Back to School: An Interruption to Learning?

Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth is available on-line at the Buckminster Fuller Institute. I think of it as Fall nears and students return to school, though they’ve no doubt been learning all summer, and school may be an interruption to that learning. Fuller explains, “Of course, we are beginning to learn a little in…

Problems, Inventions, and Implications

Inventions are usually a response to a problem. A problem is something that limits or impairs access to needs, wants, or values. An invention solves the problem, granting or improving access. An invention might be a machine, an idea, or a new value. Inventions alter our environment and often present side effects, good or bad,…

Earth-Glass Half Empty or Fuller?: Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth

“Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it,” says Buckminster Fuller, explaining the title of his 1969 book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, in the chapter titled “Spaceship Earth.” The whole idea is a metaphor, comparing the planet to a machine. Is Earth a machine?…

Progress Report: Our Disappearing World

Someday, all of the telephone poles will have vanished. They are gradually, slowly disappearing from view as the wires they hold aloft are placed underground or the signals they link go wireless. Does this mean we are improving? Is the human condition better or worse or the same as we found it yesterday, or better…

On Universe: A Conversation Between Thoreau and Bucky

Thoreau: “What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment!” Fuller: “Man seems unique as the comprehensive comprehender and co-ordinator of local universe affairs.” Thoreau: “Probably I should not consciously and deliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands…

What Should We Keep? The R. Buckminster Fuller Archive

The R. Buckminster Fuller Archive is now maintained at the Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.  Stanford provides access to the archive via the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection. Readers can create an account (free) at the registration page of the Stanford Library site. The Welcome Page of Stanford’s Fuller Collection provides a gloss of…

Transition: From Walled-in with Thoreau to Take-off with Buckminster Fuller

“We can never get enough of nature,” Thoreau says (297), yet we will soon have turned the entire planet into garbage. But, as Slavoj Žižek has said, we must learn to love garbage, for it reflects our imperfections (Examined Life, at 1:04:40). “I desire to speak somewhere without bounds,” Thoreau says, in the Walden chapter…