Posts Tagged ‘Buckminster Fuller’

Rethinking our Climate Situation with Bucky Fuller

August 5, 2015

Let’s see, should we continue to destroy the planet so we can keep our jobs, or do we have some re-thinking to do? What good are jobs if we have no food, clean air or water? Really. Really?

Two days ago President Obama made an impassioned plea that we DO SOMETHING toward reversing the situation of climate change. He said, “I don’t want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii or to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn’t do something!” I am about to become a grandmother myself, (color me happy!) and I know the place from which he speaks. The urgency becomes much more desperate and focused when powerful parental instincts to love and protect are ignited. I have been feeling this enormously. What can I do now to assist in this situation for my children, and for their children? It is honest to say that I think about this every day, and with the next generation on its way the instinctual concern becomes even more pressing.

The first target in Obama’s proposal is power plants, which produce more emissions than cars, airplanes and homes combined. If we force them to reduce these emissions on the schedule being outlined, critics who will fight this proposal say, it will cost us jobs and your electric bill will go up. Repeat here my first paragraph. Really? It’s like fighting to keep your bartending job on the Titanic while it is going down.

I think of Einstein’s oft quoted statement that you can’t solve a problem at the same level of thinking that produced the problem in the first place. We have to significantly move to other levels of thinking. Not soon, now.

Many of my readers know that I was raised listening to Buckminster Fuller who was a family friend. Bucky spoke often of his belief that our economics and political system were set up based upon the assumption that planetary resources are limited so therefore we have to fight to get enough for our own. With the advent of new technologies, we now are capable of providing plenty for everyone he states. Our outmoded structures must be dismantled as they are based upon faulty assumptions. We can now focus creativity, time and effort on creating “Livingry” rather than “Weaponry”, Bucky’s words. What if we were to really do so? Can you imagine if the trillions of dollars – and all of that genius, time and energy – that we put into to defense could be directed toward creating an abundant life, opportunity and education for everyone?

One of the points Bucky made well is detailing what it COSTS us to have people working at jobs they don’t want to do just so they can get money, rather than stay home and use their energy and creativity to come up with solutions for what the world really needs. He believed human spontaneity and ingenuity, if given freedom, would be limitless and generous in generating Livingry. I remember in early adolescence hearing him make a statement that I have thought about my entire life: “Rather than spending your life trying to make “cents”, do want makes “sense” instead.” I have put faith in this admonition.

We can think of these times of necessary change as great opportunity to challenge and rethink outmoded systems and logics. Change is scary, certainly, but it can be an enormously creative time if we personally and collectively accept this mission to recreate our future in harmony with Nature on this planet, carefully attending to Her demands, logics and reasoning.

Buckminster Fuller radically rethought our systems of mathematics, which he found to be based upon faulty assumptions, in his book Synergetics. And he radically rethought our systems of living in nearly all of his writing and speaking. Look him up, I pretty much guarantee you’ll be moved and intrigued. Every day of his adult life he asked himself what he could do to benefit the most people, and urged every other human to do the same. Let’s do it.

My greatest desire going forward is to work to create dialogue among humans about how we can think for ourselves, outside of the systems that are telling us what to think, and begin to rethink failing structures for living. We have to think together, not alone. Think with me on this. Let’s share our ideas. Our grandchildren, and all of Earth’s systems, depend on us.

The Job Crisis: What if…?

July 10, 2012

Listening to the news stories and learning about the very scary and sad situation so many Americans find themselves in, without work or ways to support the lives they have always known; and considering the solutions that are being sought, such as encouraging 6th graders to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives so that they can begin training to make a decent livelihood, I wonder. I do not pretend to know anything about money or economics, that is not my area, but I have made a life-long study of human nature. What if, as Buckminster Fuller used to put it, instead of trying to make “cents”, we focus on what makes sense? Making sense, to Bucky, was to endeavor to discover what one person can do that will benefit the largest number of people, rather than just themselves or their families. To me that means discovering the thinking of the heart, rather than that of the head. Maybe thinking with the head is what has gotten us into this mess, and as Einstein says, “You can’t solve a problem at the same level of thinking that produced the problem.”

What if the 6th graders were asked to pay more attention to what is happening in their hearts? What is it that they feel called to do? What do they have a passion for? What will keep them inspired? What can they do that will make a difference in their communities? What can they do that will offer something of value – not just monetary value – to the world itself?

What if prosperity follows that rule instead of the rules involved in chasing a dollar? Our system is collapsing, maybe it is a good time to deeply re-evaluate the paradigm and assumptions under which we have been operating.

Sense and Cents

October 11, 2011

Many times I mention, and always will, the impact that the great heart thinker Buckminster Fuller has had upon my life. Somehow, as an impressionable pre-teen, I committed myself to the simple truths in what he articulated and understood about life. The complex truths I leave to others, with much gratitude that they are able to comprehend and carry them forward. I only can tell and live by the most simple ones.

One of those that I heard then and have innocently, maybe naively lived by is that “You do what make sense, and cents will follow.” Don’t worry about money. When you do what makes sense in your heart, money will find you and support that. I watched him, that is how he moved. Can I imagine him ever doing one single thing because a dollar was behind it? No. Not ever. He invested his own life energy if it made sense to his heart. His heart, especially beginning with a life-changing crisis/revelation at age 27,  was focused upon figuring out how one individual could help the most amount of people.

What is a girl to do who learns this at an early age from a trusted elder in our particular social and economic environment? If I die tomorrow, I can say I have lived the way Bucky advised. With commitment. And Life has supported me as Bucky said that it would. Generating trust that life will continue to do this is a daily commitment, it is my path.

Tonight I saw a person in my dream group who at a young age is being addressed by enormous archetypal forces show powerful evidence that she is up to the challenges of those forces. Her dreams are telling her so. Life has been confusing her and trying to obfuscate what her spirit knows, but the dream reinforced her deepest intentions and made it clear. It gave her a path to follow. I was here to help her see that about her own dream, this pure product of nature and of psyche. In these moments, my life makes sense. Cents will surely follow and support the work. I commit my faith to this. Thank you Bucky.

May the legacy of this primordial wisdom pass onto this young person, and to all now, as our powerful collective anarchist interior natures now confront Wall Street.  People know. What they instinctively know can’t be suppressed forever. Nature won’t allow it. The collective dream is taking hold. I support it.

Youth and Healing the Planet

July 24, 2011

For the last several days thoughts keep occurring to me about Youth, youth itself, as a vital power. More and more the direction culture is heading is to bring children into the world and immediately start their training for adulthood, as if youth is worth little more than providing time for such training. The intention to prepare babies to receive a strong education and a means for entering our social, political and economic structures begins practically before conception. Children know that, their own focus begins to go in that direction, sometimes largely bypassing the immense wisdom and glory of who they are, exactly as they are, in those childhood moments.  Surviving in the set up and pleasing adults gets most of the attention.

I know I quote Buckminster Fuller often, as it seems there is something he said on nearly every subject that illuminates it for me. He often mentioned the error in education that a child like himself, with a mind full of creative thoughts and ideas, was constantly told to “shut up and listen. It doesn’t matter what you think, listen to what I am telling you.” It makes me hurt every time I think about it.

I studied and teach the Dialogue method developed by physicist David Bohm. I have mostly been able to utilize this training only with adults, though I was thrilled to teach it in a college classroom for some years. Continually, however, I imagine how wonderful it would be if I could get 2nd graders talking together in intentional dialogue, learning to listen to each other thoughtfully, finding voice for their own perceptions and ideas,  feeling  respected and heard by each other as well as their teachers. Often any of us never tell a thought or impression until there is a context, an opening to find words for it. When it is spoken, that is true creation. As Bohm puts it something that was in the implicate order moves into the explicate order and that changes everything, even our physics.

I was a hippie child of the 60’s and 70’s during the years that I got to hang out with Bucky Fuller since he was a friend of my father’s. Bucky’s posture at that time regarding that puzzling and rebellious generation was “Let them talk! Listen to them! All of your corporate and political ideals are tragically oppressing and ruining our world. These kids don’t want to follow you there!” It took a lot of heat off those in our generation who were around him, and allowed us to listen to ourselves and each other differently. The words I just attributed to Bucky were my iteration of his message, but here are some of his own words from It Came to Pass-Not to Stay:

The top-gun, self-serving power structure
Also claims outright ownership
Of the lives of all those born
Within their sovereignly claimed
Geographical bounds
And can forfeit their citizens’ lives
In their official warfaring,
Which of psychological necessity
Is always waged in terms
Of moral rectitude
While overtly protecting and fostering their special self-interests.

To keep the conquered
Controllably disintegrated
And fearfully dependent
“They” also foster perpetuation or increase
Of religious, ethnic, linguistic,
And skin-color differentiations
As obvious conditioned-reflex exploitabilities.

Special-interest sovereignity will always
Attempt to monopolize and control
All strategic information (intelligence),
Thus to keep the divided specializing world
Innocently controlled by its propaganda
And dependent exclusively upon its dictum.

Youth has discovered all this
And is countering with comprehensivity and synergy.
Youth will win overwhelmingly
For truth
Is eternally regenerative
In youth.
Youth’s love
Embracingly integrates
Successfully frustrates
And holds together,
Often unwittingly,
All that hate, fear and selfishness
Attempt to disintegrate.

Thank you Bucky. What a mind, what a man, what a heart.

Watching C-Span the other night, proceedings in the British Parliament showed their government all stirred up over the Rupert Murdoch scandal. I looked at the room full of characters trying to sort the problem out and noticed that they mostly look to be in their 50’s and over, possibly there are a few in their 40’s.

And then I see news clips about the kids who are the new billionaires because of social media break-throughs they have designed, genius ideas that hook the world up differently. I find it captivating the that corporate guys are saying to the 25-year-olds “We’ll give you 6 billion dollars for this,” and the kids are saying “Nope, it’s not for sale.”

What if Parliament, government, corporations, every organization had a think-tank that only the really young could be involved in? Rather than wait for those minds to come up through the system so that by the time they are 40 their spirits are crushed, they are dumbed down, bummed out, burned out and medicated – what if we intentionally tap the resource of our youth? It guarantees unmatched energy, enthusiasm, creativity and raw power.  Why is this resource not more involved?

I am turning into an elder, now 60, and increasingly notice how irrelevant elders become in our culture, partly because everything is moving so fast. Our brains got formed before all of these challenges. There are certain things that only an elder with life experience can teach you. And there are other things that only the youth, born into the changing world, can teach us. We have to work together. Maybe mid-life crises wouldn’t be so extreme if more of the responsibility were spread out across the generations.

Surely there is a way to figure this out. Let’s ask a young person.

Parallel Universes

January 1, 2011

I enjoyed immensely seeing Brian Greene, the string theory scientist guy, on Stephen Colbert’s show. He says that math now can prove the possibility of parallel universes occurring at the same time as this one. He also said that until we have evidence of those universes the theory remains only a possibility, math has proven it is possible.

I am not a scientist and, obviously to anyone who knows me, not that concerned about the scientific method in my own explorations of reality and consciousness, but I would love to ask Brian Greene or someone with a beautiful mind like his what scientists would consider hard evidence of parallel universes. Where do they file the multi-layered stories of the dead communicating with the living, or those of the many cultures, such as the Australian aborigines, who walk in and out of the dreamtime landscapes whether awake or asleep? Since the beginning of known human history reports of experience and visions of other dimensions, seeing through the veils of this time-space continuum, have been recorded with astonishing similarities and coincidences of detail. I’m guessing they have sound ideas about why these don’t qualify as parallel universes, but I would love to hear the dialogue. These things surely point to more than we can detect with instruments and math, wouldn’t they? What about our own sensing capabilities – the cells, the genes, the mind, the heart? Don’t they count as well?

Buckminster Fuller said he believed we should rely always and only on our experience. The Celts used to say the same. Never take someone else’s word for something you haven’t yet experienced to be true. That might put priests and scientists out of business unnecessarily, but I do think there is something important being said in that.

My senses and experiences tell me there are parallel universes and that string theory is correct. I’m just saying so. I love that mathematicians are articulating and postulating it in their way. It’s glorious.

He Could Have Saved the World

October 19, 2010

Last night was the last night of a very interesting and dynamic conference I attended and assisted with, Journey Conferences. Speakers Robert Moore, Muriel McMahon, John Martin and Benig Mauger among others thrilled and killed with their wisdom, experience, humanness and timely work; and the community was fascinating and rich.

A new friend I met there, Chris Moors, played music through the various gathering times, all of it original. Last night when everyone was tired and things were winding down, I asked if he would play some of his piano tunes, knowing from conversation that he had some that he preferred to present on piano, but the piano was in another room from the receptions and gatherings where he played. He agreed, and pulled out his book volumes of songs he has written, thumbing through them to find tunes to play. He ran into one that he thought I might be interested in. From an earlier conversation he knew that I had grown up with Buckminster Fuller who was a friend of my father’s, who had been a mentor for me.

Chris had written a song about Buckminster Fuller. I cried as I heard it because I could almost see Bucky’s expression as if he were right there hearing it – glad, and sad. The song seemed to voice a scary and curious prophecy. Its chorus includes the words, “He could have saved the world.”

The last time I talked to Bucky was at a restaurant in Santa Monica, California. I sat directly across from him at a long table. He was distracted and seemed upset. I asked him if he was alright. He told me, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it.” I will never forget the look of worry in his eyes. As I asked what he meant, he explained that he was talking about we humans as a species. We weren’t collectively making the right decisions or going in a direction that would preserve human life on this planet. I was looking into his worrying eyes, me a 20-something-year-old peering into the mind of the man who had been my teacher/philosopher/mentor since an early age. He didn’t know if we were going to make it. That night surely set my course in life. I could not help taking in his concern.

Soon after, Bucky died. Life as I witnessed it moved on toward modernity like a freight train. I tried to figure out how to live with what I knew and continued to observe. I heard voices crying in the wilderness and tuned in to as many as I could – Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Daniel Martin and others – choosing my steps forward with all of this in mind. I have become a voice literally crying in wilderness.

When I heard this song last night, I felt connection, not that I haven’t felt it before, but this was profound. Bucky is so loved, and IS heard. The song’s lyrics shattered my heart with their clarity, simplicity, profundity and beauty, along with the love and sincerity of its composer. I felt Bucky’s spirit like a shining ghost sitting right there with us, and it seemed like I was feeling his joy at hearing the song.

I was, however, a little bit concerned because the song felt like a prophecy. “He could have (my emphases) saved the world,” the chorus states. Bucky saw clearly where we were headed. We are, as a species, are like the captains of the Titanic, considering whether to steer the ship away from the iceberg that will sink us, or not. Will we do it?

Buckminster Fuller and the Dymaxion Car

October 8, 2010

Tonight I got a link from a friend telling me that a British man has just re-built Buckminster Fuller’s design for a Dymaxion Car. Bucky was a scientist, philospher and seer who died in the early 1980’s. He was a friend of my father’s and one of the most important influences on my thinking and how I have set the sails for my life’s course. Since listening to his passions and ideas as a child, teenager and young adult, and seeing how all of his forward thinking has come true and proved itself to me my whole life, I have been moved and also saddened by the human condition that takes so long to catch on. He said, I remember it clearly, that it would take 50 years before people would start waking up to what he was saying – much of it about conservation, saving our resources, designing so that we can do more with less, eliminating poverty. But he also knew the way we were going we didn’t have 50 years to wait. I know personally that he died worrying about that.

I had a dream a couple of years ago about climbing inside a car, and inside it was a huge environment. The dream was a big dream for to me, there was a lot more to it. Tonight I saw the video link that my friend sent and a couple of others about the Dymaxion car that Bucky designed, and I realized – “That is the car I rode inside in my dream!” The Dymaxion car Bucky designed would accomodate several times the number of passengers of a normal car, could move around in space efficiently, and took less than half the amount of fuel that a normal car at the time.

Catching on is hard to do, but I hope we can do it. Try this link. And by the way, when the video shows who is in the back seat – that is Amelia Earhart, a close friend and great fan of Bucky’s.

Universe as a System

September 18, 2010

I ran into these words by Buckminster Fuller a few days ago, and wish I could ask him to explicate them more on the subject of death.

“You cannot get out of Universe. Universe is a system… Universe is a a scenario. You are always in Universe. You can only get out of systems.”  (Synergetics, p. 85)

If you can’t get out of universe, then where to we go when we die? People think they have answers for this, but do they?

Pushing Thinking

April 29, 2010

As the fates and muses work things out, after writing about thought and thinking for the last couple of days, my next movie in from Netflix was Little Ashes, which I saw yesterday. It was the filmmaker’s musings on the possibly erotic relationship between Salvador Dali and Federico Garcia Lorca. I liked the film for what it was, and it was surely a study in what I have been musing about. Both of these great artists were passionate about using their art to challenge the thinking of the times. And certainly any eroticism that was felt between them was denied open expression by the fact that same-sex relationships were illegal. Oscar Wilde served prison time for it. The thinking of the times put their passions in a prison.

I took classes at the University of Madrid in 1972. One was a class in Spanish poetry. I remember being profoundly moved by Lorca’s writings. I wish I were up on the language enough to read his writing again without translation. He used his poetry to open eyes and hearts to the situation of the working class and as a weapon against Fascism; and he paid the highest price one can pay for his efforts.

In some sense this is a story of systems of thought clashing, with countless people being tragically crushed under the wheels of it. It begs the questions: What is the nature of thought? What is the reality in it that people fight and die for? We change our thinking from day to day, year to year and stage of life to stage of life. Thought isn’t worth killing for.

Dali used his art differently than Lorca. It seemed he mostly just for its own sake he wanted to challenge any system of thought, anything that was held in too much reverence and as many rules of propriety as possible. I find it fascinating that the Surrealists conducted a trial and expelled him from their movement for not being willing to use his art for political ends. He certainly lived his life and thought about art differently than his friend Lorca.

Pushing boundaries of thought – when, by what means, with what motivation, in service to what – these are questions we all have to grapple with. Or do we? I don’t think indigenous people grappled with these questions. I don’t think thought was such a problem for them. The problem evolved as we started thinking so much. I think we have a lot of thinking about thought to do; and as Buckminster Fuller said, a lot of “unthinking” to do.


April 9, 2010

I happened to catch a little bit of a Dateline show aired tonight about young teens who burglarized the homes of young Hollywood celebrities. The robbers wanted to wear their clothes, shoes, jewelry and carry their bags. I lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, so I know the aura of celebrity that surrounds it. Hardly anyone can resist telling the story about who stood behind us in line at a coffee shop or sat next to us at a restaurant. It is a strange and irresistible fascination.

I thought of these kids going into the homes of the objects of their fascination to try to get for themselves some reflected glory by now wearing what was taken from there. These kids are fascinated with celebrity, but aren’t we all fascinated with something? In the end is this so different from people who go to Rome, or Egypt or Greece or Jerusalem and bring something back? Breaking and entering is obviously a crime, but maybe a story like this could cause us to stop and think about what is reflected back to the culture by it, to ask how we helped create the problem for these  kids, rather than asking them to bear the full brunt of it.

I am thinking of the oft-quoted words of Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech,  “Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” I believe that in general we are a culture in fear of inadequacy, imagining that someone else besides ourself might be adequate. We are raised to idealize religious, , artistic, philosophical, historical and political heroes as though they carry something we do not.

I witnessed one of my own heroes, Buckminster Fuller many times in a situation in which he sat with a room full of adoring people ready to hang on his every word. I believe in each case he would begin by saying something like: “You imagine that I have a skill, intelligence or aptitude beyond yours but I assure you that I am a very average human being. Every single one of you can achieve what I have achieved or greater by working to do so.” He was so uncomfortable with people idealizing him, not because of a humility but because it was the absolute opposite of, and destructive to, his message.

What if we listened to our toddlers and first-graders as if they were wise and have something to teach us? What if we stopped projecting wisdom and greatness outside of ourselves and started recognizing inherent value in absolutely every single human? We might teach the next generation to explore and bring out the gifts in their own natures rather than imagine that modeling themselves after someone else will make them valuable and worthy. We are guilty by association with these poor Hollywood thieves whenever we ignore our own unique value and try to wear the garment of any learned idea about who we should be.