley. I used a style of dance that expanded from my Travolta inspired free style
    and personal sketching type dancing to one which incorporated triangular and other geometric movements probably influenced by the geometric thinking of Bucky and Stuart!
    In later years Frances became a director of the Art and Architecture school of the University of Oregon where she directs her students in architecture to develop forms of associated dance.

    In 1979 my friend Ian who was heavily into plants and growing things in his apartment brought an original chair to the Dome exhibit, a thesis project I had created for the renovation of the Biosphere, the former American pavilion at Expo 67 into an energy pavilion. I placed blue beeswax on the doors into the U4 studio to represent the triangulated dome of Bucky. I also had my the first pink ”lion” beside the door, the first of my 1.8 million examples of lion monuments around the world that formed the basis for a proposed renovation of the Man the Explorer complex at Man and his World, and later exhibits, lectures and shows which I held in various locations across Montreal and Canada.

    Ian was quite an inventor and sold his heated chair outfit to the Westinghouse Corporation. I remember him inventing a flexible joint as well. I percieved him to be in that elite class of imagineers one associates with such futurian types as Norman Bel Gedes or Charles Eames.
    His wife Janet, also a lovely architecture student at that time who worked for ARCOP, was great at preparing soup. I remember her exquisite kitchen filled with all kinds of herbs and spices. She had a daughter who later went to school with my cousin Miriam Diamond’s daughter Sarah in Toronto.
    Miriam is the Canadian environmentalist seen on the David Suzuki show the Nature of Things. Her father Hillel founder of the Science Centre and Shop and the Canadian Rocket Society in the 1940s.

    In the 1980s Buckminister Fuller was seen in a Time Magazine cartoon with his head in the form of his platonic geodesic dome. Prior to recieving the nick-name St. Geodesica by Raymond Jotterand and abreviating that to GEO in art class I had made a rapidograph sketch of myself shown at the centre of a big bang celestial explosion
    as a central theme in an image that carries universal interpretations. I was good with a rapidograph which I had used to ink landscape design construction drawings in Louis Peron’s landscape course at Macdonald College – so good that he hired me to draft renderings for the landscape of the 1976 summer Olympic equestrian events.
    I later became a historian on subjects of architecture and zoological and floral buildings and monuments and a cartoonist specializing in animal subjects, as well as a computer graphist and classic oil painter with interests in portraits, scenes, world fair landscapes, and other symbols.

    The lions and forms that I began to draw with pencil and kitchen dishes merged with the oil cartoons I had painted with water and brush as a child on the indide of dance music record jackets from albums my parents had played prior to and when I was as a child. These had included a yellow cover titled CHA CHA CHA, and another with an image of LOUIS ARMSTRONG, and NAT KING COLE.

    I love the new NBC Dancs Show DANCING WITH THE STORES always get a similiar response to many of the critics and wish I was a judge. I had created a contest with Olympic type silver gold and bronze medals and prizes for young cartoonists at the Barclay tenants association in the 1990s.

    A member of a summer dance group, an aquaintence ”Mia”, once wanted to be a dancer but she worked in design. Her father had been an architect for Steinberg’s Supermarkets and her mother a graphic illustrator.

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