Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Buckminster Fuller Quotes

"There is something patently insane about all the typewriters sleeping with all the beautiful plumbing in the beautiful office buildings —and all the people sleeping in the slums."


"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…"

"I do not look upon human beings as good or bad. I don't think of my feet as a right foot and a wrong foot."

"The physical is inherently entropic, giving off energy in ever more disorderly ways. The metaphysical is antientropic, methodically marshalling energy. Life is antientropic. It is spontaneously inquisitive. It sorts out and endeavors to understand."

"Every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less."

"Dare to be naïve."

(From http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller)



"People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things."

"I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know. Most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly."

"Parents are usually more careful to bestow knowledge on their children rather than virtue, the art of speaking well rather than doing well; but their manners should be of the greatest concern."

"I look for what needs to be done. After all, that's how the universe designs itself."

"I'm not a genius. I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience."

"Let architects sing
of aesthetics that bring
Rich clients in hordes to their knees;
Just give me a home,
in a great circle dome
Where stresses and strains are at ease."

"By 2000, politics will simply fade away. We will not see any political parties."

(from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/r_buckminster_fuller.html)


"A self-balancing, 28-jointed adaptor-based biped; an electro-chemical reduction plant, integral with segregated stowages of special energy extracts in storage batteries, for subsequent actuation of thousands of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, with motors attached; 62,000 miles of capillaries..."

"Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences - "which is the mostest? which is the leastest?" They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: the heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart."

"I think I am a verb."


(From http://www.quotationspage.com/search.php3?Author=R.+Buckminster+Fuller&file=other)

"We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea at first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work."

(From http://www.worldofquotes.com/author/Buckminster-Fuller/1/)

"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."

(Lots of sources. Any of these may be apocryphal though; I didn't check attributions.)



Books online at the Buckminster Fuller Institute

2 comments:

Andy said...

I wish I could agree with this one:

"Every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less."

But I just don't think it's true. I think there are probably entire fields of studies whose assumptions generate experiments that shackle our imaginations. The first one that comes to mind is economics -- by assuming that humans are rational beings attempting to increase efficiency, there are probably many economic studies that are causing us to ignore data about how people actually behave. And I'd say there are analogues in the physical sciences too. Of course, there are also experiments that are just poorly designed. I think you could argue that we learn from these failures in the long run, as a species, but they limit us in the short term. So I'd like to say that I might agree with the intent of the statement, but not its content. I'm with William James, John Dewey and other scientists/philosophers who argue that while science represents a fulfillment of human nature, our inherent experimental impulse is still primary. We shouldn't claim that the scientific process itself is inherently good. Instead, we should say that human curiosity is the primary good, and science is good to the extent that it furthers that curiosity (rather than stifling it).

Mary said...

I think there are probably entire fields of studies whose assumptions generate experiments that shackle our imaginations. The first one that comes to mind is economics -- by assuming that humans are rational beings attempting to increase efficiency, there are probably many economic studies that are causing us to ignore data about how people actually behave.

Sure, but there it's the assumptions that are causing the problem, not the data. Theory, not experiment...

You can interperet your data wrong, but the data itself doesn't lie (well, unless something malfunctioned, which is now something I practically assume will happen). Experiments always give you information about a local part of the universe under special circumstances. So it always tells you more about the universe, in the sense that it records a little part of it that's different from any part anyone else has recorded. The problems come when you try to generalize.