From Cosmography by R. Buckminster Fuller, 1983



The following is a condensation of some of the ideas presented by Fuller in his final book.


The dark ages still reign...

The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear.

This Dark Ages prison has no steel bars, chains, or locks. Instead, it is locked by misorientation and built of misinformation. Caught up in a plethora of conditioned reflexes and driven by the human ego, both warden and prisoner attempt meagerly to compete with God. All are intractably skeptical of what they do not understand.

We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.

Killingry

Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is typical of humanity. Precession - not conscious planning - provides a productive outcome for misguided political and military campaigns. Nature's long-term design intervenes to circumvent the shortsightedness of human individuals, corporations, and nations competing for a share of the economic pie. Fundamentally, political economists misassume an inadequacy of life support to exist on our planet. Humanity therefore competes militarily to see which political system... is fittest to survive. In slavish observance of this misassumption, humans devote their most costly efforts and resources to "killingry" - a vast arsenal of weapons skillfully designed to kill ever more people at ever-greater distances in ever-shorter periods of time while employing ever-fewer pounds of material, ergs of energy, and seconds of time per killing.

Livingry

...we must progress to the stage of doing all the right things for all the right reasons instead of doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons...

Einstein proclaimed that there are only two prime motivations for all human initiatives: fear and longing. Acquiring the costly technology for producing national-defense armaments alone is the politically assumed number-one mandate, a mandate based on national fear. Such a survivalist mentality inadvertently also produces life-supporting technology, but it takes a quarter of a century longer than it would if humanity first recognized the public longing to attain sustainable peace for all humanity and directly used that same high-technology production for livingry rather than for armaments.

Want and Suffering

At the very moment humanity has arrived at that evolutionary point where we do have the option for everyone to "make it," I find it startling to discover that all the great governments, the five great religions, and most of big business would find it absolutely devastating to their continuance to have humanity become a physical, metabolic, economic success. All the political, religious, and moneymaking institutions' power is built upon those institutions' expertise in ministering to, and ameliorating, the suffering, want, pain, and fears resultant upon the misassumption of a fundamental inadequacy of life support on our planet and the consequent misfortune of the majority of humans.... The institutionalized catering to want and suffering gives us a sense of the almost certainly fatal dilemma we are in.

Specialization

Another relevant threat to human continuance in Universe is our world education systems' deliberate cultivation of specialization, despite the fact that each individual human is born physically and metaphysically equipped to function as a natural comprehensivist, with a unique mind designed to ascertain and comprehend the generalized design principles governing interrelationships. Surely if nature had wished humans to be specialists, she would have given them the special integral equipment for so doing, as she has given to all other creatures.

How did it come about that the educational system was organized to counter this innate proclivity, environmental versatility, and multifaceted capability?

Natural Selection

We have observed for aeons herds of wild horses led by a king stallion. Every once in a while an unusually big and powerful young stallion is born-much bigger than the other young stallions. When the big young one matures, the king stallion challenges him to a battle, with the winner inseminating the females of the herd. Darwin cited this as an example of nature's way of arranging to keep the strongest strains going.

Cultural Evolution

I am sure that amongst the early human beings occupying our planet Earth, every once in a while a man was born much bigger than other men. He did not ask to be big; he just found himself to be born so. He found himself continually asked for favors. "Mister, I can't reach the bananas. Could you get some bananas for me?" Being good-natured, he would oblige. And then all the little humans around him said, "Mister, the people over there have lost all their bananas. They're dying of starvation. They're going to come over and kill us to get our bananas. You're big. You get out front and protect us."

So, the big man found his bigness being continually exploited. He said, "All right, people, you've got me out there fighting for you time after time, but between battles I'd like you to help me get ready for the next battle. I need weapons and walls."

The people said, "Okay, we'll make you king and you tell us what to do."

So, the big one became king. Another big stranger came along and said, "Mr. King, you have a soft job here. I'm going to take this away from you. " The two battled. The king licked the stranger. The king had his opponent down on the ground and said, "You were going to kill me so you could have my kingdom, weren't you? You understand I can kill you right now, don't you? Okay, you're a very good fighter and I need a lot of good fighters around here, so, if you will promise to always fight for me, I'll release you. " The stranger acquiesced. The king found himself to be an institution - a power structure.

The king then said spontaneously to himself, "Don't let two big men come at me at once. I can handle them, but only one by one."

From this instinct there gradually emerged a number-one grand strategy for all power structures: Divide to conquer. To keep conquered, keep divided.

The king said to himself, "I want more of these big men. I'll make one the Duke of Hill A and the other the Duke of Hill B. Then I'll keep my spies watching to see that they don't gang up on me."

Next, a whole lot of little people made trouble for the king by not obeying him. There were some very bright little people around. They refused to do what the king wanted done. The king had one or two of his big men bring in the little offenders. The king said, "Mister, I'm going to cut your head off. You're a nuisance around here." The man replied, "Mr. King, you're making a very great mistake cutting my head off." The king said, "Why?" "Well, Mr. King, I understand the language of your enemy over the hill and you don't. I heard him say what he's going to do to you and when he's going to do it." The king said, "Young man, you may have a good idea. You let me know every day what my enemy over the hill thinks he is going to do to me, and your head is going to stay on. Then you're going to do something you never did ever before- you're going to eat regularly, right here in the castle. We're going to put purple and gold on you so I can keep track of you."

Then some other physically small character made trouble for the king, and it turned out that he could make better swords than anybody else. He was a great metallurgist. The king made him court armorer and had him live in the castle and wear purple and gold.

Somebody else made trouble and said, "Mr. King, the reason I'm able to steal from you is because you don't understand arithmetic. Now, if I do the arithmetic here in the castle, people won't be able to steal from you. " He, too, got the victuals, purple, and gold.

Speaking to all his little "experts," the king said, "You mind your business. And you mind your business. Is it clear to each and all of you that I'm the only one who minds everybody's business?"

The king now had all the great fighters, all the right intelligence, the right arms, the right logistics. His kingdom was getting very big. He wanted to leave it to his grandson. After years of success the king said to each of his experts, "You're getting pretty old. I want you to teach somebody about that mathematics. I want you to teach somebody about that metallurgy of yours," and so on.

Education

Ultimately all the foregoing led to the founding of the educational category scheming, as manifest in the organization of Oxford University and all other education institutions.

In spite of all humans' innate interest in the interrelatedness of all experience, long ago these world-power-structure builders learned to shunt all the bright intellectuals and the physically creative into specialist careers. The powerful reserved for themselves the far easier, because innate, comprehensive functioning. All one needs to do to discover how self-perpetuating is this disease of specialization is to witness the interdepartmental battling for educational funds and the concomitant jealous guarding of the various specializations assigned to a department's salaried experts on each subject in any university.

In the early 1950s, attending the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual congress in Philadelphia, I happened to find two papers that were presented in different parts of the symposium. One was in anthropology and the other was in biology. A team of anthropologists had for a number of years been examining all the known case histories of human tribes that have become extinct, and a team of biologists had been examining all the known cases of biological species that had become extinct. Both of the papers determined extinction to be the consequence of overspecialization.

The Problem

How might this be? We know that we can inbreed ever-faster- running horses by mating two very fast-running horses - the mathematical probability of concentrating the fast-running genes is high. When you inbreed special ability, however, you outbreed general adaptability.

Its total energy being fixed and nonamplifiable, physical Universe uses that energy only rarely to do very big things - hurricanes, for example. Nature does smaller tasks more frequently and very small tasks very frequently. ...When the rare big-energy event occurs, the species, having lost its general adaptability to cope with unusual environmental conditions, often perishes.

Success

Today's schools at every level are almost completely vitiated by the Dark Ages-imposed ignorance. Omnispecialized educational systems and the narrow professionalism they foster, together with the power structures of big money, big religion, and big politics are all still deliberately frustrating human comprehension and the possible advantage to be gained from the knowledge learned during millions of years of trial-and-error striving.

In official America and Europe the criterion for success in life is making money, not making sense and not individual access to nature's own thinking and grand design.