Operating manual for spaceship earth by R. Buckminster fuller
Carbondale, Illinois : Southern Illinois University Press, 1969. First Edition. Hardcover. 143 pages ; 18 cm. $4.25 dust jacket. Previous owner name on the front free endpaper. No other markings within this book. Binding is firm.
Readers young and old will find here brilliant syntheses of fundamental Fuller principles, challenging in ideas
In this essay on man Mr. Fuller expresses what may well be his penultimate view of the human condition. In previous works, and in countless addresses to professional groups and students around the world, Mr. Fuller has enunciated the principles of his comprehensive anticipatory design science. His contributions to technological advances, his boldly imaginative inventions, and his startlingly original projections into the future are well known, and have brought him many honors. Here, in a mood at once philosophical and involved, Mr. Fuller traces man's intellectual evolution and weighs his capability for survival on this magnificent craft, this Spaceship Earth, this superbly designed sphere of almost negligible dimension in the great vastness of space.
Mr. Fuller is, he says, enthusiastic about humanity's extraordinary ingenuity and initiative, but in his over-view of history he finds that man's capabilities have been slow in evolving. He points out that man has learned painfully to cope with his environment, that the strong—those he calls the Great Pirates—dominated the weak, discovered and exploited the sea lanes connecting the insignificant land masses, and encouraged specialization, by means of which they as generalists of great comprehensive capability controlled the world up to the end of World War l . Because of the scientific explosion at the end of the first world war, Mr. Fuller finds, the Great Pirates were doomed. And though political divisions in the world clung to specialization of a kind and scientists themselves attempted to specialize still, the rapid advancement of knowledge and the development of the computer in the interval of two world wars inexorably commanded automation, by which man is going to be displaced altogether as a specialist, Mr. Fuller says.
Hence, according to Mr. Fuller, man is being forced to reestablish, employ, and enjoy his innate "comprehensivity." Coping with the totality of Spaceship Earth and the universe is ahead for all of us, he says. And in key chapters, "General Systems Theory/' "Synergy," and "Integral Functions," Mr. Fuller brilliantly diagnoses ways and means of coping with our problems and of enjoying the great wealth of our globe through progressive mastery of matter by mind.
Mr. Fuller is optimistic that man will survive and, through research and development and increased industrialization, generate wealth so rapidly that he can do very great things. But, he notes, there must be an enormous educational task successfully accomplished right now to convert man's tendency toward oblivion into a realization of his potential, to a universe-exploring advantage from his Spaceship Earth.
Mr. Fuller, it has been noted, spins ideas in clusters, and clusters of his ideas generate still other clusters. The concept "spaceship earth" is Mr. Fuller's, and though used by Barbara Ward as the title of a work of her own, the idea was acknowledged by her there as deriving from Mr. Fuller.
The terms and concepts used by Mr. Fuller in Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth will be readily recognizable to readers familiar with his work. The brilliant syntheses of some fundamental Fuller principles given here makes of this book a microcosm of the Fuller system. Readers young and old will find Mr. Fuller's book provocative and challenging in ideas and delightful and refreshing in style and manner.
R. Buckminster Fuller's recent honors include the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, awarded by Her Majesty the Queen, on recommendation of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the 1968 Gold Medal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Mr. Fuller has been a Research Professor at Southern Illinois University since 1959. In 1968 the Board of Trustees appointed him University Professor, the second faculty member so honored in the University's history.
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