Thursday, March 31, 2011
Richrd Buckminster Fuller remains the most fascinating member of the World War I generation. A business failure and grieving father at 32, he prepared to drown himself. It came to him that he was the product of the things he learned from everyone he knew, and from a chain of people going back to humanity's beginning, so his life was not his own to throw away. Since he had been planning to die, Fuller -- or "Bucky" as he liked to be called -- decided to comit "egocide" instead, and live dedicated to the desires of the universe and the betterment of all people.
For Bucky, humanity was going through its final exam, pass-or-fail, utopia or oblivion. He decided that it would be easier to reform the environment than people, who -- mistakenly -- believe that the world holds too few resources to let us all survive peacefully. His career was one of invention, and he died holding twenty-eight patents for devices to house and serve us better than ever, using less material and energy. He also published over thirty books. Fuller's inventions include a new geometry, a high-mileage-for-its-time car which could turn 360 degrees inside its own radius, and the geodesic dome, a structure which can cover unlimited area without any internal columns or load-bearing walls.
Toward the end of a long, productive life, Buckminster Fuller called us "four billion billionaires who are entirely unaware of their good fortune."