Intelligence Engineering Department
R. Buckminster Fuller
in Memoriam

"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty.
I think only how to solve the problem.
But when I've finished, if the solution isn't beautiful... I know it's wrong."

- R Buckminster Fuller

R. Buckminster Fuller (July 12, 1895 to July 1, 1983) was a renowned 20th century architect, mathematician, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor and futurist. Although he was expelled twice from Harvard University and never completed his college education, Fuller published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as Spaceship Earth, ephemeralization, synergetic, and tensegrity. He also developed numerous inventions such as the Dymaxion Map and created amazing architectural designs such as the globally implemented Geodesic Dome. Carbon molecules known as Fullerenes were later named by scientists for their structural and mathematical resemblance to geodesic spheres.

Fuller was the second World President of Mensa from 1974 to 1983.

Philosophically he was concerned with meeting the needs of a growing global civilization while reducing the use of natural resources; his inventions were meant to achieve those goals by simplifying and improving human housing and the objects of daily life. Fuller operated as a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.”

Fuller did not limit himself to one field but worked as a 'comprehensive anticipatory design scientist' to solve global problems surrounding housing, shelter, transportation, education, energy, ecological destruction, and poverty. Throughout the course of his life, Fuller held 28 patents and received 47 honorary degrees. His most well know artifact, the Geodesic Dome, has been produced over 300,000 times worldwide.

As a futurist, Fuller believed human societies would soon rely mainly on renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind derived electricity. He hoped for an age of "omni-successful education and sustenance of all humanity." Fuller referred to himself as "the property of Universe" and during one radio interview he gave later in life, declared himself and his work "the property of all humanity". For his lifetime of work, the American Humanist Association named him the 1969 Humanist of the Year.

Fuller's true impact on the world today can be found in his continued influence upon generations of designers, architects, scientists and artists working to create a more sustainable planet.



Buckminster Fuller was one of our world’s first futurists and global thinkers. His 1963 publication the “Inventory of World Resources, Human Trends and Needs,” contained the findings of his extensive global research. Beginning in the 30s, Fuller correlated this data and made a number of important and accurate predictions about the future of our society. His work in this regard paved the way for contemporary trend watchers like Tom Peters, John Naisbitt, and Alvin Toffler and was instrumental in pioneering the discipline known as Futurology.

Among objects whose creation was influenced by Fuller are: low-cost laptops from Yves Behar and Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child initiative; North Face’s Oval Intention, the first dome-shaped tent, demonstrating Fuller’s notion of “tensegrity” or tensional integrity; David de Rothschild’s Plastiki sailboat, the recycled catamaran of 12,500 plastic water bottles that sailed from San Francisco to Australia; and Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog.

Perhaps Fuller's greatest legacy will prove to be his famous quote: "Dare to be Naive." In our Brave Noö World where cynicism is the dominant cultural and conceptual paradigm, Fuller's challenge of enlightened and informed naïveté is the ultimate in optimism. In a world of post-truth, skepticism and doubt... naïveté is a revolutionary act!

A bibliography and resource links may be found at the bottom of this webpage.

"Dare to be Naive!"

"For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."

"Intuition operates in the twilight zone between conscious and subconscious."

"My philosophy requires of me that I convert not only my own experiences but whatever I can learn of other men's experiences into statements of evolutionary trending and concomitantly defined problem challenges and responses. My philosophy further requires that I at least attempt to solve the problems by
inanimate invention."

"Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value."

- R Buckminster Fuller

Remember... The map is not the territory!  


Item: Bucky Fuller on the Great Pirates
What follows is an extended excerpt from R Buckminster Fuller's book "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." It illustrates his all-encompassing vision of the history of politics on Earth... and more importantly... the ramifications of it. Section titles are courtesy of Tek-Gnostics.

  Hidden Power – Rise of the Great Seafarers

Looking at the total historical pattern of man around the Earth and observing that three quarters of the Earth is water, it seems obvious why men thought of themselves exclusively as pedestrians (dry land specialists). Confined to the quarter of the Earth's surface which is dry land it is easy to see how they came to specialize further as farmers or hunters-or, commanded by their leader, became specialized as soldiers. Less than half of the dry 25 per cent of the Earth's surface was immediately favorable to the support of human life. Thus, throughout history 99.9% of humanity has occupied only 10% of the total Earth surface, dwelling only where life support was visibly obvious. The favorable land was not in one piece, but consisted of a myriad of relatively small parcels widely dispersed over the surface of the enormous Earth sphere. The small isolated groups of humanity were utterly unaware of one another's existence. They were everywhere ignorant of the vast variety of very different environments and resource patterns occurring other than where they dwelt.

But there were a few human beings who gradually, through the process of invention and experiment, built and operated, first… local river and bay, next… along-shore, then… off-shore rafts, dugouts, grass boats, and outrigger sailing canoes. Finally, they developed voluminous rib-bellied fishing vessels, and thereby ventured out to sea for progressively longer periods. Developing ever larger and more capable ships, the seafarers eventually were able to remain for months on the high seas. Thus, these venturers came to live normally at sea. This led them inevitably into world-around, swift, fortune-producing enterprise. Thus they became the first world men.

The men who were able to establish themselves on the oceans had also to be extraordinarily effective with the sword upon both land and sea. Here we see the specialization being greatly amplified under the supreme authority of the comprehensively visionary and brilliantly co-ordinated top swordsman, sea venturer. If his "ship came in" — that is, returned safely from its years' long venturing — all the people in his realm prospered and their leader's power was vastly amplified.

There were very few of these top power men. But as they went on their sea ventures they gradually found that the waters interconnected all the world's people and lands. The sea masters soon found that the people in each of the different places visited knew nothing of people in other places. The great venturers found the resources of Earth very unevenly distributed, and discovered that by bringing together various resources occurring remotely from one another one complemented the other in producing tools, services, and consumables of high advantage and value. Thus resources in one place which previously had seemed to be absolutely worthless suddenly became highly valued. Enormous wealth was generated by what the sea venturers could do in the way of integrating resources and distributing the products to the, everywhere around the world, amazed and eager customers. So these very few masters of the water world became incalculably rich and powerful.

The great sea venturers thought always in terms of the world, because the world's waters are continuous and cover three-quarters of the Earth planet. This meant that before the invention and use of the radio, 99.9% of humanity thought only in the terms of their own local terrain. Despite our recently developed communications intimacy and popular awareness of total Earth, we too are as yet politically organized entirely in the terms of exclusive and utterly obsolete sovereign separateness. 

Nationalism - The Rise of the Illuminati

Under these everyday, knowledge-thwarting or limiting circumstances of humanity, the comprehensively-informed master venturers of history who went to sea soon realized that the only real competition they had was that of other powerful outlaws who might also know or hope to learn through experience "what it is all about." I call these sea mastering people the great outlaws or Great Pirates — the G. P.'s — simply because the arbitrary laws enacted or edicted by men on the land could not be extended effectively to control humans beyond their shores and out upon the seas. So the world men who lived on the seas were inherently outlaws, and the only laws that could and did rule them were the natural laws-the physical laws of universe which when tempestuous were often cruelly devastating. High seas combined with nature's fog and night-hidden rocks were uncompromising.

And it followed that these Great Pirates came into mortal battle with one another to see who was going to control the vast sea routes and eventually the world. Their battles took place out of sight of landed humanity. Most of the losers went to the bottom utterly unbeknownst to historians. Those who stayed on the top of the waters and prospered did so because of their comprehensive capability. That is they were the antithesis of specialists. They had high proficiency in dealing with celestial navigation, the storms, the sea, the men, the ship, economics, biology, geography, history, and science. The wider and more long-distanced their anticipatory strategy, the more successful they became.

But these hard, powerful, brilliantly resourceful sea masters had to sleep occasionally, and therefore found it necessary to surround themselves with super-loyal, muscular but dull-brained illiterates who could not see nor savvy their masters' stratagems. There was great safety in the mental dullness of these henchmen. The Great Pirates realized that the only people who could possibly contrive to displace them were the truly bright people. For this reason their number one strategy was secrecy. If the other powerful pirates did not know where you were going, nor when you had gone, nor when you were coming back, they would not know how to waylay you. If anyone knew when you were coming home, "small-timers" could come out in small boats and waylay you in the dark and take you over-just before you got home tiredly after a two-year treasure-harvesting voyage. Thus hijacking and second-rate piracy became a popular activity around the world's shores and harbors. Thus secrecy became the essence of the lives of the successful pirates; ergo, how little is known today of that which I am relating.

Leonardo da Vinci is the outstanding example of the comprehensively anticipatory design scientist. Operating under the patronage of the Duke of Milan he designed the fortified defenses and weaponry as well as the tools of peaceful production. Many other great military powers had their comprehensive design scientist-artist inventors; Michelangelo was another of them.

Many persons wonder why we do not have such men today. It is a mistake to think we cannot. What happened at the time of Leonardo and Galileo was that mathematics was so improved by the advent of the zero that not only was much more scientific shipbuilding made possible but also much more reliable navigation. Immediately thereafter truly large-scale venturing on the world's oceans commenced, and the strong sword-leader patrons as admirals put their Leonardos to work, first in designing their new and more powerful world-girdling ships. Next they took their Leonardos to sea with them as their “seagoing Merlins” to invent ever more powerful tools and strategies on a world-around basis to implement their great campaigns to best all the other great pirates, thereby enabling them to become masters of the world and of all its people and wealth. The required and scientifically designed secrecy of the sea operations thus pulled a curtain that hid the Leonardos from public view, popular ken, and recorded history.

Finally, the sea-dwelling Leonardos became Captains of the ships or even Admirals of Fleets, or Commandants of the Navy yards where they designed and built the fleets, or they became the commandants of the naval war colleges where they designed and developed the comprehensive strategy for running the world for a century to come. This included not only the designing of the network of world-around voyaging and of the ships for each task but also the designing of the industrial establishments and world-around mining operations and naval base-building for production and maintenance of the ships.

This Leonardo-type planning inaugurated today's large-scale, world-around industrialization's vast scale of thinking. When the Great Pirates came to building steel steamships and blast furnaces and railroad tracks to handle the logistics, the Leonardos appeared momentarily again in such men as Telford who built the railroads, tunnels, and bridges of England, as well as the first great steamship.

East India Company coat of armsYou may say, "Aren't you talking about the British Empire?" I answer, No… the so-called British Empire was a manifest of the world-around misconception of who ran things and a disclosure of the popular ignorance of the Great Pirates' absolute world-controlling through their local-stooge sovereigns and their prime ministers, as only innocuously and locally modified here and there by the separate sovereignties' internal democratic processes. As we soon shall see, the British Isles lying off the coast of Europe constituted in effect a fleet of unsinkable ships and naval bases commanding all the great harbors of Europe. Those islands were the possession of the topmost Pirates. Since the Great Pirates were building, maintaining, supplying their ships on those islands, they also logically made up their crews out of the native islanders who were simply seized or commanded aboard by imperial edict. Seeing these British Islanders aboard the top pirate ships the people around the world mistakenly assumed that the world conquest by the Great Pirates was a conquest by the will, ambition, and organization of the British people.

Thus was the G. P.'s grand deception victorious.

But the people of those islands never had the ambition to go out and conquer the world. As a people they were manipulated by the top pirates and learned to cheer as they were told of their nation's world prowess.

The topmost Great Pirates' Leonardos discovered-both in their careful, long-distance planning and in their anticipatory inventing — that the grand strategies of sea power made it experimentally clear that a plurality of ships could usually outmaneuver one ship. So the Great Pirates' Leonardos invented navies. Then, of course, they had to control various resource-supplying mines, forests, and lands with which and upon which to build the ships and establish the industries essential to building, supplying, and maintaining their navy's ships.

Then came the grand strategy which said… "divide and conquer." You divide up the other man's ships in battle or you best him when several of his ships are hauled out on the land for repairs. They also had a grand strategy of anticipatory divide and conquer. Anticipatory divide and conquer was much more effective than tardy divide and conquer, since it enabled those who employed it to surprise the other pirate under conditions unfavorable to the latter, So the great top pirates of the world, realizing that dull people were innocuous and that the only people who could contrive to displace the supreme pirates were the bright ones, set about to apply their grand strategy of anticipatory divide and conquer to solve that situation comprehensively.

The Great Pirate came into each of the various lands where he either acquired or sold goods profitably and picked the strongest man there to be his local head man. The Pirate's picked man became the Pirate's general manager of the local realm. If the Great Pirate's local strong man in a given land had not already done so, the Great Pirate told him to proclaim himself king. Despite the local head man's secret subservience to him, the Great Pirate allowed and counted upon his king-stooge to convince his countrymen that he, the local king, was indeed the head man of all men — the god-ordained ruler. To guarantee that sovereign claim the Pirates gave their stooge-kings secret lines of supplies which provided everything required to enforce the sovereign claim. The more massively bejeweled the kings gold crown, and the more visible his court and castle, the less visible was his pirate master.

The Great Pirates said to all their lieutenants around the world, "Any time bright young people show up, I'd like to know about it, because we need bright men." So each time the Pirate came into port the local king-ruler would mention that he had some bright, young men whose capabilities and thinking shone out in the community. The Great Pirate would say to the king, "All right, you summon them and deal with them as follows: As each young man is brought forward you say to him, 'Young man, you are very bright. I'm going to assign you to a great history tutor and in due course… if you study well and learn enough… I'm going to make you my Royal Historian, but you've got to pass many examinations by both your teacher and myself.'" And when the next bright boy was brought before him the King was to say, "I'm going to make you my Royal Treasurer," and so forth. Then the Pirate said to the king, "You will finally say to all of them: But each of you must mind your own business or off go your heads. I'm the only one who minds everybody's business.' "

And this is the way schools began — as the royal tutorial schools.

You realize, I hope, that I am not being facetious. That is it. This is the beginning of schools and colleges and the beginning of intellectual specialization. Of course, it took great wealth to start schools, to have great teachers, and to house, clothe, feed, and cultivate both teachers and students. Only the Great-Pirate-protected robber-barons and the Pirate-protected and secret intelligence-exploited international religious organizations could afford such scholarship investment. And the development of the bright ones into specialists gave the king very great brain power, and made him and his kingdom the most powerful in the land and thus, secretly and greatly, advantaged his patron Pirate in the world competition with the other Great Pirates.

But specialization is in fact only a fancy form of slavery wherein the "expert" is fooled into accepting his slavery by making him feel that in return he is in a socially and culturally preferred, ergo, highly secure, lifelong position. But only the king's son received the Kingdom-wide scope of training.

However, the big thinking in general of a spherical Earth and celestial navigation was retained exclusively by the Great Pirates, in contradistinction to a four-cornered, flat world concept, with empire and kingdom circumscribed knowledge, constricted to only that which could be learned through localized preoccupations. Knowledge of the world and its resources was enjoyed exclusively by the Great Pirates, as were also the arts of navigation, shipbuilding and handling, and of grand logistical strategies and of nationally-undetectable, therefore effectively deceptive, international exchange media and trade balancing tricks by which the top pirate, as (in gambler's parlance) "the house," always won.

Modern Science – The fall of the Illuminati

Then there came a time, which was World War I, when the most powerful out-pirates challenged the in-pirates with the scientific and technological innovation of an entirely new geometry of thinking. The out-pirates’ attack went under and above the sea surface and into the invisible realm of electronics and chemical warfaring. Caught off-guard, the in-pirates, in order to save themselves, had to allow their scientists to go to work on their own inscrutable terms. Thus, in saving themselves, the Great Pirates allowed the scientists to plunge their grand, industrial logistics, support strategy into the vast ranges of the electro-magnetic spectrum that were utterly invisible to the pirates.

The pirates until then had ruled the world through their extraordinarily keen senses. They judged things for themselves, and they didn't trust anyone else's eyes. They trusted only that which they could personally smell, hear, touch, or see. But the Great Pirates couldn't see what was going on in the vast ranges of the electro-magnetic reality. Technology was going from wire to wireless, from track to trackless, from pipe to pipeless, and from visible structural muscle to the invisible chemical element strengths of metallic alloys and electro-magnetics.

The Great Pirates came out of that “first world war” unable to cope knowledgeably with what was going on in the advanced scientific frontiers of industry. The pirates delegated inspection to their "troubleshooter" experts, but had to content themselves with relayed second-hand information. This forced them to appraise blindly-ergo, only opinionatedly — whether this or that man really knew what he was talking about, for the G. P.'s couldn't judge for themselves. Thus the Great Pirates were no longer the masters. That was the end. The Great Pirates became extinct. But because the G. P.'s had always operated secretly, and because they hoped they were not through, they of course did not announce or allow it to be announced that they were extinct. And because the public had never known of them and had been fooled into thinking of their kingly stooges and local politicians as being in reality the head men, society was… and is… as yet unaware either that the Great Pirates once ran the world or that they are now utterly extinct.

Though the pirates are extinct, all of our international trade balancing and money ratings, as well as all economic accounting, in both the capitalistic and communistic countries, hold strictly to the rules, value systems, terminology, and concepts established by those Great Pirates. Powerful though many successors to the Great Pirates' fragmented dominions may be, no one government, religion, or enterprise now holds the world's physical or metaphysical initiatives.

The New Paradigm

The metaphysical initiative, too, has gone into competitive confusion between old religions and more recent political or scientific ideologies. These competitors are already so heavily weighted with physical investments and proprietary expediencies as to vitiate (impair) any metaphysical initiative. A new, physically uncompromised, metaphysical initiative of unbiased integrity could unify the world. It could… and probably will be provided by the utterly impersonal problem solutions of the computers (and the internet). Only to their superhuman range of calculative capabilities can and may all political, scientific, and religious leaders face-savingly acquiesce.

Abraham Lincoln's concept of "right triumphing over might" was realized when Einstein… as metaphysical intellect… wrote the equation of physical universe E = Mc2 and thus comprehended it. Thus the metaphysical took the measure of, and mastered, the physical. That relationship seems by experience to be irreversible. Nothing in our experience suggests that energy could comprehend and write the equation of intellect. That equation is operating inexorably, and the metaphysical is now manifesting its ability to reign over the physical.

This is the essence of human evolution upon Spaceship Earth. If the present planting of humanity upon Spaceship Earth cannot comprehend this inexorable process and discipline itself to serve exclusively that function of metaphysical mastering of the physical it will be discontinued, and its potential mission in universe will be carried on by the metaphysically endowed capabilities of other beings on other spaceship planets of universe.

- Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller


- from wikipedia

  • 4d Timelock (1928)

  • Nine Chains to the Moon (1938)

  • Untitled Epic Poem on the History of Industrialization (1962)

  • Ideas and Integrities, a Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure (1963) ISBN 0-13-449140-8

  • No More Secondhand God and Other Writings (1963)

  • Education Automation: Freeing the Scholar to Return (1963)

  • What I Have Learned: A Collection of 20 Autobiograhical Essays, Chapter "How Little I Know", (1968)

  • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969) ISBN 0-8093-2461-X

  • Utopia or Oblivion (1969) ISBN 0-553-02883-9

  • Approaching the Benign Environment (1970) ISBN 0-8173-6641-5 (with Eric A. Walker and James R. Killian, Jr.)

  • I Seem to Be a Verb (1970) coauthors Jerome Agel, Quentin Fiore, ISBN 1-127-23153-7

  • Intuition (1970)

  • Buckminster Fuller to Children of Earth (1972) compiled and photographed by Cam Smith, ISBN 0-385-02979-9

  • The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller (1960, 1973) coauthor Robert Marks, ISBN 0-385-01804-5

  • Earth, Inc (1973) ISBN 0-385-01825-8

  • Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975) in collaboration with E.J. Applewhite with a preface and contribution by Arthur L. Loeb, ISBN 0-02-541870-X

  • Tetrascroll: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, A Cosmic Fairy Tale (1975)

  • And It Came to Pass — Not to Stay (1976) ISBN 0-02-541810-6

  • R. Buckminster Fuller on Education (1979) ISBN 0-87023-276-2

  • Synergetics 2: Further Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1979) in collaboration with E.J. Applewhite

  • Buckminster Fuller Sketchbook (1981)

  • Critical Path (1981) ISBN 0-312-17488-8

  • Grunch of Giants (1983) ISBN 0-312-35193-3

  • Inventions: The Patented Works of R. Buckminster Fuller (1983) ISBN 0-312-43477-4

  • Humans in Universe (1983) coauthor Anwar Dil, ISBN 0-89925-001-7

  • Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity (1992) coauthor Kiyoshi Kuromiya, ISBN 0-02-541850-5


Buckminster Fuller Institute

Fuller @ Essential Architecture

Fuller on PBS

Bucky Fuller Travelling Miracle Medicine Show