I had the good fortune of seeing The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller , a live documentary produced and narrated by Sam Green, with accompaniment by Yo la Tengo, one of my favorite bands.
While Bucky is known for his visionary projects, earning him a place as one of the greatest and most prolific minds of the 20th Century, it was his message of hope and compassion that left the deepest impression on me. I felt like I had seen the true meaning of Christmas after enjoying this wonderfully textured live tribute. This is what motivated Bucky to travel the world and to continue his work on behalf of humankind (I use that term wistfully).
He endured both victory and defeat in his long and remarkable journey, even contemplating suicide after the death of his daughter and the loss of his business. At that point he had an abrupt realization that he had no right to end his life and dedicated his life to the advancement of humanity. He is best known as a design science genius, his vision is predicated on the interrelatedness of life on spaceship earth. Synergetic thinking provides the foundation for his approach to design science.
“The function of what I call design science is to solve problems by introducing into the environment new artifacts, the availability of which will induce their spontaneous employment by humans and thus, coincidentally, cause humans to abandon their previous problem-producing behaviors and devices. For example, when humans have a vital need to cross the roaring rapids of a river, as a design scientist I would design them a bridge, causing them, I am sure, to abandon spontaneously and forever the risking of their lives by trying to swim to the other shore.”- R. Buckminster Fuller, from Cosmography
Bucky left us a library of his life, the Dymaxion Chronofile, which is housed at Stanford University. Anyone can view this remarkable collection, a history of his daily life and all of his projects.
His belief that we can create a sustainable and kinder civilization can seem naive in these time of starkly unequal resource distribution. But if we don’t believe that we can create a better world, then we will be prey to the culture vultures already circling to take advantage of our ennui or despair. We must rededicate ourselves as Bucky did, to working with the earth and each other in service to the greater good if we are to realize our full potential as humane beings.