April 14, 2008
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
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