Buckminster Fuller

The Actions and Legacies of a Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Scientist

Legacies: Ideology

Whatever I do, once done, I leave it alone. Society comes along in due course and needs what I have done. By then, I'd better be on to something else. It is absolutely fundamental for me to work and design myself out of business.
R. Buckminster Fuller

Fuller's Nine Chains to the Moon
Fuller's Nine Chains to the Moon

Fuller applied practical science in his work. He used Einstein's formula E=MC2 in his book Nine Chains to the Moon. Fuller theorized how the life of his fictitious character, Mrs. Murphy, would change if the Theory of Relativity was proven true. At first, Fuller's book was rejected. Einstein initially believed only ten people comprehended his theory but after meeting Fuller in New York, Einstein approved of Fuller's book. He said, "... young man, this chapter on Mrs. Murphy – you amaze me. I cannot myself conceive of anything I have done ever having the slightest practical application".

Fuller defined wealth as the knowledge and resources needed to live as long as possible. One application is the ever-increasing freshwater shortage. Fuller supported ocean desalinization as needed for more freshwater. "When you come to the economists, they say, 'Well, it costs four cents more a thousand gallons to desalinate than to put pipes up here in the mountains.' But that's the wrong way to look at it. ... What's it going to cost you when you don't have the water? So everyone must push, push, push for the long-distance design revolution."

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Fuller on machinery

"Human integrity is the uncompromising courage of self determining whether or not to take initiatives, support or cooperate with others in accord with 'All the truth and nothing but the truth' as it is conceived by the divine mind always available in each individual. Whether humanity is to continue and comprehensively prosper on Spaceship Earth depends entirely on the integrity of the human individuals and not on the political and economic systems."

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Fuller on politics

Bucky's lifelong best friend and sculptor Isamu Noguchi said,

"Bucky was in a continuous state of dialectic creativity, giving talks in any situation before any kind of audience ... He would talk to me as though to a throng; walking and talking everywhere – over the Brooklyn Bridge, over innumerable cups of coffee. Bucky drank everything – tea, coffee, liquor – with equal gusto and would often be in a state of wide-awake euphoria for three days straight. Drink did not seem to affect him otherwise. He used to drink like a fish. He had become a God-possessed man, like a Messiah of ideas. He was a prophet of things to come. Bucky didn't take care of himself, but he had amazing strength. He often went without sleep for several days, and he didn't always eat either. Bucky's zest for life is part and parcel of his creativity. However, he has the capacity and resolution to come to grips in unknown hours and retreats of the mind to fathom new secrets for the universe."

Fuller was criticized for his alcohol use, and gave up alcohol immediately to preserve his reputation. "I found that when I talked about an invention and I had been drinking, they'd say, 'This guy is plastered.' I found that in order to gain credibility I would have to give up drinking. So, chop! And it really was a great relief."


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