Comprehensive Thinking

Chronofiles: Data Mining Your Life for Comprehensive Thinking

Many of Bucky’s essays (“Bucky” is the affectionate name for Buckminster Fuller) provide a window through which we may further glimpse his approach to comprehensive thinking. To iterate more deeply into his comprehensive thinking this resource examines Bucky’s short 5-page essay “Man With A Chronofile” published on 1 April 1967 in “Saturday Review”. We recommend you read that essay for context before continuing.

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The Whole Shebang: “to understand all and put everything together”

The featured quote in the title comes from Buckminster Fuller’s 1969 book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”. When we previously explored this book in the resource The Comprehensive Thinking of R. Buckminster Fuller, we described this quote as “the creed of the comprehensivist”. This resource will interpret the quote to identify issues of wholeness in comprehensive inquiry and action.

To gain insights into the wholeness implicit in our highlighted quote, we will consider three additional resources: Buckminster Fuller’s “Synergetics”, Jan Zwicky’s summary of the gestalt theory of learning in “The Experience of Meaning”, and “The Design Way” by Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman which has an extensive chapter on “The Whole”. This will give us an adequate first-cut attempt at indicating the nature and importance of wholeness in comprehensive exploration.

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Shifting Perspectives and Representing The Truth

In an exquisite video presentation Tricia Wang explains the benefits of perspective shifting to better represent the truths of our worlds and its peoples:

This resource will situate Wang’s powerful and important ideas in the context of our Art of Comprehensivity, our learning practices for building an ever more extensive, ever more intensive, and ever more integrated understanding of our worlds and its peoples.

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The Comprehensive Thinking of R. Buckminster Fuller

Collaborative comprehensivism is participating in groups to incrementally expand the breadth and depth of everyone’s understanding. An effective tool for its practice is exploring ideas from a book. Some participants may be unable to read the book. To provide them with background and to focus on the key passages to be explored at a particular event, it can be helpful to have a brief for the book. Ideally, the brief will highlight questions to guide and spur a group exploration.

To support book-based events with an example, this resource includes a synopsis of R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1969 book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”. This brief is just one of many possible condensations of the book. It focuses on some of the key ideas that inspired the “Collaborating for Comprehensivism” initiative.

It is common to refer to the author of “Operating Manual” as “Bucky”. To read the book, you can find a copy from a bookseller, or read a 44 page PDF at http://designsciencelab.com/resources/OperatingManual_BF.pdf, or read a web-based copy at https://web.archive.org/web/20041028062223/http://www.futurehi.net/docs/OperatingManual.html. Below there is section offering advice for readers of the book.

"Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth" by R. Buckminster Fuller
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