Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bucky Fuller Revisited

I ran across an article in last Sunday's New York Times about everyones favorite cold war era stalwart visionary inventor, engineer, author, and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller.

I remember being quite impressed with this man's writings. While I was in college, I read his Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth and Critical Path books. He introduced the concepts of synergetics and tensegrity to me through these writings. A prolific inventor and thinker, he held 28 patents and was great at reframing complex concepts in new and intriguing ways. People are verbs more than they are nouns. The universe is that "omni-interaccommodative, nonsimultaneous, and only partially overlapping, omni-intertransforming, self-regenerating scenario." To that affect, he was also prolific at coining new terms such as "livingry" and "dymaxion." I was so influenced by this man's work that I even named my startup company Dynamical Software, Inc. as a sort of reverent nod to this man.

Like almost any modern example of good journalism, the New York Times article references a recent event and presents a mild expose. The recent event is an upcoming exhibit (June 26, 2008 through September 21, 2008) of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The expose is a debunking of his "suicide story" in which he claims that, after dropping out of college, failing at business, and becoming a heavy drinker, he seriously considered suicide. Just as he is on the precipice of that dark commitment, he receives an epiphany which causes him to devote his life to the betterment of mankind as a sort of cosmic experiment. Based on research at Stanford University and an upcoming book called "Reassessing R. Buckminster Fuller," the New York Times counter-claims this famous suicide story to be a myth created by Bucky himself. This research does assert that he did have a nervous breakdown after an extra-marital affair, with a women half his age, fell apart.

1 comment:

cjfsyntropy said...

Given your interest and understanding of Bucky's work, you might be interested in the Synergetics Collaborative which is working to build upon Bucky's Synergetics with Workshops, Symposia, Seminars and other events to bring interested participants together.