Buckminster Fuller – With His Mind and His Wit – Changed the World

Some of His Claim To Fame

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983 was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

R. Buckminster Fuller

R. Buckminster Fuller

Fuller published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, including the widely known geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres.

Buckminster Fuller was the second president of Mensa from 1974 to 1983.

Guinea Pig B

At age 32, Bucky decided to experiment with himself and see what one person could do for humankind. He named himself Guinea Pig B and committed himself to changing the world.

When he started this self-experiment, he had no reputation (either negative or positive). He had no money and was even unemployed, with a wife and young child to support. The couples first child had just died, leaving only the younger sister. Add to that all the alcohol he was consuming.

It didn’t look good for him, obviously. He was determined to let go of his past, however, and forge ahead with his try. He asked himself, “What can one person do to change the world?” For the following 56years he dedicated himself to that question and its answer.

Architect and More

He became and architect but also an inventor, author and leader. He wrote his books, received 44 honorary degrees, registered 25 patents, and literally changed the way human beings look at themselves. (The above several paragraphs were suggested by Pam Grout in her book entitled: E2: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.)

Geodesic Dome Model

Geodesic Dome Model

Watches and Sleep

Fuller was a frequent flier, often crossing time zones. He famously wore three watches; one for the current zone, one for the zone he had departed, and one for the zone he was going to.

Fuller also noted that a single sheet of newsprint, inserted over a shirt and under a suit jacket, provided completely effective heat insulation during long flights.

He experimented with polyphasic sleep, which he called Dymaxion sleep. In 1943, he told Time Magazine that he had slept only two hours a day for two years. He quit the schedule because it conflicted with his business associates’ sleep habits, but stated that Dymaxion sleep could help the United States win World War II.

Fuller documented his life copiously from 1915 to 1983, approximately 270 feet (82 m) of papers in a collection called the Dymaxion Chronofile. He also kept copies of all incoming and outgoing correspondence. The enormous Fuller Collection is currently housed at Stanford University.

“If somebody kept a very accurate record of a human being, going through the era from the Gay 90s, from a very different kind of world through the turn of the century—as far into the twentieth century as you might live. I decided to make myself a good case history of such a human being and it meant that I could not be judge of what was valid to put in or not. I must put everything in, so I started a very rigorous record.”

In his youth, Fuller experimented with several ways of presenting himself: R. B. Fuller, Buckminster Fuller, but as an adult finally settled

on R. Buckminster Fuller (the “R” stands for Richard), and signed his letters as such. However, he preferred to be addressed as simply “Bucky”.

Varied Legacy

An allotrope of carbon, fullerene—and a particular molecule of that allotrope C60 (buckminsterfullerene or buckyball) has been named after him. The Buckminsterfullerene molecule, which consists of 60 carbon atoms, very closely resembles a spherical version of Fuller’s geodesic dome. The 1996 Nobel prize in chemistry was given to Kroto, Curl, and Smalley for their discovery of the fullerene.

He is quoted in the lyric of “The Tower Of Babble” in the musical “Godspell:” “Man is a complex of patterns and processes.”

Dymaxion House

Dymaxion House

On July 12, 2004, the United States Post Office released a new commemorative stamp honoring R. Buckminster Fuller on the 50th anniversary of his patent for the geodesic dome and by the occasion of his 109th birthday.

Fuller was the subject of two documentary films: The World of Buckminster Fuller (1971) and Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud (1996). Additionally, filmmaker Sam Green and the band collaborated on a 2012 “live documentary” about Fuller, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller.

In June 2008, the Whitney Museum of American Art presented “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe”, the most comprehensive retrospective to date of his work and ideas. The exhibition traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 2009. It presented a combination of models, sketches, and other artifacts, representing six decades of the artist’s integrated approach to housing, transportation, communication, and cartography. It also featured the extensive connections with Chicago from his years spent living, teaching, and working in the city.

In 2009 Noel Murphy wrote and performed the one-man show Buckminster Fuller LIVE! and then later on in 2010 Murphy directed the documentary film, The Last Dymaxion: Buckminster Fuller’s Dream Restored.

In 2012, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted “The Utopian Impulse” – a show about Buckminster Fuller’s influence in the Bay Area. Featured were concepts, inventions and designs for creating “free energy” from natural forces, and for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

How about a Self-Experiment for Yourself?

See what you can do to change the world for the better by dedicating your life that idea and accomplishment. Notice, I did give you a specific direction or assignment. That’s for your to choose. But if Bucky Fuller could start from nothing and do what he did, think what you can do. Get to it.

Additional Source: Wikipedia.org (Please donate to this fine resource.)

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