Richard Buckminster ("Bucky") Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, poet, author, and inventor. Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question of whether humanity has a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how. Considering himself an average individual without special monetary means or academic degree, he chose to devote his life to this question, trying to find out what an individual like him could do to improve humanity's condition that large organizations, governments, or private enterprises inherently could not do.
Pursuing this lifelong experiment, Fuller wrote 28 books, coining and popularizing terms such as "spaceship earth," ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also created a large number of inventions, mostly in the fields of design and architecture, the best-known of which is the geodesic dome.
Late in his life, after working on his concepts for several decades, Fuller had achieved considerable public visibility. He traveled the world giving lectures, and received numerous honorary doctorates. Most of his inventions, however, never made it into production, and he was strongly criticized in most of the fields that he tried to influence (such as architecture), or simply dismissed as a hopeless utopian. Fuller's proponents, on the other hand, claim that his work has not yet received the attention that it deserves
One of the most powerful influences on R. Buckminster Fuller was a pair of glasses he obtained as he was entering kindergarten in 1900. They were to become his trademark.
In 1927 he contemplated suicide, but at the last minute decided to re-think everything he had ever been taught to believe, dedicated himself to serving mankind, and began a complete inventory of world resources.
In the 1940s he recognized the emergence of an invisible reality which could be perceived only by the mind. In the 1970s Fuller realized that it was now possible to provide a very high standard of living for all mankind, making resource-wars obsolete.
Richard Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller, (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983), was an American-born architect who worked and taught all around the planet. He popularized the term 'synergy', wrote over 21 books, and was granted 28 U.S. patents. He wrote and lectured on the nature of the Universe, the role of human beings, history, and corporations. His life is considered to be the most documented in history.
Up to the age of four Fuller didn't realize that the patterns he had grown accustomed to were the result of near-sightedness until his family realized the situation and fitted him with corrective lenses. His most vivid childhood memory was welcoming in the new century with his first pair glasses. His pursuit of the patterns he found in nature continued throughout his life. His search for nature's coordinate system, and mankind's role in the universe began while he watched bubbles and realized that nature doesn't use Pi to create spheres.
Often thought of as an eccentric utopian, Fuller was a critic of the way society had been organized since the time of the Phoencians. His view of history revealed the increasing significance of mind-power over muscle-power. He claimed to be a verb, predicted a one world family, and claimed that every human being could comprehend the principles of the Universe, (through general systems analysis), and continue the creative work begun by God.
The invitations, awards, and appointments which followed him through all the days of his adult life were not the result of self-promotion, but came because others recognized the value of his design science  work.
Born to R. B. Fuller and Caroline Wolcott Andrews in Milton, Massachusetts, Bucky grew up on the family farm off the coast of Maine on Bear Island. He had no expection that in his lifetime mankind would go from horse and buggy to walking on the Moon.
Relatives who influenced his thinking during the first decade of the 1900s included his great aunt Margaret Fuller Assoli (who, with Ralph Waldo Emerson co-edited the Transcendentalist magazine, the Dial, were the first to publish Henry David Thoreau, and was author of Woman in the Nineteenth Century); his uncle, Waldo Fuller (a Harvard football player, 1883, a chief engineer on the NYC subway system, and Klondike gold rush participant); and grandmother, Matilda Wolcott Andrews, (whose family bought Bear, Compass, and Little Sprucehead Islands off the coast of Maine). After elementary school, he attended Milton Academy upper school.
Fuller, inspired by Robert Burns, began keeping a journal when he was 12 years old, (1907), in the hopes of seeing himself as others saw him, and getting a glimpse of his "comprehensively integrated self." He later renamed his journal the "Chronofile." His father, Richard, one of several generations of Harvard-educated Fullers, had a stroke that year and died three years later.
During the second decade of the twentieth century Fuller continued his education, graduating from Milton Academy in 1913 and followed in the footsteps of his father's family by enrolling at Harvard (as a member of the Class of 1917). But Bucky was expelled a year later. He moved to Quebec, Canada and worked at a cotton mill until given a second chance at Harvard. A year later he was expelled again. This time he went to New York City and got a 12-hour-a-day job with the Armour meat packing company.
Fuller's short military career began in 1916, (two years after the beginning of World War I), when he entered the U.S. military training camp in Plattsburg, NY, as a corporal. A year later he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, and married Anne Hewlett on his birthday. Their first daughter, Alexandra was born in 1918. That same year, he was assigned to a short special course at the Annapolis Naval Academy in Maryland, and a year later was temporarily assigned to the USS George Washington, then to another special course at Annapolis. Promoted to Lt. USN, he was assigned to troop transport duty as a personal aide to Admiral Albert Gleaves. He also saw service on the USS Great Northern and USS Seattle.
The Navy provided much food for Fuller's thoughts about history and the Universe. But on November 1, 1919 he resigned when Adm. Gleaves was re-assigned, and his daughter, Alexandra, got sick.
The beginning of the 1920s saw Fuller again working for Armour and Company, this time as an assistant export manager in their New York City headquarters. But in 1921 he resigned to become a national account sales manager with the Kelly-Springfield truck company, also in NYC.
The following year he resigned from Kelly-Springfield to start a career as an "independent enterpriser" and joined with his father-in-law in developing the Stockade Building System, and built light-weight, weatherproof, and fireproof houses. That year saw Alexandra die of complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Four years later, in 1926, after not making any money building houses, Fuller resigned as president of Stockade.
Believing that his was a "throwaway life" at 32, (1927), Fuller contemplated suicide. Standing on a river pier, he nearly threw himself into the water. But, instead, decided to do his own thinking for the first time in his life, and embarked on an "experiment" to see what one person in his situation could do to benefit mankind.
Fuller got serious about housing, and published his first book, 4-D Timelock, established a research and development company, and began developing his "energetic/synergetic geometry." During this time he invented a "dymaxion dwelling machine" (image pending) as part of his concept of air-deliverable, mass-produceable houses based on anticipatory design science.
In 1929 Fuller was a regular at Romany Marie's Tavern in Greenwich Village, NY, eating dinner with associates and discussing the development of his ideas.
The 1930s saw Fuller buy a magazine in Philadelphia, at about the same time, he was featured in a Fortune magazine article on the housing industry. His mother, Caroline, passed away during this time; and he got involved with experimental television broadcasts at CBS studios; and then became the science and technology consultant for Fortune magazine.
As he pursued his research and development activities in the 1940s, Fuller entered his element when he realized that an "invisible world" based on technological know-how, was beginning to emerge and reshape the world. At this time Fuller began an informal, but long-term, relationship with the U.S. government.
In 1940 Fuller left Fortune magazine and started the deployment unit of the Butler Manufacturing Company in Kansas City. (Butler manufactured metal buildings used as radar shacks and dorms for U.S. flyers and mechanics.)
Two years later Fuller joined the U.S. Board of Economic Warfare as its head mechanical engineer in Washington, DC. And in 1944 he became a special assistant to the Deputy Director of the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration.
Until 1946 Fuller lived in Wichita, Kansas, where he, as chief design engineer, produced a prototype of the Dymaxion house under the auspices of a coalition of labor, private, and government organizations. Also in 1946 Fuller was awarded the first cartographic projection patent ever granted by the U.S. Patent Office for his Dymaxion map of the world. The map can be configured to show the Earth as either a one-ocean planet or as a one-island planet, without distorting the size of the continents. thumb|caption (image pending)
The following year Fuller invented the geodesic dome it was the first building that could sustain its own weight with no practical limits; and became a professor at Black Mountain College [www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/archives/bmc_web_page/bmc3.htm] in North Carolina, which was his first academic appointment. In 1948 he returned to Massachusetts as a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) while teaching summer sessions at Black Mountain, where he became a dean in 1949. He also got involved with the Chicago Institute of Design.
The beginning of increased activity
The 1950s saw Fuller's academic schedule begin to increase; his geometry began to be recognized by the scientific community, and he received his first major award. In 1951 Fuller pointed out the similarities between the DNA helix and his tetrahelix model. [images of dna and/or tetrahelix.jpg]
After the geodesic dome was patented in 1954, the U.S. Marine Corps began using the domes for air-lifted housing. Meanwhile, the work of Thomas Malthus is discredited as the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization acknowledges that Malthus was wrong (1955).
In 1956 Fuller began a long-term relationship with Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU), with his first visiting lecturer appointment there. Two years later, as he is making his first complete circuit of the Earth in the fulfillment of regular university appointments, Fuller's geometry is found to explain nature's fundamental structuring at the atomic and virus levels by nuclear physicists and molecular biologists. And he is awarded a Gold Medal by the National Architectural Society.
And in 1959 he was appointed by the State Department as an engineering representative to the Soviet Union (USSR) in a protocol exchange. He is also appointed as a research professor at SIU and is awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree that year.
By 1961 over 2,000 geodesic domes had been produced by over 100 industrial corporations, delivered primarily by air, and installed in 40 countries as well in both polar zones.
In a strange twist of irony, Fuller receives a one-year (1962) appointment as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. This begins the rehabilitation of Fuller's Harvard years.
1962 also began the Houston Astrodome debacle in which Fuller did all the preparatory research for the project, but at the last minute the project was given to another company to build.
In 1963 the World Congress of Virologists acknowledge that Fuller's formula of frequency leads to the finding of virus protein shells. He publishes four books; and begins involvement with Doxiadis' Delos Symposium as a member and speaker.
In 1965 Fuller inaugurated the World Design Science Decade  (1965 to 1975) at the meeting of the International Union of Architects in Paris, France. A year later he initiates the World Game  at SIU; and lectures scientists and engineers on the commercial spinoffs from space technology at Cape Kennedy (Kennedy Space Center).
In 1967, in the ultimate step toward rehabilitation, the Harvard Class of 1917 inducted Fuller into Phi Beta Kappa during their 50th reunion. Meanwhile, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) commissions him to research a tetrahedronal floating city project as he fulfills an appointment as the Harvey Cushing Orator at the Congress of the American Association of Neuro-Surgeons' annual meeting in Chicago. He explained the difference between the human brain and the mind to the 2,000 members of the organization.
In 1968, those who read Playboy magazine for the articles, read Fuller's article on The City of the Future.
The following year, Fuller led the first public World Game workshop (in New York state); and testifies on the World Game before the US Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations at the invitation of the Chairman, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine. Then Fuller went to India to lecture on planetary planning.
After being cited as "Humanist of the Year," Fuller became the Hoyt Fellow at Yale, and receives a Citation of Merit from HUD.
Among all his other projects, Fuller was an amateur historian who produced an interesting view of the past based on oceanic trade routes. In 1970 his view of pre-history was supported by archeological discoveries, and he was awarded Stone Age axes from Australia and Finland in recognition of this work. In the meantime, his book I Seem to be a Verb is published by Bantam, and he is installed as "Master Architect for Life" by the national chapter of the Alpha Rho Chi fraternity.
In an unprecedented move, in 1971, The New York Times printed Fuller's telegram to Senator Edmund Muskie - it filled the entire OpEd page.
In 1972 the special 40th anniversary issue of Architectural Forum, and England's Architectural Design magazines were devoted to Fuller's work; and Playboy interviewed him.
Fuller continued to receive an ever-increasing number of awards and honors. In 1974, during his 37th complete circuit of Earth in fulfillment of invitations and academic responsibilities, Fuller gives 150 major addresses. Meanwhile, the Club of Rome reintroduces the ideas of Thomas Malthus within their Limits to Growth report.
The following year Fuller published Synergetics, (the result of his 50 years of work on what he claimed to be nature's geometric coordinate system). The book contains an introduction and article by Harvard mathematician Arthur Loeb, who warns that that the book would restimulate wide-spread interest in geometry.
While Synergetics is hitting the bookstores, Fuller is named Professor Emeritus at SIU and the University of Pennsylvania; makes his 39th circuit of Earth, and testifies before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
In 1976 Fuller creates the "Jitterbug sculpture"—demonstrating fourth dimensional wave generation. He testifies at the US House hearing on the recovery of the city, and speaks at Habitat: the UN conference on Human Settlements, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
In 1977 Fuller was the first witness at the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Small Business hearings on alternate energy, then left on a Far East lecture tour sponsored by the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency; he also wrote an article, "50 Years Ahead of My Time," for the Saturday Evening Post.
In 1978 he testifies before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and describes using satellites to take daily inventories of everything from world resources to global public opinion polls. And then appears on Will Durant's NBC television series, Lessons of History.
The last year of the 1970s found Fuller in NYC with EST founder Werner Erhard. They presented their views of the world at Radio City Music Hall before 6,000 people. Erhard made the startling statement that he never considered principles to be important until he met Fuller.
Fuller made an equally startling statement, which reflected his life-long concern about the continued existence of the human race. He said to the audience: "To be optimistic about the future you have to know a lot. But to be pessimistic about the future you don't have to know nothing." When asked by a reporter how could one learn what he knows, Fuller simply answered: "Read my books."
The last few years of his life demonstrated his dedication to the fate of mankind. In 1980 he traveled to Brazil to view the implementation of industrialization strategies he first described in 1942; was appointed to a Presidential Commission to follow up the Carter-commissioned Global 2000 Report, (which was based on the Limits to Growth report); and was appointed to a congressional committee on the future.
1980 also saw the issue of the Robert Grip-Christopher Kitrick edition of Fuller's Dymaxion sky-ocean world map, which was acknowledged as the largest, most accurate, whole Earth map in history.
His books, Critical Path (1981) and Grunch of Giants (1983), are easily accessible overviews of his life's work. But 1983 also saw his wife, Anne, dying of cancer. On July 1st, Buckminster Fuller passed away, and Anne slipped away hours later. He is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston, Massachusetts, after completing almost 50 circuits of the planet.
Philosophy and world view
It is easy to classify Fuller as a Natural Philosopher, (drawing insights from nature with no supernatural intervention). But he was also a metaphysics, (pointing to the essential role of the invisible reality). He always emphasized that he was an average person who had done nothing anyone else couldn't do.
The most easily-accessable presentation of Fuller's philosophy and worldview comes from Critical Path in a review of a set of "self disciplines" which he imposed upon himself and used to guide his life.
In his early days, Fuller followed the guidance of his elders (parents and relatives) who always said, in effect, "Darling, never mind what you think. Listen. We are trying to teach you."
He also encountered an important piece of advice from his grandmother who revealed to him the Golden Rule: "Love thy neighbor as thyself—do unto others as you would they should do unto you."
But as he got older his uncles gave him the facts of life, which was the standard belief system of most people during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. "Life is hard," they told him in so many words. "There is nowhere nearly enough life support for everybody on our planet, let alone enough for a comfortable life. If you want to raise a family and have a comfortable life for them, you are going to have to deprive others of the opportunity to survive, and the sooner the better." This was an idea which may as well have come from the mouths of Thomas Malthus, Charles Darwin, and Herbert Spencer. His uncles told him that "Your grandmother's Golden Rule is beautiful, but it doesn't work."
Knowing that his family loved him, Fuller trained himself to ignore his own thinking and learned the game of life as taught by others.
As a line officer in the U.S. Navy, (1917 at age 22), he renamed his journal the "Chronofile" to document his success in the world. But after leaving the Navy he realized that he was a "spontaneous failure" when it came to the business world. At the age of 32 he decided to use himself in a life-long "experiment" which he called the "Evolution of Guinea Pig B" (B for Buckminster).
Instead of committing his efforts to the exclusive benefit of himself, his family, or his country, Fuller decided to commit all his productive potential to seeing "what a healthy young male human of average size, experience, and capabilities with a dependent wife and newborn child, with no money, credit, or university degree, could effectively do to lastingly improve the physical protection and support of all human lives, while at the same time removing undesirable restraints and improving individual initiatives of any and all humans."
This required a comprehensive and integrated view of the world—the entire planet and all its resources, and the cumulative, metaphysical know-how of humanity.
Since it was obvious that no one had pursued such a course in the past, Fuller was forced by circumstance to do his own thinking about how to proceed with the "experiment." So he confined his thoughts to experientially-gained information, and to the products of his own thinking and intuitions. This was in order to be true to himself, instead of trying to accommodate everyone else's opinions as he had previously done.
Another of his "self discipines" was to commit himself to not taking advantage of others or putting them at a disadvantage. And he had to demonstrate that his goals could only be accomplished through his work and not through social reform.
But the data and devices he produced also had to be so effective that they would result in a more desirable life-style, and be "spontaneously adopted" by all mankind. The only catch was that he couldn't talk about any of his inventions until they had been proven or disproven.
Along this line, Fuller never tried to persuade people to alter their customs and viewpoints by promoting his ideas or, through agents, promoting his work. All support had to come spontaneously, at nature's own pace, with the evolution of human affairs.
But he also sought to develop his "artifacts" with enough time margins so they would be ready for use when they were needed to overcome certain inevitable social emergencies.
Of course he made a point of learning all that he could from his mistakes, (he admits to making a lot of them). And, while decreasing the time wasted in worried procrastination, he sought to increase the time he invested in the discovery of technological effectiveness.
And while doing this, he also sought to document his development in the official records by obtaining government patents.
The Beginning of Real Work
In order to accomplish all he set for himself, Fuller sought to discover the role of human beings within the Universe, and to comprehend the principles of the "eternally regenerative Universe" in order to employ these principles in the development of the specific artifacts that would hasten humanity's fulfillment of its essential role in the Universe.
To help accomplish this "self discipline," he made comprehensive inventories of naturally occurring phenomena, and inventories of human discovery and developments throughout history. (For example, arsenic was first isolated in 1250 C.E. in Italy.)
Because no one else had pursued such a course, he sought to operate only on a do-it-yourself basis and only on the basis of his intuition.
The final element of his "self disciplines" was to orient his "comprehensive anticipatory design science strategies" toward future generations.
Redefining the world
A major element of his philosophy was his comprehensive scientific definition of the Universe, (which includes the familiar physical aspect, as well as the previously ignored metaphysical aspect), that provides the basis for understanding everything else.
He critiqued the power structure, (which he traces back into the distant past), the failure of the education system, popular religion, and many other things.
But far from just criticizing what he didn't like, Fuller offered valid alternatives to the status quo. But, as generally acknowledged, Fuller was ahead of his time. And that earned him the early reputation of being "a cheerful nut."
Some quotes from Synergetics
Some quotes from Synergetics  will assist the reader who is unfamiliar with Fuller to get a firmer grasp on his philosophy. (The full text of the book is available for download online.) The sub-section numbers (included in the text) will assist in finding the relevant quotes in the context of the complete text.
000.111 Up until the 20th century reality consisted of everything that humans could see, smell, touch, and hear. Then at the entry into the 20th century the electron was discovered. A century after the time of Malthus much of science became invisible with the introduction of an era of electronics, electromagnetics, and atomics. These invisible micro- and macro-exploring cosmic instruments provided for rearrangements of atomic interpositioning whose metallic alloying and chemical structuring produces ever more powerful and incisive performances per pound of physical matter employed.
(This is a phenomena Fuller refers to as "ephemeralization" which produces the ability to do more with less, metaphysically.)
000.125 The fact that 99 percent of humanity does not understand nature is the prime reason for humanity's failure to exercise its option to attain universally sustainable physical success on this planet. The prime barrier to humanity's discovery and comprehension of nature is the obscurity of the mathematical language of science. Fortunately, however, nature is not using the strictly imaginary, awkward, and unrealistic coordinate system adopted by and taught by present-day academic science.
000.128 Nature is using this completely conceptual eight-dimensional coordinate system that can be comprehended by anyone. Fortunately television, is spontaneously attractive and can be used to teach all the world's people nature's coordinating system-and can do so in time to make it possible for all humanity to favorably comprehend and to exercise its option to attain universal physical success, thereby eliminating forevermore all world politics and competition for the right to live. …
000.129 Nature's coordinate system is called Synergetics ("synergy" means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by any part of the system as considered only separately). The eternally regenerative Universe is synergetic. Humans have been included in this cosmic design as local Universe information-gatherers and local problem-solvers in support of the integrity of the eternal, 100-percent-efficient, self-regenerative system of Universe. In support of their cosmic functioning humans were given their minds with which to discover and employ the generalized laws governing all physical and metaphysical, omniinteraccommodative, ceaseless intertransformings of Universe.
000.130 At present 99 percent of humanity is misinformed in believing in the Malthusian concept of the fundamental inadequacy of life support, and so they have misused their minds to develop only personal and partisan advantages, intellectual cunning, and selfishness. …
305.01 Universe is the starting point for any study of synergetic phenomena. The Principle of Synergetic Advantage (see Sec. 229) requires that we return to the Universe as our starting point in all problem consideration. We assiduously avoid all the imposed disciplines of progressive specialization. We depend entirely upon our innate facilities, the most important of which is our intuition, and test our progressive intuitions with experiments.
311.01 Of all the subcosmic, integrally interpatterning complexes that we know of in our Universe, there is no organic complex that in any way compares with that of the human being. We have only one counterpart of total complexity, and that is Universe itself. (Apparently, says writes Fuller, man matches the Universe in displaying the same relative abundance of the 92 self-regenerative chemical elements.) That such a complex miniature Universe is found to be present on this planet, and that it is "born" absolutely ignorant, is part of the manifold of design integrities.
326.04 We can refine all the tools and energy capability of single and commonwealth into two main constituents—the physical and the metaphysical. The physical consists of specific, measurable energy quantities; the metaphysical consists of specifically demonstrable know-how capabilities. Only the metaphysical can designedly organize the physical, landscape-forming events to human advantage, and do so while also maintaining the regenerative integrity of the complex ecological-physiological support of human life aboard our planet….
326.31 Comprehensive Universe combines both the metaphysical Universe and the physical Universe. The local physical system is the one we experience sensorially: the conceptual metaphysical system is one we never experience physically but only consider in thought. …
Fuller's legacy won't be fully-obvious for awhile. But in the meantime we can conclude that his efforts to prevent the extinction of the human race in the twentieth century were, in part, successful so far.
While we don't all live in dymaxion dwelling machines (yet), we are beginning to see the need for such things. And more and more people are becoming familiar with the "invisible world," while acknowledging the futility of the previously-dominant muscle-power frame of reference. (For example, David's sling versus Goliath's armaments.)
And while we don't have a one world family yet, the increasing ease of movement between nations and the free-flow of information and ideas between people is undeniable, (for example, television and the Internet). This virtual dissolution of borders is making it possible for people to develop concern for the general welfare of strangers on distant areas of the planet.
Another sign of Fuller's influence is the increasing discussion of doing more with less. (Although many proponents of less-is-more haven't yet grasped the metaphysical aspect of ephemeralization, they are beginning to grasp the basic idea of using fewer resources. But population pressures will push society toward getting greater performance out of materials.)
More importantly, Fuller demonstrated that the Universe would support the efforts of people who dedicated themselves to serving all humanity.
In anticipation of his legacy being fully realized, here is a quote from the introduction to Grunch of Giants,.
"I was convinced that within the twentieth century, all of humanity on our planet would enter a period of total crisis. I could see that there was an alternative to politics and its ever more wasteful, warring, and inherently vain attempts to solve one-sidedly all humanity's basic economic and social problems.
"That alternative was through invention, development, and reduction to the physically working stages of massproduction prototypes of each member of a complete family of intercomplementary artifacts, structurally, mechanically, chemically, metallurgically, electromagnetically, and cybernetically designed to provide so much performance per each erg of energy, pound of material, and second of time invested as to make it eminently feasible and practicable to provide a sustainable standard of living for all humanity—more advanced, pleasing, and increasingly productive than any ever experienced or dreamed of by anyone in all history. It was clear that this advanced level could be entirely sustained by the many derivatives of our daily income of Sun energy. It was clear that it could be attained and maintained by artifacts that would emancipate humans from piped, wired, and metered exploitation of the many by the few.
"This family of artifacts leading to such comprehensive human success I identified as livingry in contradistinction to politics' weaponry. I called it technologically reforming the environment instead of trying politically to reform the people. (I explain that concept in great detail in the (book Grunch of Giants). I also elucidated it in my book Critical Path.)
"Equally important, I set about fifty-five years ago (1927) to see what a penniless, unknown human individual with a dependent wife and newborn child might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity in realistically developing such an alternative program. Being human, I made all the mistakes there were to be made, but I learned to learn by realistic recognition of the constituent facts of the mistake-making and attempted to understand what the uncovered truths were trying to teach me.
"In my (Philadelphia) archives  there are approximately forty thousand articles published during the last sixty years which successively document my progressive completions of the whole intercomplementary family of scheduled artifacts."
It is impossible to do justice to Fuller in a short article, (for example, Everything I Know is 42 hours of videotape available online; and  includes 1700 more hours of A-V material).
For a much more detailed view of Fuller's contribution to humanity visit the Buckminster Fuller Institute [bfi.org] in New York. For a glimpse into the books which helped shape Fuller's thinking here is a list of the books he read .
Concepts and buildings
His concepts and buildings include:
- Dymaxion house (1928) See autonomous building
- Aerodynamic Dymaxion car (1933)
- Prefabricated compact bathroom cell (1937)
- Dymaxion Map of the world (1946)
- Buildings (1943)
- Tensegrity structures (1949)
- Geodesic dome for Ford Motor Company (1953)
- Patent on geodesic domes (1954)
- The World Game (1961) and the World Game Institute (1972)
- Patent on octet truss (1961)
His publications include:
- 4-D Timelock (1928)
- Nine Chains to the Moon (1938, ISBN 0224008005)
- The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller (1960, With Robert W. Marks. Anchor Press, Doubleday & Company, Inc. ISBN 0385018045)
- Untitled Epic Poem on the History of Industrialization (1962, ISBN 0671204785)
- Education Automation: Freeing the Scholar to Return to his Studies (1962, ISBN 0809301377)
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1963/1969/1971, ISBN 0525474331) - online at 
- Your Private Sky (ISBN 3907044886)
- Ideas and Integrities (1969, ISBN 0020926308)
- Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity (1969, ISBN 0713901349)
- Approaching the Benign Environment (1970, ISBN 0817366415)
- I Seem to Be a Verb (1970)
- No More Secondhand God and Other Writings (1963/1971)
- Buckminster Fuller to Children of Earth (1972, ISBN 0385029799)
- Intuition (1972, ISBN 0385012446)
- Earth, Inc. (1973, ISBN 0385018258)
- Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975/1979, ISBN 002541870X [vol. 1], ISBN 0025418807 [vol. 2]) - online at 
- And It Came to Pass—Not to Stay (1976, ISBN 0025418106)
- Tetrascroll: Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Cosmic Fairy Tale (1977/1982, ISBN 0312793626) - online at 
- R. Buckminster Fuller on Education (1979, ISBN 0870232762)
- Critical Path (1981, ISBN 0312174918)
- Grunch of Giants (1983, ISBN 0312351941) - online at 
- Inventions: the Patented Works of R. Buckminster Fuller (1983, ISBN 0312434774)
- Humans in Universe (1983, Mouton. ISBN 0899250017); with Anwar Dil
- Cosmography (1992, ISBN 0025418505)
All links retrieved November 22, 2023.
- Buckminster Fuller Institute: With several complete works online.
- Notes to R. Buckminster Fuller's Work
- Synergetics on the Web
- Chris Fearnley's List of Buckminster Fuller Resources on the Internet
- FAQ—R. Buckminster Fuller
- R. Buckminster Fuller on PBS
- Buckminster Fuller discussed on The State of Things
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