Anchor for this item posted by Bernard (ben) Tremblay at Monday, June 03, 2002; Monday, June 03, 2002

In connection with a page on "Only Integrity is Going to Count" from the Buckminster Fuller Institute, I'll quote from the preface to a text on design science cleverly entitled "A Fuller Explanation":
"When R. Buckminster Fuller recalled his days as a schoolboy in Milton, Massachusetts, he related how his mathematics teacher would introduce two-dimensional surfaces by placing lines of zero thickness side by side; young Buckminster used to wonder how one could create a finite surface out of nothing. Similarly, he could not accept the stacking of planes of zero thickness to create volumes. Intuitively, he sensed that areas and volumes are as different from each other as are forces and velocities: one cannot mix quantities of different dimensionality. Accordingly, Fuller learned to compare three-dimensional objects with each other, and hence to add, subtract, and transform them from and into each other rather than creating them out of objects of lower dimensionality. In doing so he came to discard the conventional orthogonal system which has blinded architects as well as solid-state scientists, and followed natural structure in designing his stable light-weight structures."
I would like to suggest that the dimensions of material productive activity and the activity of governance, which for me includes the axis of human happiness, intersect in a no less complex and subtle way. My point being that Fuller's actions are illustrative and exemplary: by following natural structures we, as a species, can design social structures, cultural constructs and the social relations that they engage, that serve us in dignity ... that is, in security and self-respect; our constructs can serve our true happiness. This is my understanding, and this is my belief.


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