Sources of Comprehensivist Learning

Redressing The Crises of Ignorance

Buckminster Fuller discussed problems of ignorance in multiple contexts. His most dramatic usage was as a crisis of ignorance referring to our failure to recognize our abundance of solar, tidal, and geothermal energy causing the illusion of an “energy crisis”. In this resource we abstract and interpret several crises of ignorance inspired, in part, by Bucky’s thinking. We start by revisiting Bucky’s idea of mistake mystique and Stuart Firestein’s thinking on ignorance and science. Then we explore Bucky’s essay “The Wellspring of Reality”. Finally, we expand on some visionary ideas from Bucky’s essay “Education Automation”.

This exploration is organized around four critically important crises of ignorance and how we might redress them. This should reveal new ways to see the importance of our comprehensivity, our “wanting to understand all and put everything together” as Bucky explained it in his book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”.

Continue reading →
Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 1 comment

The Value of The Ethnosphere

This resource condenses, contextualizes, and explores a nearly two hour video featuring Wade Davis to exemplify a way to open the world of video lectures to people pursuing collaborative comprehensivism, learning in groups to understand the world ever more extensively and ever more intensively. It examines a poignant topic that reveals an important source of learning for comprehensivists. It further illuminates fundamental issues involved in establishing the new tradition of comprehensivism.

This enthralling Wade Davis presentation is itself a condensation of five 2009 Massey Lectures which were published as the book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”.

Continue reading →
Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 1 comment

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
Continue reading →
Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 4 comments

Humanity’s Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action

In order to undertake the project of becoming a comprehensivist—to come to understand our worlds more and more broadly and deeply—we need to provision a toolkit for the task. What are all the possible approaches that we might mobilize in our quest to make sense of it all and of each other?

“The Design Way” by Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman argues that design, not any of the arts or sciences, was humanity’s first “tradition of inquiry and action“. The “Great Books” and “Great Ideas” collections of Mortimer J. Adler and others, inspired us to prefix the word “great” in front of the phrase from “The Design Way”. We now reformulate our initial question as What are the Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action that humanity has accumulated through the ages? Will this suffice to delimit the range of possible approaches which a comprehensivist might assay?

First, let’s pause to ask: Is it necessary and/or sufficient to encompass all humanity’s traditions with the metaphysics of inquiry and action? I am not at all sure, but since we need some organizing principle, as with all proposed and allegedly “obvious” first principles, we might just accept “inquiry and action” as a good enough working hypothesis of the nature of all humanity’s traditions without too much thought and boldly adopt it.

Continue reading →
Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 0 comments