Extra mission: Buckminster Fuller and the Law of Precession
Capitalism has served us, our indigenous peoples, the planet, extremely poorly – it has taken those of us who are ‘awake’ to the brink of despair. The lies are so well and so deeply hidden that hardly anyone sees them:
- mass media fabricating conformity and consensus
- financial systems based on self-worth, status, upward mobility
- corporate systems built on systematic abuse in controlled hierarchies
- medical and mental health systems constructed around ‘experts’ who routinely bypass individual sovereignty
- spectator sports promoting oppositional and egotistic behaviour over co-operation
- celebrity constructs in film and music worshipping ego and status
But what if there was another way? Another way of being part of ‘universe’ without having to destroy everything around us? Other peoples seem able to live on the earth in this way?
Buckminster Fuller was born on 12th July 1895 and lived for 88 years. Some people claim him to be one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century. At art college I even read one of his books called ‘Critical Path’. It wasn’t an easy read, but nestling there in the middle was a secret that changed my life. It was what Buckminster Fuller called the ‘Law of Precession’ and it was based on some of his observations, the results of which he lived his life by also. But I’m getting ahead of myself here – we’ll come to ‘Precession’ in a few minutes.
Times were pretty harsh in the early 1900’s and Buckminster Fuller lost a daughter to illness in circumstances that caused him to feel pretty bad about himself. According to history he was so unhappy he was even considering taking his own life. But a voice popped into his head and said: “your life is not yours to take.”
Now this stopped him dead in his tracks and resulted in him asking himself who owned his life, then possibly THE QUESTION:
“What then, is the purpose of my life?”
He answered it for himself and resolved from that stage on to design and make things to solve global problems surrounding housing, shelter, transportation, education, energy, ecological destruction, and poverty, which he did for the rest of his life.
‘Bucky’ was incredibly creative and before his time in many ways. Ideas and inventions seemed to flow from him in a continuous stream. I would urge you to have a closer look at some of his stuff online.
But back to his ‘Law of Precession’ which, for me at least, is the single greatest influence from his life. From ‘Critical Path’ and I promise it’s the only bit I am going to quote:
“I assumed that humanity was designed to perform an important function in the Universe, a function it would discover only after an initially innocent by-trial-and-error-discovered phase of capability development.
During the initial phase humans, always born naked, helpless and ignorant but with hunger, thirst and curiosity to drive them, have been chromosomically programmed to operate successfully only by means of the general biological inadvertencies of bumbling honey seeking [eg money making].
Therefore what humans called the side effects of their conscious drives in fact produced the main ecological effects of generalized technological regeneration. I therefore assumed that what humanity rated as ‘side effects’ are nature’s main effects. I adopted the precessional ‘side effects’ as my prime objective.”
Note he assumed that humanity has a purpose; we are here for a reason. This in itself is quite radical. We are not really told about this at school. Where, today do you hear people talking about a purpose for the human race? Out there, in the world of celebrity consumer capitalism, the main purpose seems to be to wreck the planet by consuming everything and turning it into rubbish to put into big holes. To watch the telly and support the staus quo by not asking questions and turn expensive pre-packaged food, with its nutrition removed, into poo whilst engendering enough cancers to keep the big pharmaceutical industries in profit.
Buckminster Fuller believed that humanity has a purpose. He set out to make things that would help people to evolve, regardless sometimes of money, getting paid, having a job and all that.
Most of his work was directed at helping solve problems that prevented people from being more self-sufficient. He committed not just himself but also his family to this course of action and lived, by all accounts, a very successful life in traditional terms as well as his own, at least once he started dressing more smartly and stopped being rude to people.
Let’s just look at some of his observations that led to his Law of Precession idea.
When you drop a stone into a lake – where do you see the effect? It happens at 90 degrees to the point of impact.
Buckminster Fuller liked bees. He watched them visiting flowers and saw what was happening. The ‘evolutionary’ effect is happening at 90 degrees to the bee’s ‘purpose’. The bee is driven by the collection of nectar (and pollen). It ‘thinks’ that this is its job. But in collecting nectar the bee is, quite inadvertently, cross-pollinating the flower. This is its ‘job’ in evolutionary terms. He provides other examples of the 90 degree effect.
In a similar way the evident purpose of mankind in making war and pursuing material gain in the form of money, actually has a secondary purpose in ‘evolutionary terms’. So metal created to make weapons became used to make ploughs that farm the land to create food. The Internet, designed originally for the purposes of war, has become endless networks of people leading to the democratisation of knowledge, for those people lucky enough to have access.
So for me the Western capitalist ‘story’ of: get a job, make enough money to get a mortgage, work your whole life through to get a pension, has failed us dramatically. Buckminster Fuller offers us a credible replacement to that story and his life stands in tribute to it.
“The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist.
The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living”.
According to Fuller, start working directly for the evolution of people, planet, universe around you and you will find yourself mysteriously ‘looked after’ by those same forces. Almost never in the ways you expect, always seemingly at the last minute.
I can hear the Newtonian paradigm scientists shouting ‘Woo Woo’ at this already. But you should try it. Here is an amazingly simple way. Seed dispersal. I even made Burdock Hats to make this process easier. Start working for the universe humans and distributing seed. Just see how your luck changes when you help nature.
Example: Burdock hats
Natural sciences are still catching up with the significance of his discoveries. In some cases recognition of the importance of Fuller’s scientific research came only after his death. By then he had registered 25 US patents, written 28 books, travelled around the globe 57 times and received 47 honourary doctorates as well as numerous other awards including a 1969 nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.