Get inspired by Buckminster Fuller's quotes about education, rebellious youth, & a better media

We found the above meme on one of our networks this week, with the accompanying phrase: “here comes the #ExtinctionRebellion...”, followed by another quote from Fuller: “The evolution of consciousness cannot be achieved by applying the scientific method. It is an individual awakening achieved through internal reflection.”

Buckminster Fuller - polymath, inventor of the geodesic dome - lurks throughout the years of postings on this site (see archive), primarily from his quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. Very much our guiding philosophy here on A/UK, as we map and initiate alternatives to a broken politics.

So we were happy to find a post by the brilliant Maria Popova on her Brain Pickings blog, which simply turfs up some of the choicest Bucky quotes (taken from his introduction to his meisterwerk, the 1000 page Synergetics - PDF here).

For example, on the dangers of being too specialised in your knowledge:

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communication to be crisply brief.

Advancing science has now discovered that all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialization, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability. Thus the specialist’s brief for pinpointing brevity is dubious.

In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals.

It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.

….Specialization tends to shut off the wide-band tuning searches and thus to preclude further discovery.

Another on making sure you know the difference between between money-work and purpose, and how winner-takes-all economic success undercuts itself:

It is also mistakenly assumed that employment is the only means by which humans can earn the right to live, for politicians have yet to discover how much wealth is available for distribution. All this is rationalized on the now scientifically discredited premise that there can never be enough life support for all. Thus humanity’s specialization leads only toward warring and such devastating tools, both, visible and invisible, as ultimately to destroy all Earthians.

It is eminently feasible not only to provide full life support for all humans but also to permit all humans’ individual enjoyment of all the Earth without anyone profiting at the expense of another and without any individuals interfering with others.

Fuller also seems to have anticipated how toxic our news media would become:

Today’s news consists of aggregates of fragments. Anyone who has taken part in any event that has subsequently appeared in the news is aware of the gross disparity between the actual and the reported events.

We also learn frequently of prefabricated and prevaricated events of a complex nature purportedly undertaken for the purposes either of suppressing or rigging the news, which in turn perverts humanity’s tactical information resources. All history becomes suspect.

Probably our most polluted resource is the tactical information to which humanity spontaneously reflexes.

And Bucky even anticipates Greta Thunberg, school strikes for climate crisis, and the youthful committments to XR:

The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity…

Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday.

They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe.

And whence will come the wealth with which we may undertake to lead world-man into his new and validly hopeful life? From the wealth of the minds of world-man — whence comes all wealth. Only mind can discover how to do so much with so little as forever to be able to sustain and physically satisfy all humanity.

He’s an idealist, let’s give Bucky that… But we probably need that idealism about being decent steerers of Spaceship Earth more than ever before (and here was Fuller’s “operating manual”).