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3. Fuller's Ideas About Human Society: Critical Path

Fuller was interested and made contributions on a wide range of issues in the area academics call the ``social sciences''. Much of this work addressed economics. He published several studies of industrial trends. There was the famous 1940 issue of Fortune magazine which he inspired. In the 1960s the Design Science Decade Documents were published. Fuller advocated the principle of ``ephemeralization'' or doing ``more with less.'' Fuller founded the world game which explores the task of making the world work for 100% of humanity. His major publications in this area are Critical Path and Grunch of Giants wherein he also gives a unique perspective of the history of humans on Earth.

3.1 What is the Design Science Revolution?

The ``Design Science Revolution'' references Fuller's program of applying the principles of science to solving the problems of humanity in an aggressive, anticipatory and comprehensive manner. The principle of ephemeralization shows we can accomplish more and more functionality with less and less energy, material and time investment, ``we are now able to do so much with so little that we can provide for the basic needs of 100% of humanity without disadvantaging anyone.'' In contradistinction his ``archenemy,'' Obnoxico Inc., which trys to make money out of thin air (or rocks) with little or no appreciable benefit to humankind. Fuller suggests that by taking the design principles of Universe (as described in Synergetics and elsewhere) and our consciously developed values, we can emerge from the present-day ``dark ages'' and prosper like never before in history.

Pat Salsbury has an excellent web page describing Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science.

When will the Design Science Revolution begin?

[From Chris Fearnley] The Design Science Revolution has already begun

During the 1980s, under the smoke screen of republican conservatism conveniently provided by the mass media, large numbers of individuals and groups have begun to organize the resources available to them to understand the world and begin the process of working for 100% of humanity. Here are some events that suggest that Earth may be entering the design science revolution as predicted by Buckminster Fuller: World Game grew to be an Institute, World Resources Institute was formed (c. 1982), The World Watch Institute began publishing a yearly State of the World Report, home computing explodes in numbers and quality and became ubiquitous, BBSing becomes an institution for intercommunication,

[From Unknown]

Some of my colleagues have been doing realtime strategizing where NEWIDEA=``global design science revolution.'' Fuller's hypothesis was that lag times in social acceptance of new artifacts is a function of a natural gestation rate associated with different technological arenas e.g. novelty electronics proceed from drawing boards to end-users in a matter of years, whereas adoption of fundamental changes in household architecture is measured in decades. Obviously changes occur along different scales (geologic thru atomic). Some NEWIDEAs come with glacial-paced agendas that no amount of cleverness in strategy will accelerate beyond a top limit.

[From Kirby Urner]

Storyboarding for Design Science Drama: Some Pro-Net Propaganda by Kirby Urner June 12, 1994

In Grunch of Giants, Bucky Fuller cast the community of networkers in the role of David versus the supranational corporate Goliath. As in any good tale, the archetypal opposition (compression) provides a foreground plot against a contextual background of eternal principles (tension). Behind the scenes we ever rediscover what teachers call ``the unity of opposites.'' David and Goliath are two aspects of the same psyche. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.

The Internet is abuzz with rumors of huge conglomerates positioning for an all-out invasion. The funky, free and informal usefulness of a shared, non-hierarchical, decentralized, self-monitoring culture will be conquered by a culture of greed and aggressiveness. The world of commercial television, which has already invaded public schools, will storm into our peaceable kingdom to haul us as slaves in chains before our new corporate masters. We shall once again be cast as consumers of dumbed down infotainment carefully purged any content that might offend the sponsors. Everything will cost, nothing will be reusable or recopyable, and stories of these carefree days will be as legends in the ears of our children. The evil Grunch will have won.

In Bucky's tale, the now omnipresent computer is on the side of Good. The global financial number cruncher keeps crunching away and crunching away and always comes up with the same surprising answer: we humans now, today, have the requisite physical and metaphysical assets in inventory to stage a great world play about the coming of age of our species. Late night religious broadcasting of the hopeless poverty in our world, ever in need of our guilt-derived dollars, might be supplanted by a new kind of program about actually ending death by starvation -- forever. Props in our new world dramas: domes hanging from helicopters; graphical dymaxion map displays; computer monitors aglow with designs for livingry, ready for distribution on a massive scale, instead of killingry, (already massively distributed).

What Bucky hoped is that our youthful, globally networked generation, so full of promise, would stand up to the onrushing Goliath. He encouraged us to look at lawyer-capitalism's (LAWCAP's) shareholder enterprises as ghost ships on automatic pilot, the great pirates who once steered them having long ago passed from the scene. Crews of bewildered and superstitious bureaucrats still go through the motions, reciting their mindless mantras passed on as wisdom. But LAWCAP's big picture accounts, steeped in Dark Ages obfuscation and contrived to sound paternal and profound, are becoming less and less a source of comfort in these uncharted waters. The crew members are beginning to awaken to the reality of their situation. They cling to our nets for survival.

Bucky knew the limited liability, legally irresponsible, soulless creatures of LAWCAP's accounting hadn't the humanity nor intelligence to navigate successfully in cyberspace. LAWCAP reflexes are all out of synch with what world game positions now need filling. The you-or-me never-enough-for-both great global tragedy is swiftly losing market share. Hollywood-style media extravaganzas, now in storyboard phase, need a new kind of star. Newscasters and media pundits with no knowledge of designer dwellings built for multimedia, no grasp of grand strategy maps minus their political overlays, no sense of what it means to surf freely through the Net, have a lot of homework ahead of them.

Our time is now. We, the global networkers, the world game players of today, have inherited the experimental prototype community of tomorrow. A giant BuckyBall stands at the center of Disney's EPCOT, Grunch's central shrine. The logo-language of corporate heraldry is destined to transform in the context of this world around web, a hypertext tapestry into which all of our metaphysical assets will be interwoven. Employing the know-how wealth amassed for us by our brilliant and courageous forbearers, we will make of this earth what the great pirates of old never dared wish for, except maybe in their most private prayers: a world in which our highest human values are consistent with the roles we are destined to play -- a great tragedy no longer. Let the show begin!

What about increased unemployment from DSR and automation innovations?

[Ross Keatinge's question and my reply]

> I recently read an article in an Australian Electronics
> magazine where the author is discussing unemployment,
> redundancies etc and the general topic of technology doing the
> work previously done by people.
> Like the author of this article, I am very much in favour of
> using technology to do more with less but am struggling to
> come up with an answer to the question of just what DOES
> happen to the factory worker replaced by a robot or the office
> clerk replaced by a computer?

I think it depends upon what you think the purpose of employment is. I think the goal of a job is to eliminate that job. Therefore, from my perspective unemployment is a virtue and the economy had better learn to appreciate and value it. We need to solve this problem quickly because in the current economy Fuller's profesy of ``more with less'' is being conducted with a vengeance: even highly skilled people are finding their jobs and departments eliminated at very high frequencies.

But what is the individual to do in an economy that obeys Fuller's laws of empheralization, but does not (at this point) support the ``victims'' of the modern economy. I think this is where another Fuller principle comes in: What is the purpose of humans in Universe? ``To gather information and to solve problems.'' So it would behoove the individual to aggressively take up the task of becoming a general problem-solver (say during your next period of unemployment <grin>). Already it is clear the the economy does not really sport skills or experience; it seems that only can-do problem-solving is rewarded. OK, but what happens when our problem-solver finishes their job? Well, they go onto solve even more difficult problems. I think Fuller called this utopia. (Though the displaced factory worker or office clerk may disagree. It is sad but the Universe seems to work the way it works and it does not seem to support certain jobs or skills.)

[From Kirby Urner]

I think the missing puzzle piece vis-a-vis automation and unemployment in Fuller's thinking is in Education Automation.

The goal is not to render humans useless but to free them to perform metaphysical tasks with their minds. Setting up an economics to give people ``tenure'' in a more metaphysically driven economy does not seem all that far-fetched, given the information superhighway and all that rot.

Digital media are inherently copiable without limit, giving everyone access to tremendous cultural riches. But making it expensive by making it scarce is still the only way we can figure to ``earn a living.'' So the FBI will continue warning us not to copy videos etc. But, in principle, we have what it takes, metaphysical resource wise, to raise living standards in a Global University context.


What Bucky may have been saying, to the chagrin of LAWCAP [LAWyer CAPitalism], is that a system which does not hold basic living necessities hostage pending proof of your usefulness to society, but rather supplies a workstation to all and lets each individual seek excellence (or not), will come out ahead in the innovation and creativity department. There are lots of ways to meter a digital product's usefulness to others, and even to reward its authors accordingly, but without forcing us into earning a living behaviors. So many digital properties are vitally useful, but simply do not fit into the ``earning a living from revenues on sales'' framework. In fact, its the infinite copiability of digital media that makes ``earning a living from revenues on sales'' a system that gets us actively militating to inhibit technology, with handicapped CD copiers, dongles, other anti-copying schemes. We've made photo-duplicating an item (leaving it for others to also use and duplicate) a crime called ``Piracy.'' Imagine a pirate ship coming alongside, snapping polaroids of your treasure chest, and dashing off, cackling. Such is piracy. (Again, I'm not personally into using a lot of pirated software, but I've seen whole countries sustaining their economies on same, without the foreign exchange to ``make it all legal'' and question a LAWCAP new world order (i.e. the GATT) that would permanently make metaphysical assets artificially, suffocatingly unaquirable in an economy desperate for such assets).

3.2 What is the ``cosmic accounting system?'' --- Fuller's Economics.

[Typed in by Pat Salsbury.] The following is an excerpt from Critical Path by R. Buckminster (``Bucky'') Fuller. (Copyright 1981, St. Martin's Press, NY -- pp. 262-263)

``...We have pointed out that the geologist Francois de Chardenedes wrote for me a scenario of the technology of nature's producing petroleum which disclosed that the amount of energy employed by nature as heat and pressure for the amount of time required to produce each gallon of petroleum, if paid for at the rate at which the public utilities now charge retail customers for electricity, must cost over a million dollars a gallon. Combine that information with the discovery that approximately 60 percent of the employed in U.S. America are working at tasks that are not producing any life support. Jobs of inspectors-of-inspectors; jobs with insurance companies that induce people to bet that their house is going to be destroyed by fire while the insurance company bets that it isn't. All these are negative with the underwriting of insurance underwriters by other insurance underwriters -- people checking up on one another in all the different departments of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue, FBI, CIA, and in counterespionage. About 60 percent of all human activity in America is not producing any physical life protection, life support, or development accommodation, which physical life support alone constitutes real wealth.

``The majority of Americans reach their jobs by automobile, probably averaging four gallons a day -- thereby, each is spending four million real cosmic-physical-Universe dollars a day without producing any physical Universe life-support wealth accredited in the energy-time -- metabolic -- accounting system eternally governing regenerative Universe. Humans are designed to learn how to survive only through trial-and-error-won knowledge. Long-known errors are, however, no longer cosmically tolerated. The 350 trillion cosmic dollars a day wasted by the 60 percent of no-wealth-producing human job-holders in the U.S.A., together with the $19 quadrillion a day wasted by the no-wealth-producing human job-holders in all other automobiles-to-work countries, also can no longer be cosmically tolerated.

``Today we have computers that enable us to answer some very big questions if all the relevant data is fed into the computer and all the questions are properly asked. As for instance, ``Which would cost society the least: to carry on as at present, trying politically to create more no-wealth-producing jobs, or paying everybody handsome fellowships to stay at home and save all those million-dollar-each gallons of petroleum?'' Stated evermore succinctly, the big question will be: ``Which costs more -- paying all present job-holders a billionaire's lifelong $400,000-a-day fellowship to stay at home, or having them each spend $4 million a day to commute to work?'' Every computer will declare it to be much less expensive to pay people not to go to work. The same computers will also quickly reveal that there is no way in which each and every human could each day spend $400,000 staying at the most expensive hotels and doing equally expensive things; they could rarely spend 4000 of the 1980-deflated dollars a day, which is only 1 percent of a billionaire's daily income.''

[From Ross Keatinge]

The most fundamental message I have got from his writings is about wealth. I cringe when I hear or read about a `worldwide recession' and a `depressed economy'. I know it sounds like common sense but I find it difficult to get people to realize that it is all our own doing. I work for a company which among other things does foreign exchange dealing. I'm not directly involved in but I always find it amusing when they talk about `The Market' as if it is some alien entity which we have no control over. There has been some currency crises in recent times and I hear phases like ``Everybody is watching the market very closely today,'' or ``I hope the dollar doesn't drop any further today.''

I tend to see the population of the Earth as similar to a group of people living on an island with plenty of natural resources but some are starving because the people can't get their act together even though they have the technology to transport resources around the island. The latest `Time' has a bit about the huge stockpiles of food in Europe they don't quite know what to do with (posted 1 Oct 1993).

[From Kirby Urner]

Bucky defined wealth as life support. Some feel wealth is what humans get credit for because it is produced through their work. This is also the Marxist view: that only labor creates value. Given Bucky's definition, we see the sun and ecosystems as wealth-producing, but outside the cash system. Most of our life support (wealth) is not owing to human labor, but to automated, cybernetic, natural processes. Agriculture is hard work, but it wouldn't happen at all without nature's contribution. Given Fuller's ``cosmic accounting'' (looking at wealth production with or without human components), it appears that no matter how hard we work, we individually get more life support than we produce. We do not ``pay our own way'' as a species.

There's no way that you, born a helpless baby just decades ago, could possibly pay your debts to humanity for all the assets you use in life, including the words you use free of charge. Humans don't pay the sun for powering the earth or take much credit for all the automatic wealth creation that goes on around us constantly, cashlessly. Humans get to work, yes, but they don't get to take credit for everything they produce. Ultimately we're distributing wealth to children (average global age: 15) and generations yet unborn -- no way they can pay their own way.

I think the institution called The Library is fundamental to democracy and wonder what will happen to this institution in the digital age. What does it mean to ``borrow'' a digital asset when making a copy also leaves it on the shelf? Trying to make information assets fit the mold of real estate assets when talking about ``intellectual property'' is to seriously mix metaphors. Information assets are not English country estates.

Human language is more like an ecosystem asset than a capitalist one: we work with it without paying for the privilege. But language is not just a pile of words in the dictionary. Language is sense, knowledge, a way of ordering experience. The question is: how quickly will certain intellectual assets cross the line from cash-accounted assets to ecosystemic ones -- how quickly will our metaphysical work be subsumed within Language? How will language masters be rewarded, if not with cash revenue from end users? Encryption and computerization offer the possibility of trafficking in zillions of currencies. You will gain access to assets you have demonstrated your ability to expertly use. Same as now.

Fuller's point in Critical Path was that even many of those gainfully employed (not counting disemployed-through-automation) are doing nothing very vital to the creation of sustainable life support systems. Market pricing is just the tip of the iceberg of a system of pushes and pulls. At the far end of the cheap jeans is the barrel of a gun, pointed at people who cannot prove legal tenure to the land their ancestors farmed for generations. The prices we pay have a lot of brute force behind them, not just self-interested parties freely making choices. Making cash scarce to keep it valuable, by making those who have it fear the miserable state of those who do not, is a coercive system, not a freedom-loving one.

Cold cash is just one of many ``currencies'' -- the most liquidly convertible (provided it is one of the globally acceptable ``hard'' ones). I'm a big fan of wiring workstations to systems which dispense credits redeemable ``in kind.'' E.g. hours spent completing multimedia session on Insects of the World gets you tickets to the science museum and a $40 credit at a book store. The museum and bookstore are also receiving lots of non-cash redeemables for their services. Not barter exactly, but not pure liquid either. Computers make it practical to electronify wealth distribution games that accomplish the movement of goods in services in more channeled, designed structures. Not big brother though, since no central planning authority -- just lots of dial-in ``games'' with costs and rewards, likely to attract those with a self-interest in playing. Those are the details. From a distance, it looks like a planet full of professors on tenure, working hard, doing more metaphysical stuff than before.

[Karl Vogel replies]

No one has deliberately set out to ``make'' cash scarce. Earth does NOT give us everything we need without requiring any productive work on our part; if we want food, we have to grow it or get it from someone who has grown it. This can be done in one of two ways; peacefully through trade or otherwise.

[Kevin Sahr replies]

I think these two viewpoints define the crux of the debate. And I (and I think Bucky) would have to agree more with Kirby. Capitalism is based on scarcity, and those with a deeply vested interest in the status quo (or a simple fear of change, which I think we all share to some extent), will fight any efforts to, say, develop cheap renewable sources of energy which threaten the scarcity and thus the value of their sources of income. In the long run, we each individually and as a society suffer from this. I've heard the argument that the mechanics of a free-market economy will eventually overcome such inertia, but I find the idea that we live in anything even close to a free-market economy to be absurd.

I find Bucky's vision of a society of scientist/artists who are self-fulfilled in the very act of creation/learning to be inspiring. The problem, of course, is how we get from here to there. I do not claim to have the answer. However, I think that the dawning of the information age is going to make it very difficult for people to, at the very least, delude themselves into thinking that we do not live in an economy of enforced scarcity. Because information, by it's very nature, only has value in a capitalist economy to the extent that it is deliberately ``made'' scarce. If I have an HDTV with a digital recorder capable of perfect reproduction of ``Jurassic Park,'' and a fiber optic link direct to a digital copy of that movie, then someone is going to have to introduce a deliberate ``mechanism of scarcity'' to keep me from copying it. If I have a computer on my desktop capable of creating, from a hardware/software standpoint, the dinosaur sequences from ``Jurassic Park,'' then the only thing of real value in JP is Steven Spielberg's creativity (and that of the other artists that participated in it's making). Once Spielberg (or anyone else) no longer needs Hollywood's money to make a movie like JP, and no longer needs their distribution channels (because everyone has equal access to the net -- unless we CHOOSE to make access ``scarce'') then what is to stop him from just making his movies out of the sheer pleasure of it and giving copies freely to anyone who wants them? As we move closer and closer to an ``information standard'' of value in our economy, I think the old economic models we've been using are in for a crisis. I, for one, hope it will be a fatal crisis.

If everyone gives freely of themselves without expecting anything in return, we will all have more than we could ever possibly dream. And because this makes so much sense, that must be where the universe is headed. To me that's really what Bucky was all about. What a beautiful being!

[From Leo Elliott]

What has become really important (economically) is not the product (movie, book, code, net, etc.) of the artist (scientist, Spielberg, et al.), but rather the ``enforced scarcity'' youse have recently been batting around? What drives the GRUNCH economy is not the production of goods and services, as standard economic theory might have it, but rather the perpetual maintenance of scarcities, such that once an item becomes abundant and low-cost, then production shifts to the new style, the movie sequel, the next year's model, etc.

What has come about is the denigration, to the point of debility, of what Bucky may have called the ability to maintain secrets, industrial, military, or otherwise (recall his tales of how civilization was advanced on the high seas with one nation getting the jump on another, as via the development of guns with longer ranges, by always keeping secret their more-with-lessing capabilities -- now these more-with-lessing capabilities seem to be developing, mutating (dare I say evolving) faster than the old Giants' abilities to keep up with them, witness Aldrich Ames.)

Some may reference this to the Summer '93 issue of Whole Earth Review, wherein Stewart Brand prefaced Kevin Kelly's article on ``Cyberspace, E-Money, and the Technologies of Disconnection'' (pp. 40-59) as follows:

``This one is a world-changer. Personal encryption may be as revolutionary as personal computers in transforming the web of human communications...

``Since I am allied with cypherpunks and their program, I feel cheerfully duty-bound to raise a question or two, such as: `If the real world is awkward to work with and full of cops, and if electronic cyberspace is easy to work with and has no effective cops (thanks to universal encryption) AND is where all the money is, what does that suggest about the future of crime?' ''

Thus in some odd extension of value-added marxian economics, the old-model consumer of mainline value-added products (folks who might pay the full ticket price to go see Jurassic Park in a bigscreen theater) becomes ever less significant in the economic factoring to those who would add value by passing lesser imitations around (videos or associated dino mdse)... which I think leads somewhere back towards Bucky's ``ephemeralization'' of economic processes. The ``value added'' manifest on the nets would simply be represented by the ``passing on'' of data, in the hope/probability that it will assume ``added value'' as info and/or entertainment on the receiving end.

[From Mark Stowe]

It is my strong personal recommendation that everyone unfamiliar with the game theory/evolutionary modeling of altruistic behavior, would do well to read up in this area (an adequate if less than inspired starting point would be the article on page 76 of the March 1994, Scientific American). Capitalism is currently a necessary evil in my view because of the presence of ``defectors:'' those whose power grows at the expense of those who volunteer their labor. Essentially my hope for the future lies with my belief that on-line communities provide unprecedented possibilities for getting around this problem, because 1) they provide enormous power to organize boycotts and otherwise isolate defectors and 2) they increase the power of the altruists by virtue of the fact that altruistic creations in an on-line community (helpful programs, enjoyable works of art) last much longer (the normal rules of entropy do not apply). I think that the problem of cheaters in an on-line community as discussed in the article on page 90 of the same Sci-Am issue can be overcome by a number of technological tricks.

3.3 What is the World Game?

[Keyed in by Patrick G. Salsbury.] This is an excerpt from The Essential Whole Earth Catalog (Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY) p. 89


``To make the World work / for 100% of Humanity / In the shortest possible time / Through spontaneous cooperation / Without ecological offense / Or the disadvantage of anyone.''

Buckminster Fuller initiated the World Game in 1969 as one means of accomplishing this worthy goal. The idea is that with enough data on world resources and their distribution (including accumulated technology and problem-solving skills), the world's citizens will do what's best for all. Fuller assumed that once it was obvious that there was enough of everything to go around, people would stop fighting wars and get to work making the world work -- if not as a utopia at least not continuing the current suicidal path. World Game is still developing. Recent sessions use an enormous basketball-court-size map in order to more easily visualize various strategies as they are suggested by participants. A formidable software database called Global Data Manager allows individuals to play with the numbers on their PCs.

What is the World Game Institute?

[Dane Winberg of the World Game Institute sent me this contribution.]

World Game Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, global education and research organization dedicated to developing and disseminating problem solving and educational tools. World Game was conceived by world renowned architect, philosopher and visionary, R. Buckminster Fuller as a creative problem solving tool whose goal is to ``make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation and without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.''

Global Recall 2.0 -

A computer atlas featuring 300 world, regional and country maps and 600 data indicators for all countries; 18 essays on current global problems; a Solutions Lab section where you can describe your ideas for global solutions and compare them to real-world data. Comprised of several linked HyperCard stacks, available for Macintosh computers. Regular data updates.

Global Data Manager -

Available for DOS or Macintosh (currently only for system 6), GDM displays data on population, food, energy, education, natural resources, economics, etc. for the world, all continents and all countries. Separately sold disks of data from World Bank, World Resources Institute, UN.

World Game Workshops -

Interactive global simulations conducted for elementary and high schools, community groups, universities and corporations; adapted with an emphasis on world geography, history, current events, global issues, patterns of development, strategic options and sustainable solutions to local and global problems.

World View Map for the Playground -

A basketball court-sized world map is painted on elementary school playgrounds; includes an activities manual for several subject areas.

World View Map for the Classroom -

A smaller roll-out version of the playground map for indoor use.

World Game Institute
3215 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-2597
Phone: (215)387-0220  Fax: (215)387-3009

>We're interested in knowing more about any World Game group in Seattle.
>-- Kirby & Nick in
>Portland, Oregon

Contact: Chuck Dingee
Pacific Northwest Regional Representative
PO Box 2681,
Bellingham, WA 98227-2681
Tel: (206) 647-5106   Fax: (206) 647-5106 (ext 77#)
Chuck was for many years in charge of putting on World Game workshops from the Philadelphia office.


The World Game Institute is a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to developing technological and interactive tools for global problem solving. Among our many products and programs are:

The World Game was created by R. Buckminster Fuller, the eminent geometer, architect and thinker, as a creative alternative to war games. Participants in World Game workshops learn to see the world in terms of one population sharing the wealth of one planet, and ``win'' the Game when they meet the basic health, education, welfare and survival needs of the world's population. In its more sophisticated versions, the World Game also acts as a simulation and laboratory, used by policy makers, corporations and diplomats and world leaders to devise efficient problem solving strategies.

***The preceding was uploaded to CompuServe several months ago. The World Game Workshop, while conceived by Fuller, does not resemble the original Workshops closely at all. Neither is the World Game Institute actively involved in disseminating information about Fuller or pursuing his ``synergetics'' theory, per se. His theories are a jumping off point for the Institute, but we are not solely involved in propagating his teachings alone.

Susan Caskey

What are the World Game Institutes ``games'' like?

Did you know that some scientists have determined that the air could cleanse itself of all pollutants in TWO WEEKS if polluting stopped for that period of time?

Did you know that all nuclear warheads would be non-explosive in 18-22 years if no tritium was replaced in them?

Briefly, The World Game is a three hour experience including a 1 1/2 hour trading simulation game played on a dymaxion projection of the Earth. Lots of slides and music is used to make it entertaining as well as educational. Fuller's intent was to design a game that would be an alternative to war games.

Although the game content deals with many issues besides the environment such as hunger, nuclear proliferation, and education, the ideas of cooperation and coordination are pervasive and based on up-to-the-moment data on all of the issues.

Costs are dependent on number of workshops to be held, distance traveled, etc. Figure around $3500 and up. But it is worth it! Often our district will spend anywhere from $5000- $10,000 for a speaker for an evening seminar. So don't flinch at the money yet.

Janet Whitaker Rio Salado Community College Phoenix, Arizona

What is Global Data Manager (GDM)?

To quote from the GDM manual: ``If information is power, Global Data Manager is a powerful tool. Its intended purpose is to make accessible the vast amounts of statistical data upon which all fundamental resource allocation decisions in the world are made... Global Data Manager makes available for the first time, in an easy to use personal data computer format, the vital statistics of the world. Its purpose is to integrate into one system the world's most complete inventory of global data into an easy to use, personal computer based, problem analysis and solving system that is accessible to the researcher, policy maker, social activist, student, teacher, media and general public''

Ian Wells Director, Social Impact Group Boston Computer Society

Does the World Game offer any solutions to the World Hunger Problem?

I just latched onto a copy of Ho-Ping: Food for Everyone, by Medard Gabel [ED: Medard Gabel is the executive director of the World Game Institute.] It is INCREDIBLE! It addresses the World's Food supply/distribution problems from a holistic, comprehensive, design science approach. That is, by considering the ENTIRE planet, and 100% of humanity in all its study. --- Patrick Salsbury

3.4 What were Fuller's views on religion and God?

The following is a quote from pages 116 and 117 of Ideas and Integrities by R. Buckminster Fuller. (c) 1963. The actual passage is taken from something he wrote on Sunday, Nov. 7th, 1942. It is interesting to note how accurate the statements seem to be in our present time, despite their age. I got a kick out of them in light of the recent scandals in religious circles and all the other goings on. The statements come from Chapter Six of the Book. It is entitled ``I Figure'' and these two words are meant to proceed each of the ideas presented in the chapter. --- Patrick Salsbury, 1-11-90

``...that the people are now more deeply conscious than ever before in history of the existence and functioning principles of universal, inexorable physical laws; of the pervading, quietly counseling truth within each and every one of us; of the power of love; and--each man by himself--of his own developing, dynamic relationship with his own conception of the Almightiness of the All-Knowing.

``...that our contemporaries just don't wear their faith on their sleeves anymore.

``...that people have removed faith from their sleeves because they found out for themselves that faith is much too important for careless display. Now they are willing to wait out the days and years for the truthful events, encouraged individually from within; and the more frequently the dramatic phrases advertising love, patriotism, fervent belief, morals, and good fellowship are plagiarized, appropriated and exhibited in the show windows of the world by the propaganda whips for indirect and ulterior motives, no matter how meager the compromise--the more do people withdraw within themselves and shun taking issue with the nauseating perversions, though eternally exhibiting quiet indifference, nonchalance or even cultivating seemingly ignorant acceptance.''

How did Bucky's ``Ever Rethinking the Lord's Prayer'' go?

[Well, he came up with a new version each night! But here is one version posted by Leo Elliott.]

The following is a transcription from a 1976 ``Being With Bucky,'' New Dimensions Tapes, side 15 (parsing and punctuation by transcriptionist).

Our God, who art in we even,
even we who know most intimately
of our own weaknesses, failures, faults, and outright sins
our selfishness, fear and cupidity,
of our moments of jealousy, rage and hate
secret cover-ups, lies and self-deceits
God even of we
     Our God -- our intuitively-apprehended comprehensive-admonisher
Omni-experienced is your identity,
the everywhere and everywhen evolving omnireality
is your presence

and as the reality differs _uniquely_ from moment to moment
in respect to each individual
so do you speak to each
in exquisitely relevant, instructive terms
regarding that which the individual
can most effectively do
not in behalf of self
but in behalf of all humanity

and Thus in support of the intellectual functioning of humans
thereby in local universe support
of the eternal integrity of omniregenerative universe
which is God.

As omniexperience, you have given us
overwhelming manifest
of your complete knowledge
your complete comprehension
your complete concern
your complete wisdom
your complete responsibility
your complete co-ordination
your complete competence to cope
with any and all problems
and of your utter reliability
always so to do
Yours, dear God, is all the glory.

        *  *  *
We oft-times think of ourselves
as independent individuals
able to get on by ourselves
by our own wits
forgetting altogether
that we did not invent those wits
nor the incredibly complex, 99.9% automated
biological organisms
nor the rest of the universe
with which they interfunction,
all of which is entirely
the prior competent conceptioning
only of God.
Yes dear God, yours _is_ all the Glory.

You are the totally mysterious
eternal integrity, both comprehensively
and incisively governing
the omni-intercomplementation and omni-interaccommodation
of all physical and metaphysical experiences
of ever and everywhere
separately and complexedly intertransforming
omni-regenerative universe.

You are the synergetic integral of all truths.
We have absolute trust and faith in you
and we wish of you
awe-inspiredly, thankfully, rejoicingly and lovingly --
for it's spontaneously feasible
for humans to be wishful of the truth
in awe of the truth
thankful for the truth
to rejoice in the truth
and to love the truth
and to love all the truths combined
for all truths are omni-interaccommodative
as are all the
only mathematically-statable generalized principles
discovered by human minds,
experimentally verified by science
to be externally governing
complex interrelationships of physical universe.

        *   *   *

Truths and principles never contradict one another.
They are all concurrently omni-interaccommodative
and all the truths are metaphysical cognitions
by humans
of special-case realizations
of eternally-valid generalized principles.
It is only through many repeated experiences and recognitions
of the eternal principles
their non-contradicting interaccommodations
that each individual human
progressively and only intuitively discovers the existence of
eternal principles and their special-case manifests
and the truths of everyday events
and all the truths, as our lives discover them,
trend to integrate in synergetic perfection
beyond the special-case experiencing
of inherently terminal
ergo inherently limited
human conceptioning, comprehension and communication...

3.5 What is the Global Energy Grid idea?

[From Critical Path by RBF, 1981, p. 206.]

``It is engineeringly demonstrable that there is no known way to deliver energy safely from one part of the world to another in larger quantities and in swifter manner than by high-voltage-conducted `electricity.' For the first half of the twentieth century the limit-distance of technically practical deliverability of electricity was 350 miles. As a consequence of the post-World War II space program's employment and advancement of the invisible metallurgical, chemical, and electronics more-with-lessing technology, twenty-five years ago it became technically feasible and expedient to employ ultra-high-voltage and superconductivity, which can deliver electrical energy within a radial range of 1500 miles from the system's dynamo generators.

``To the World Game seminar of 1969 I presented my integrated, world-around, high-voltage electrical energy network concept. Employing the new 1500-mile transmission reach, this network made it technically feasible to span the Bering Straits to integrate the Alaskan U.S.A. and Canadian networks with Russia's grid, which had recently been extended eastward into northern Siberia and Kamchatka to harness with hydroelectric dams the several powerful northwardly flowing rivers of northeasternmost U.S.S.R. This proposed network would interlink the daylight half of the world with the nighttime half.

``Electrical-energy integration of the night and day regions of the Earth will bring all the capacity into use at all times, thus overnight doubling the generating capacity of humanity because it will integrate all the most extreme night and day peaks and valleys. From the Bering Straits, Europe and Africa will be integrated westwardly through the U.S.S.R., and China, Southeast Asia; India will become network integrated southwardly through the U.S.S.R. Central and South America will be integrated southwardly through Canada, the U.S.A., and Mexico.''

[From The GENI website.]

GENI, Global Energy Network International Global Energy Network Institute was founded in 1986 by Peter Meisen to investigate the idea of Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller, proposing a global electric energy grid as the number one priority to solve many of the world's most pressing problems.

3.6 What is a ``trimtab?''

[From Blaine A. D'Amico.]

A Trimtab is a tiny flap that controls the rudder on a ship or airplane. When the rudder needs to be moved, this tiny ``trimtab'' is adjusted which creates a low pressure area on one side and turns the rudder. Bucky used the word to illustrate what the little individual can do to ``turn the great ship of state.'' He also noted that the ship has [already] passed the point where the turn is occurring. This might be a comfort to those on the bow wondering if we have missed our chance to change course.

Bucky's gravestone says simply ``Call me TRIMTAB''

3.7 Was Bucky a socialist?

Not exactly. Though he did speak fondly of socialism (mainly the ``take care of everyone'' and the ``plan ahead'' ideas in socialism). The following exchange clarifies this a bit.

Blaine A. D'Amico: Fuller said nothing about redistribution. His Design Science revolution is based in raising the living standard of the `have-nots' and `have-lesses' without taking away from the haves. This is done through ephemeralization ``more with less.''

Patrick G. Salsbury: He did, however, discuss DISTRIBUTION, and how the intelligent application of that could solve problems like global food shortages, etc.

3.8 What were Fuller's views on Education?

Fuller's book Education Automation is a primary source.

[From Robert L Lamons]

I am anamored with his writings on education. For someone that had so much difficulty with standard education models he did quite well. I first read about his theory on ``Education'' in Operating manual for Spaceship Earth, chapters 3,4 and 5 I believe. I have read his other books on education too. All lead to the same conclusion, that education is active and must be sought, not something that you can sit down and drink up as someone pours it out to you. We have modeled our educational theories after this and are now ``organically'' homeschooling our 5 children. That is what we like most about Bucky.

3.9 What is the difference between ``Class I'' and ``Class II'' evolution?

[Critical Path, p. 229-30]

``Class-two evolutionary trendings are all those events that seem to be resultant upon human initiative-taking or political reforms that adjust to the changes wrought by the progressive introduction of environment- altering artifacts. All the class-two evolutionary events tend to flatter human ego and persuade humanity to deceive itself by taking credit for favorable changes in circumstances while blaming other humans or `acts of God' for unfavorable changes. It therefore assumes that humanity is running the Universe wherefore, if its power-structure leaders decide that is is valid to cash in all of nature's available riches to further enrich the present rich or to protect them militarily from attacks by their assumed enemies - all at the cost of terminating human presence on planet Earth - that is the power-structure leader's divine privilege.

``All the class-one evolutionary trending is utterly transcendental to any human vision, planning, manipulation, and corruption. Class-one evolution accounts for humans' presence on Earth. It accounts for their having always been born naked, helpless for months, and inexperienced - ergo, ignorant, hungry, thirsty, curious, and therefore fated to learn how to survive only through trial-and-error-won, progressive accumulation of experience. Class-one evolution accounted for humanity's all-unexpected invention of verbal (aural, sound) communication, and thereby the integration of the experience-won information of the many, whereby the integrated information of the many increased the capability of humanity at large to cope with the exigencies of life. It is class-one evolution that led, after the progressive integration of the total experience-won information, to the unpredicted invention of writing or visual communication, by means of which the dead could speak to the living and within which total written information history human mind from time to time discovered repetitive patterns, which in turn sometimes led to the discovery of generalized scientific principles.''

3.10 How to house humanity? And other reflections on Making the World work.

Housing humanity was Fuller's motivation for designing the Dymaxion House and the Geodesic Dome (See section Geodesic Domes for more on the Dome). Fuller designed them because of the tremendous waste and inadequacy of cube-based dwellings. Also see sections What was Fuller's ``floating city?'' and Old Man's River City Project (circular cities)? on re-designing cities.

[From Kirby Urner]

And I'm one of the lucky ones! I've got indoor plumbing and heat! No way we can supply the world's billions with these assets using the sadly obsolete construction methods of yesteryear, perpetuated with cosmetic improvements decade after decade. The USA living standard cannot be replicated globally, nor should it be, as inappropriate, wasteful and Dark Aged as it is! May the Chinese do it better!

A story on the radio the other day said metal is becoming more popular among construction workers in this age of dwindling forests and climbing lumber prices. For one thing, you can screw instead of nail. Imagine, pro-metal propaganda on the radio -- in Oregon! The lumber industry is fighting back, saying mines are at least as damaging to the environment as logging. But Fuller's point was that the majority of the metals we need are already mined, and can be recycled over and over (the dwellings will be designed with recycling in mind, kind of like the Germans have been doing with some models of BMW).

The old housing stock won't disappear -- decades of remodeling await the avid remodelers. But I wish those of us who are being pushed to the periphery by high housing costs had more to look forward to than mobile home courts. I'm always passing these mobile homes on the backs of trucks on the freeway -- Caution Wide Load. Why do helicopter deliveries from the local dealer to less paved over and bulldozed environs sound so far out and ``futuristic?'' Fuller's little energy-harvesting, grid-autonomous units, constellated in remote little campus-communities, would make ideal living and learning environments -- good places for children.

[From Leo Elliott]

``Why do helicopter deliveries... sound so far out and `futuristic'?''

I think the most telling answer is implied in a word contained in Kirby's next sentence:

``Fuller's little energy-harvesting, grid-autonomous units, constellated in remote little campus-communities...''

the key word being ``grid-autonomous.'' As per `Grunch of Giants, pushers do not like it when users decide they want to ``grow their own,'' be it homes, domes, education, or local support systems. Supposedly the dymaxion bathroom, mentioned here previously, received rave reviews until the plumbers unions of the time found out that it would be completely user-installable, thus depriving them of their ``standard fees.''

I would suspect that it has been this whole notion of de-centralized energy systems (centrifugal energy flow/centripetal info flow) which has, over the years, aside from Fuller's personal suasions and disuasions, been the most threatening (to the ``giants'') aspect of his overall program -- live anywhere you want, do what you want, all paid for by the dole, which itself will be more than paid for by the return on investment of those marvelous discoveries and inventions made by the less-than-1% who would produce the most wonderful synergy-revealing artifacts.

[From Kirby Urner]

Leo Elliott writes:
> I would suspect that it has been this whole notion of de-centralized energy
> systems... which has... been the most threatening (to the ``giants'') aspect
> of [Fuller's] overall program
Perhaps, perhaps. But think of the business interests in favor too: a huge aftermarket in user-installables (similar to computer component add-ons). Cellular phone and fax demands, satellite TV, the education and info-tainment dialup video needs of remotely deployed home-schoolers, a growing sector of under/unemployed defense workers with aerospace savvy... And the utility grids will still have LA, Paris and Tokyo to power. Its not like a sprinkling of grid-autonomous dust is going to spell `lights out' in the sprawling megalopolis already covering the planet. Moreover, Fuller was hardly ``anti-grid'' what with his bi-hemispheric vision of same...

Recall that ``the industry industry missed'' (July 1932, Fortune magazine) was initially very appealing to industrialists in the pre-war 30s, including such as GE -- was briefly subject of what we'd nowadays call ``media hype.'' The unions (along with the banks and county zoning boards) might have killed it, but the duck was lame to begin with -- or at least this is what Fuller says in retrospect: ``Fortune made the mistake of assuming `the industry industry missed' had at last come of age... Evolution was clearly intent on postponing the inception of the livingry service industry until humanity had graduated from its pre-twentieth century condition as a planet of remote nations... all of which waited upon the completion of a world-around network of ... telephones ... and jumbo jet airplanes.'' (Grunch of Giants, pp xvii-iii).

[From Kirby Urner]

Adequate shelter for all humans is possible. Not using forest products though. I think what tent life and Fuller's homes have in common is energy-autonomy. With a Fuller unit, I can plunk down in the middle of nowhere. The tripod of my Fly's Eye is adjustable for bumpy, slopey terrain. I didn't have to rip a road through the wilderness to get it here. I didn't have to pour a foundation or bulldoze or whatever. Say I'm a student of ecology. A university consortium has these ``remote campus deployment'' units that programs rent for a few weeks or months. Whole little communities deploy, doing minimal damage to the environment, make their studies (staying in touch with cellular Internet etc.), and leave. The noisy helicopter part only comes at the beginning and the end, and maybe once a week during the middle.

I say we look at cities as huge campuses (the ``city as campus'' metaphor) and all humans as would-be students in a Global University. Work-study options, life-long ``learning a living'' scenarios give you access to all kinds of facilities, travel. Fuller computed that our global energy budget (solar derived) gave us enough to offer fellowships to all those impoverished and living in shanty towns, minus any really good education. I think many families in the Philippines would jump at the chance to enroll in the Global University. If you like the outdoors life, and growing food, or fishing, well, that can be arranged.

3.11 Was Bucky an ``optimist'' or a ``pessimist''?

[Fuller quote from 1928 typed in by Leo Elliott]

``A pessimist is one who `believes' the world to be rapidly diminishing to complete materialism, and looks only to the past with pleasure.

``An optimist is one who `believes' in no fact of undelectable presence and looks only to the future for happiness.

``An individual is one, who, happy in the present time, perceives the relative progression of the spheres. Being unselfish, is he jealous of neither past nor future. Thus does he stay time.''

3.12 What about Fuller's plan for a nationless world?

[From Kirby Urner.]


Nationalism seems a bankrupt strategy for mapping ethnic/cultural distinctions to geography, which as too few dimensions to accommodate the interweavings of affinity. For all their drawbacks, notice how corporations support the trappings of nationhood, with logos, mottos, CEO-prezes, image/identity stuff, but without blocking off huge areas of the map. Corporate cultures hang together globally with dispersed campus settings wired by commlinks and frequent flyers. In this sense, I think Serbia, Inc. or Israel, Inc. or Palestine, Inc. -- global networks with no huge territorial claims -- would better accommodate the complex topology of ``we'' groupings.

Phasing in Fuller's nationless map doesn't mean declaring that nations don't exist, or waiting for some revolution. We're just de-emphasizing their importance. And I still think USA has a bright future, not so much as a territory as a democratic system for providing goods and services. Governments are systems, inherently global. You can log in to USA OS (USA operating system) from wherever. Much as it is today -- I send email to mom & dad in Africa.

To be a Fullerian, philosophically, is, I believe, to say ``enough with the silly nation-state idea already!'' That doesn't mean I don't pay taxes, or vote for this or that. But I'm not interested in deciding the boundaries between Israel and Syria or Serbia and Bosnia. That's a jigsaw puzzle that's hopeless to the core. Lets get folks into domes and such, and online. With multimedia and a future to live for, life will again seem too precious to waste in war to defend the future of some obsolete institution called ``nation.'' That was the real purpose of the Spaceship Earth metaphor: not to make earth seem mechanistic (Jeremy Rifkin's criticism) but to make it seem apolitical.

[From leo elliott]

No argument from me that nationalism presents some definitely grunchy, special case, anachronistic modes of ownership, which seems to be the prime directive in these various hideous nationalistic horror theaters (Rwanda, Bosnia, etc.). I might still have some reservations about there being a darker side to corporationalism that would lead me to suspect that, benign as it may sometimes seem, it would hardly make the world apolitical -- maybe affect the political dialog, but I doubt it would erase the greed or fear or whatever it is that lies at the core of the mort-gaging system of accounting which, imo, is squeezing the forward-lookingness out of more and more arenas. (I am still debating whether to view Schindler-style commercialism as a testament that, even in the ultimate debasement of dialog that war represents, that there is at least some common dialect of commerce that will still be spoken (representing, presumably, some still-commonly-agreed-upon standards of value), or whether to view Schindler's efforts as outrageous exploitation.)

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