Everything I Know

Session 1

January 20, 1975

Visionary inventor Buckminster Fuller explores humanity’s evolution and role in the cosmos in this far-reaching lecture. He celebrates the human mind’s ability to grasp universal principles, contrasting this with the brain’s focus on discrete data. Fuller champions a "synergetic" systems perspective focused on wholes rather than parts. He examines patterns in civilization, especially relating to travel and geography. Throughout, Fuller aims to inspire an eternal, all-encompassing understanding of our existence.


Humanity is Still Evolving


We tried to think about the most primitive information we have regarding our extraordinary experience, is that, I think we choose the fact that, all humanity has always been born naked, absolutely helpless for months, and though with beautiful equipment, as we learn later on, with no experience, and therefore, absolutely ignorant. That’s where all humanity has always started. And we’ve come to the point where, in our trial and error finding our way, stimulated by a designed-in hunger, designed in thirst these are conscious inputs; designed in procreative urge we have such an enormous amount of, as we learn later on, of designed in automated processing of the inter-relationships of all the atoms in our organism, starting then, with a consciousness of the hunger, giving a drive to go after. To seek. To experiment. Man having, then, no rulebook. Nothing to tell him about that Universe—has had to really find his way entirely by trial and error. He had no words and no experience to assume that the other person has experience. The, at first, very incredibly limited way of communicating. We now know, human beings being on our planet for probably 3½ million years, with, as far as we can see, not much physiological change—pretty much the same skeleton—and from what we can learn of human beings in their earliest recorded communicating, in an important degree, people in India 5,000 years ago, and in China 5,000 years ago, were thinking very extraordinarily well in the terms of anything we know about our experience, the way we’ve been able to resolve experiences into the discovery of principles that seem to be operative in our Universe. I’m astonished at how well the early Hindu and Chinese thinker was able to process this information in view of the very limited amount of information humanity had as of that time, in comparison to anything we have today.


Just making a little jump in information. As we—as humanity on board of our planet—entered into what it called World War I, the scientists around the world have ways of reporting to one another officially. And chemists have what they call Chemical Abstracts. Chemical Abstracts are methodical publications of anything and everything any chemist finds that he publishes information regarding, it becomes Chemical Abstracts. As the world entered World War I, in what was called the twentieth century—it’s a very arbitrary kind of accounting matter—we had some hundred, I think, we had (I’m doing this off the top of my head from memory) about 175,000 known substances. Approximately almost a quarter of a million substances by the time the United States came into the war, known to chemistry. And we came out of World War I with almost a million substances known. By the time we ended World War II, we were well up into 10 million, and we’ve come out of it now where the figures really are getting to be astronomical. We can’t really keep track of the rate at which we are discovering more. Just to talk about differentiable substances, chemically distinct from one another.


Those are typical of the information—really, it is a bursting rate now in relation to just—I’m speaking just in relationship to my own life. One life in the extraordinary numbers of lives there must have been on board of our planet. That the information is multiplying at that rate during just one lifetime indicates that something is going on here right now that is utterly unprecedented, and we’re in such indication of acceleration of experiences of human beings; the integration of the accelerated, the experienced, to produce awarenesses that are indicative of humanity going through some very, very important kind of transition into some kind of new relationship to Universe, I’d say. The kind of acceleration that would occur after the child has been formed in the womb, taking the nine months, and then suddenly begins to issue from the womb out into an entirely new world. So I think we are apparently coming out of some common womb of designedly permitted ignorance, given faculties which we gradually discovered and learned to employ by trial and error. And we’re at the point where I now have (which would also seem absolutely incredible to a generation before) I’ve now completed 37 circuits of our Earth—kind of zig-zagging circuits, not straight around; not as a tourist—just responding to requests to appear here and there, to lecture in universities, or to design some structure; whatever it may be. So, that is in the everyday pattern that I am circuiting that Earth. It certainly makes it in evidence that we are dealing in a totality of humanity, not the (up to my generation) completely divided humanity spread very far apart on our planet.


My father was in the leather importing business in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, and he imported from two places: primarily Buenos Aires and India for bringing in leathers for the shoe industry, which was centered at that time in the Boston area. And his mail, or a trip that he would like to make to Argentina, took two months each way. And his trips to India in the mail took exactly three months each way. And it seemed absolutely logical to humanity when, early in this century, Rudyard Kipling, the English poet, said “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” It was a very, very rare matter for any human being to make such a travel as that, taking all those months. There were not many ships that could take them there. All that has changed in my lifetime, to where I’m not just one of a very few making these circuits of the Earth, but I am one of, probably, getting to be pretty close to 20 million now, who are living a life like that around our planet. And very much of the whole young world doing so. I keep meeting my students of various universities from around the world, half way around the world again. They are all getting to be living as world people. So, this is a very sudden emergence into some new kind of relationship to our Universe is being manifest. None of it was planned. There was nobody—in the time of my father or my mother, as I was brought up—prophesying any of the things I’ve just said.


The year I was born, Marconi invented the wireless. But it did not get into any practical use until I was 12 years of age, when the first steamship sends an S.O.S.—it’s in distress—by wireless. So think of it: a great many miles, and the world began to know the ship was in distress, and ships began to rush to its aid. Absolutely unexpected! My father and mother would say “Wireless? such nonsense!”


And when I was three, the electron was discovered, and nobody talked about that. It wasn’t in any of the newspapers. Nobody was interested in electrons—didn’t know what this electron was that had been discovered.


I was brought up that humanity would never get to the North Pole—absolutely impossible. They’d never get to the South Pole. And our Mercator maps didn’t even show anything up… the Northern-most points were a very rugged kind of a line, but you didn’t see or know anything up beyond that. When I was 14, man did get to the North Pole, and when I was 16 he got to the South Pole. So, impossibles are happening.


Like all other little boys, I was making paper darts, which you could make at school—and boys must have been making them for a very long time. And we were hoping we might be able to get to flying. But the parents, our parents were saying, “Darling, it’s very amusing for you to try that, but it is inherently impossible for man to fly.” So when I was 7, the Wright brothers suddenly flew. And my memory is vivid enough of seven to remember that, for about a year, the engineering societies were trying to prove it was a hoax because it was absolutely impossible for man to do that.


So then, not only was there the radio, but when I was 23—which you think… well, I guess many in this room are not 23 yet—when I was 23, the human voice came over the radio for the first time. And that was an incredible matter. When I was 27 we had the first licensed radio broadcasting. When I was 38, I was asked to go on an experimental TV studio program in New York where the Columbia Broadcasting had 70 sets in various scientists’ and their Board of Directors’ homes, and they had experimental programs going on. They didn’t have any money for paying anybody. The man who ran it, Gilbert Seldes, was a friend of mine, and ran the studio. And so I often appeared on his program, but we don’t have television operating in the United States until after World War II. So we’re talking about when I was 45, when we had our first television.


So this is very—it couldn’t be a more recent matter. And yet, nobody thought at that time we were going to have… they didn’t know you were going to have transistors. They didn’t know man was going to have satellites going around the Earth. They didn’t know we were going to have radio relay satellites. That we were going to be able to have programs coming out of any part of the Earth, going to any other part of the Earth. Absolutely not one of these steps was ever anticipated by any of the others. So that, having experienced that, I also experienced living with my fellow human beings, who—I find—no sooner has it happened, then he says “I knew it all the time. I’m not one of those to be surprised. I was sort of in on it, you know? I was a little bit responsible”


There is a strange vanity of man, and I think the vanity that he has was essential to his being born naked and helpless, and having to make the fantastic number of mistakes he had to make in order to really learn something. And I think he would have been so disgruntled, so dismayed by the mistakes and the errors, that he would never have been able to carry on. He would just have been absolutely discouraged. So he was given this strange vanity to say—to continually sort of make himself exempt, and he was some kind of privileged, and always in. And he was able to, then, quite clearly, deceive himself a great deal. So I find everybody today going, “Getting to the moon… anybody can do that! That’s absolutely simple and logical.” Now, it is obvious and simple and logical, provided you were born and this has happened in your lifetime. You can see how it happened.


I began to realize with that rapid changing going on, which was not anticipated, that what people called “natural” when I was young, the natural related to a state before these great changes occurred: where we were supposed to stay, we were inherently remote from other human beings. No way you could get to other human beings. And all the customs that developed over millions and millions of years of tribes and little communities being isolated one from the other, how you get on with one another, seeing everybody, you saw everybody a great deal all the time. The conditions that were really brought about by that constant proximity, brought about human behaviors [for] which we have now rules. And everybody—the older people say that’s the way you carry on. But it is really no longer germane to the conditions that are prevailing.


And I began to realize that, for instance, to me—having been born before flying, before the Wright brothers—to me it was a very extraordinary matter that man could fly. And certainly, his first flying was fraught with a great deal of danger, and you admired very much the people who were able to accomplish it without failing. And our first automobiles that I had—my first automobile—the automobile tires on my first car would probably blow out within a hundred miles. You were stopping really very, very frequently, getting out, and taking off that tire and repairing it with ways of vulcanizing it and getting it back on. We didn’t have the easy mounting tires we have today, so it was a very great task to do it. The engine continually broke down. The brakes burnt out and wore out very rapidly, so that driving a car—doing your own cranking, and cleaning your own spark plugs, and often taking out the spark plugs and priming them with gasoline so you could get the engine going—you were very intimate with your machine. And if you were intimate, you knew how relatively unreliable it was. Therefore, you drove with great caution. I still drive in the terms of brakes that fade out, and I allow certain distances, and I find the space that I’m allowing to the next car inviting young people who have good brakes, and who assume that they have good brakes, to drive into that spot with great safety.


Now, that would be typical, really, of the difference between people born under one set of conditions and those born under others. What seems safe, what seems logical. It was a very amazing matter to me, when my own daughter, Allegra, was born—the year that Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic ocean. But flying was still a very infrequent experience; for the average human being to view an airplane actually in flight. You went to air meets. You knew that there were battles of half a dozen planes over Europe during World War I, but the Lindbergh flight was great news to everybody. The biplane was still the major ship, and I was wheeling my child in her baby carriage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in 1927, and she was lying on her back looking at the sky, and suddenly a little biplane went overhead. And it was a very extraordinary matter to have an airplane show up over Chicago. And I said, “Isn’t this amazing! My daughter is born with an airplane in the sky.” To her, an airplane would seem very logical.


Her daughter was born 21 years ago, and she was born in New York, and her father and mother took her to (this is my granddaughter) took her to their new home on this place called Riverdale, just north of Manhattan Island across the bridge. North of Manhattan Island you get to quite high land; it was called Riverdale. It’s quite high. And there was that old wooden house that was about the highest point there—a three-story house—and my daughter and her husband had an apartment on the top floor of that wooden house. It had old-fashioned glass porches on it, and my granddaughter [was] lying in her crib, and coming right over Riverdale was La Guardia Field traffic. All the West-bound flights flying in the prevailing South-west, westerly winds took off right over the house. So that, literally every 30 seconds, my grand daughter would hear roar going over the roof, and everybody would say “airplane” to her. I was not surprised the first word my grand daughter said was not “mum” or “dad,” but “air.” And the parents, and uncles, and aunts, and grandparents would take her out in their arms onto the glass porch. She was born in the late fall of the year. The leaves were off the trees in New York. And they’d get out on the glass porch and point to the airplanes; and she saw literally thousands of airplanes before she ever saw a bird. To her, an airplane in the sky was much more normal than a bird. And, looking from that glass porch down, the West side drive of New York went by, and it came over the bridge and it went through a valley that was just below their house. She saw millions of automobiles in this first year, and the children’s books that she was given were of farm pigs, horses, ducks, and all the things that I was brought up with which seemed absolutely normal to me, because the grown-ups said these are outside the house, and kept pointing to them. But my granddaughter had never seen any such thing. She’d seen all those airplanes and those automobiles, and a pig, to her, was about the same as a picture of a polio virus. She saw that the grown-ups were enjoying showing it to her, so she’d laugh along with them, but it was absolute pure cartoon. Now, this is the way in which the world really has been changing, and the publishers hadn’t caught on to that kind of a change, and they were still publishing what was called a “child’s book.”


Now—and I’ll grant that there might have been plenty of people who were born where there still were some ducks and pigs, but that was not the prevalent condition any more. Because during and following World War I, the enormous capacity to produce machinery occurred, and farm machinery was developed in a very big way, and began to do the work on the farm more readily than the human beings could with their muscle. And the people used to have to be where the food grew, or they would perish. But, suddenly, there was refrigeration, and there was canning. The food could reach them any distance, and they weren’t needed on the farm to produce the food, so people were all flowing into the city. So my granddaughter’s experience was really the dominant experience—by far the majority of experience—that she would never have seen these things in that farm book.


So, I now assume, that when people say that something is “natural,” “natural” is the way they found it when they checked into the picture. And this picture has been changing incredibly rapidly, and with the society in general going along all the old rules of cities and customs where you are seeing a whole lot of each other, which is really irrelevant. And so that is one reason why, then, the young people of our day began to see things very, very differently from their parents, and to realize that the long traditions and customs were really no longer appropriate. It wasn’t a matter of the unfriendliness of a young generation with an older generation, it was simply that the new generation was being born into a new “natural,” which was absolutely “unnatural” to the grown-ups.

Part 2


That’s enough of what I’m saying to introduce the concept of there being very large pattern-changes affecting the lives of human beings on board of our planet. They were not in any way anticipated by any of the humans, yet they are overwhelming, and would have to be really read in the terms of being evolutionary; and that Universe apparently had it in Universe. If this is the first time that you were ever a lily, you might assume that you were just going to be a seed, and not realize that you were going to then grow up with some green leaves. Then you don’t know that all of a sudden you’re going to sprout a white, beautiful bell shaped flower. And you don’t know that you’re going to have stamen. Each of these things are a surprise. So that I think that humanity, as a whole, is going through a great transition which is superbly designed, as is the organization of the human—the human chemistries and associabilities of all those atoms of which we are comprised. And my whole thinking out loud with you from now on is going to relate to seeking for more and more of these large patterns that are operative, that become deprecated by human beings very rapidly (because they don’t like to have seemed to have been caught by surprise), and because of that vanity factor it is not too easy to make humanity comprehend as possibly readable and significant and predict other such waves to come about.


Again, I find human beings, with the news that we now are sharing around the world—which all of the world finds disturbing—reporting everybody around the world is aware of the troubles of other peoples as they never were before. They had troubles before, but they were never so aware of the other people’s troubles, so we have an awareness of the totality of great trouble. And I think human beings’ vanity factor make them really feel “I am solely responsible for how this is going to come out,” and I can then deputize my authority to one political leader, and it’s up to him to really get us out. Or half a dozen that we elect, and expect performance as if human beings really can master and understand in a great way that I feel they do not. To me it has been clearly manifest that we have been very, very innocent, and that we do respond—we have to respond—to the environment, whatever the environment is doing. And we can only do—say, I don’t really have a word—for instance, “artificial.” I don’t really have a word. “Unnatural.” I say if nature permits it, it is natural. If nature doesn’t permit it, you can’t do it. You may not be familiar with the fact that nature allows that, but the fact of your unfamiliarity doesn’t make it unnatural. If it is unfamiliar to us, we tend to say it is artificial or unnatural.


I’m going to review two or three ways in which I discipline myself to try to get myself thinking in a little more adequate manner concerning what we know of our Universe and what may be going on in a larger way, and to try to get things in a little better proportion. As, for instance, I would like to have a picture of the Milky Way galaxy. May I have that picture please? And here we are looking at an array of stars. You can see the Milky Way running through the stars. The number of stars you are looking at is about 18,000. They are approximately 16 millionths of all the stars in our Milky Way galaxy. We now know of—and we have been able to get our great telescopes trained on—other galaxies and so forth, and we now have taken photographs and are aware of a billion such galaxies of a hundred billion stars each.


Next picture, please. This picture, we are looking at a galaxy very far away. May I have that next picture, please? We are looking at an exploding phenomenon. I spoke about those hundred million galaxies of a hundred million stars each: 99.9% of them are invisible to our naked eye, but their sizes are of great, great magnitude. To get a little idea, our own star, “Sun,” is—our own earth is 8,000 miles in diameter, and the diameter of the sun is just a hundred times that. And so our little Earth looks very tiny against that enormous big ball. But our star-sun is a small star. Most of you are familiar with Orion’s belt, and in Orion’s belt, one of the two bright stars is reddish in color, and this is Betelgeuse, and Betelgeuse’s diameter is greater than the diameter of the orbit of the earth around the Sun—so that’s a good sized star. So we are a little planet, of a rather inferior star, which is one of a hundred billion stars in our galaxy. And we know there are billions of galaxies, so we get an idea of our little planet, and you and I are utterly invisible. We’ve taken pictures of our planet coming in from the moon. When you can see through the cloud cover, you can see the blue of the waters and the brown of the land, but you can’t make out any human being; you can’t make out a mountain, let alone a human being. There is absolutely no visibility of a mountain because the aberration of the deepest water—five miles below sea level, and five miles above the mountain top; ten miles of aberration—and eight thousand miles is so, so meager that a polished steel ball is probably rougher than that. So, we are absolutely invisible on a negligible, little tiny planet of a rather negligible star, which is one member of a hundred billion, of a known billion such galaxies, so multiply the billion times 100 billion and you get a little idea.


As we look at things at a great distance—this picture that I have, this is of a bursting phenomena in the heavens which looks like a tiny little light, and it keeps remaining like a tiny light, but at such a distance. And the distances involved are so great, this particular phenomena is expanding at a velocity of three million miles an hour—the distance between the Earth and the Sun is 92 million—so that, in 30 hours, just little over a day, this expands the complete distance between the Earth and the Sun, and yet it remains, for the thousands of years we may be looking at it, like a little tiny speck there in the sky. You get a little sense of the size and the deceptiveness to us in the magnitude of the information in which we are really dealing in today.


I am quite confident. And this is, then, just as far as you and I have been able to—when I say you and I, I mean all our fellows; the human beings who have been born naked and helpless and finally have discovered the principles of refraction of light and have developed the telescope, and have been able to make a sweepout—we are getting information, as tiny as we are, we have information of approximate spherical sweepout of observation of an 11.5 billion light-year radius. And a light year is 6.5 trillion miles, so when you get to 11.5 billion times 6.5 trillion, you get a little idea of the distance you and I are getting information from—reliable information! We get the rate at which this thing is expanding. And through the spectroscope we have learned about refraction of light, and through the spectroscope we are able to take the light from all of those observations. And each chemical element has its unique frequencies when incandescent. Human beings on our planet have been able to take inventories of the relative abundance of chemical elements in a sweep-out of an 11.5-billion-year observation. That we have that kind of capability despite our absolutely negligible magnitude, physically—that we can deal with our minds in such magnitudes, and do so quite reliably—gives a hint that the human being must have some very great significance in this scheme, because we don’t know of any other phenomenon that has this mind; the human mind. Because, what I talk about is discoverable only by virtue of the mind.


There are a great many creatures that have brains. And all the creatures that have brains disclose that the brains are always and only synchronizing—integrating a plurality of informations from touchings and smellings and hearings—and coordinating those into some composite information that tends to produce images. But brain is always and only, as each of those senses are, dealing in each special case experience. This is the smell of that one. This is the height of that one. Touch whatever it may be. Finally, mind. The human mind, able to do something that the brain cannot do. So I differentiate between brain and mind completely.


What human mind is able to do is, from time to time, reviewing the special case experiences, because they are recallable, and the brain is very good about recalling them; calling them up again. And to review a plurality of those special case experiences. From time to time, mind has intuited that there is something going on; some relationship between the special case experiences that was not being predicted or suggested in any way by any of the special case experiences considered only by themselves.


Take the very extraordinary experience—while we’re dealing in stars—of the fact well-recorded in the earliest annals of man, that he became aware of there being five lights in the sky. Five little points of light; quite bright ones, much smaller than the sun and the moon. And these five bright ones behaved in ways that all the other myriads of little lights did not. The other myriads of lights stayed in very beautiful constant patterns, as far as human beings could see. But five of them moved around, and were a little brighter than the others, and they moved around in some strange kind of way. And if you kept track of them, they would reappear. And they had some regularities about them so that, long, long ago in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, good recordings were made of these behaviors of what we began to call the planets. So there were five special case informations that have some relationship, it seems, because they were behaving the way nothing else behaved. So they differentiated out by this unique behavior.


We have, then, the human beings gradually acquiring calculating capability. And I’d like to make great note of this. We will go back and talk about it in much more detail later on, but if you’ve ever tried to do any multiplication or division with Roman numerals, you find you don’t get anywhere. So, supposing you were intrigued by some motions or something like that, you couldn’t make any calculations with Roman numerals. So that, no matter how intrigued you might be by the fact that there is something going on there, and “I’d like to know something about it,” there’s really no way that you can calculate. The Arabic numerals came into the Mediterranean world and began to supplant the roman numerals about 700 A.D. But they were used, at first, entirely as shorthand for, say, instead of three marks of the Roman numerals, you just go like that [draws “3” in the air], it was a little quicker. So they were sort of shorthand for this larger scratching. But I want you to realize that the Roman numerals were used entirely as scoring devices. And you could have a servant that was very ignorant, but you station him here and say, “Every time one of those sheep go by, I want you to make a scratch.” So he kept doing this faithfully, just scoring, matching the experiences.


The Arabic numerals, I’m quite confident, were derived from the invention of the abacus as a calculating device. And if you are familiar with the abacus, having rods and beads that slide on them, and you can do it in fours or fives—there are different module systems you can use. You would then have what we call decimally, or finger wires, with five. You fill up a column of five and then you knock them back again, empty it, and move one over into the next column. And the convention is to move the incrementation leftward. And when you then close out the five and put one over in the next column to take its place of those five, then you have an empty column. I’m quite certain that the navigators over the great deserts, or the navigators of the sea, who did deal in the stars as the only way to give them information about where they are, probably developed the first trigonometry and the first important geometrical calculations. [They] did then, from time to time, lose their abacus overboard on the ship, or it was lost in the sands, but being so familiar with it, they could draw a picture—they could see it in their mind’s eye very nicely—and they could then manipulate the concept of filling up that column and then moving over one. I’m quite certain that the Arabic numerals represented a symbol for the content of the columns. And when they moved over and left an empty column, they had to have the cipher. So the Arabic numerals had the cipher.


It is interesting, then, that the Arabic numerals were first taken over in the Mediterranean world as substitutes for roman Roman numerals, the cipher had no significance whatsoever because you couldn’t eat "no" sheep, so they didn’t have a score for “no” sheep. They didn’t have any need in the roman numerals, which was just a scoring system, for something called "nothing." So that, the cipher was recognized as being there but having no use, they just thought of it as kind of a decoration used like a period, just put at the end or something like that. It is a matter of the slowness of the information gain that there is 500 years between the Arabic numerals coming into the Mediterranean world and beginning to take the place of the roman numerals before the significance of the cipher was discovered, and published by a Latin in North Africa, in Latin, showing that if occasioned the positioning of new numbers, the moving of your multiplication over one column; and with it came the capability of anybody to calculate. Now, calculations had been very much monopolized by the navigators and the priests, who were unquestionably astronomer navigators, who came up on the land. And the temporal power had to come to them, and they found that the temporal power, while he was a strong man, just could not cope with the kind of information they could obtain by virtue of their calculating capabilities, so they guarded it very carefully.

We have the temporal powers if you think about it a little like in Italy where you see all those great castellos, valley after valley; hill after hill; castle commanding its particular valley; and you have all these little kingdoms all over these city-state-kingdoms, were everywhere all around the Mediterranean world. And the king, or the overlord, or whatever he wanted to call himself, would have the people bring in their sheep and their wheat, and/or whatever it may be their food, their produce and they would want to exchange it, so that they could go home with some of the other produce. All exchanging was calculated at the church the priests would do the calculating for them. And they probably used the abacus.

At any rate, the process of having the temporal power being vested in the church the calculating capability, required also then that the church then in effect, tax the people for making the calculation and so you would give so many sheep to him, and so many bags of wheat to him, but you left bags of wheat and sheep out in back of the church; so that there was a very large take on the part of the temporal power by virtue of controlling the calculations.


As a consequence, the publication of this book—explaining the way in which you position numbers—illiteracy was rampant, so not too many people could read it, but it became very much a threat that anybody could do their own calculation and not have to go to the authorities to do the calculations for them. So that, in many, many of those little kingdoms throughout the Mediterranean world, it became a death penalty for anybody caught using the cipher. The word “cipher” has secret connotations for this reason. Because people used it, they needed to use it, you understand. “I’ve got to do my own calculations. But if I get caught…. So I must be very secretive.”


Gradually, the significance of the cipher permeates society, particularly the young student world that was literate. So the students of Northern Italy and Southern Germany began to realize more and more the significance of that cipher, and the positioning of numbers to do their own calculations. Young peoples’ faces are less familiar than the older peoples’ faces, and so the young people could get away with what the older people couldn’t. So approximately the year 1200, 500 years after the Arabic numerals came into the Mediterranean world, that the treatise was written. That’s 1200. And 300 years later it was impossible to ever again enforce the prohibition against use of the cipher. And this is a wonderful date we’re talking about, 1500. Five hundred years ago. And this is exactly when Copernicus comes in. Here was Copernicus, suddenly, with the capability to calculate, and calculating the positions and some of the interrelationships of these, what we call the planets. He came to the conclusion that our Earth was also a planet, and behaving in relationship to the sun the way the other planets were.

Part 3


And this opened up a completely new excitation of humanity. Remember now, I’m saying: here was brain getting all this special-case business, and mind intuitively stimulated there must be something going on here, I’d like to find out what it is that is going on—and suddenly we had this calculating capability. And Copernicus coming out with a very new, fantastically new idea: that we were not standing still, with all this show going on around us, but that we were one of the planets of our sun. And we have, then, Tycho Brahe, very inspired by Copernicus and a man of great means, and he acquired instruments for much better observation. And he had his great observer, who was Kepler. And Kepler, then, made extraordinary new, much more accurate observations of the planets. In the first place, he discovered that they were moving in ellipses and not in circular orbits. If you, yourself, have ever made an experiment of just drawing a circle having a pen and a string, or a pencil, you know you have a single restraint. But if you want to make an ellipse, you have two restraints. So the fact that they were moving in ellipses indicated that there was not only some relationship to the sun, but to possibly some other integrated effect of the other planets.


And Kepler, then, now had beautiful data, which showed that they were a team, alright? They were all going around the Sun. But they were different sizes, they were different distances from the Sun, they all went around the Sun at different rates. So the team was a very disorderly team, and yet he felt that the fact that they were all on one team, they must have something more about them. But now that he had his calculating capability, he then did what a mathematician can do: he said, “I want to find something common to this. Superficially, there is nothing common to them. They are all different. But, I’m going to give them an amount of time very much less than one orbit of the fastest orbiting.” So I think the amount of time was 21 days. And now he knew how far they were from the sun, each one. So on the beginning of that 21 days, he’s here, and then he knows exactly the amount of arc in 21 days. Then he has the radius from the end of that arc back to the sun again—makes a piece-of-pie shape area. He found that in the same 21 days, some of them were short fat pies, and some were long thin pies. But because he had the actual mathematical data, he was then able to calculate the areas of the piece of pie. An extraordinary intuition must have made him do such a thing. Saying, “As long as I have the data, might as well calculate it.” And to his absolute astonishment he found the areas were all exactly the same in a given amount of time. So where there was a superficial difference. I want you to try to think of yourself as being the first human being, and with all this stimulation going on for thousands of years, you suddenly realize that hidden in this superficial disorder was the most incredible, elegant mathematical order. Absolute coordination. And he would have to reason that, if they were touching each other, you can understand how gears could coordinate. But with the incredible distances intervening, how could they possibly coordinate with this elegant mathematical manner? Well, one thing you could say about that was that there were these great distances apart, and he knew that if he had a weight on a string, and swung it around his head, it was in an orbit. If he let go it would go in a line. The fact that they were in orbits indicated that there was some kind of a tensive restraining. So it really got down to that. There is a tensive restraint, and it could be that the other planets got into various positions where there was a composite of their pulls, to effect, to bring about this elliptical phenomena.


We have Galileo—like other brains then—terribly stimulated by experiences, but suddenly with calculating capability. So he began to measure the rates at which objects would go down inclined planes of different angles. Then, free-falling bodies. And he found that these free-falling bodies were increasing in their rate of falling. There was an acceleration. And he found the rate at which they were accelerating was actually multiplying the number times itself. It was a second power rate of acceleration.


We have, then, Isaac Newton enormously stimulated by all the foregoing events of all these other discoverers. And he himself also, then, with mathematical capability. And he had a deep drive to somehow understand that tensive relationship Kepler had discovered. And he, himself, then—like you and I—could swing a weight around his head, and every time he let go off it, like that, then he set it off in a line like that, but the Earth pulled on it and pulled it that way. Quite clearly, the Earth was much more powerful than he was in sending it this way. Isaac Newton, then, evolved his first law of motion: that a body will persist in a straight line, except as affected by other bodies. And he said, “I see this other body, the Earth, is very, very powerful. How much they pull must have something to do with their sizes.” He then said, “I am informed by the astronomers and the navigators. We have very good information regarding the interrelationships of the Moon and the Earth: the tides—three quarters of the Earth is covered with water. All those waters are pulled by the Moon. So there are trillions of tons of water being lifted by the Moon-pull. Obviously, the pull between them is something vastly greater than my muscles involved, so it’s something to do with size here.


Then, Isaac Newton—having evolved his first law of motion: a body persists in a straight line, except as it is affected by other bodies—he then conceived, hypothetically (which a mathematician can do if he has the calculating capability). The patterns of the heavens were very well charted by now by the astronomers and the navigators. And for any given minute of any night of the year, they knew exactly what the patterns would be, what would be in zenith over any given point. That’s how you could navigate. So Isaac Newton had some very reliable patterns of the heavens to go by for a given time, so he chose a night when the moon would be—in the fall—fairly easy to observe, and probably clear weather. And then he made an assumption that the earth would suddenly stop pulling on the moon. In effect (he doesn’t use these words), you would annihilate the Earth. Therefore, if you have that weight, and you swing it around your head, if you let go of it, it goes over this line. So he said: if the Earth suddenly stopped pulling on the moon, the moon would go off on a given line. So he calculated what that line would be on that night at that time. And he was able, then, to pattern it against the heavens in a clearly patternable line. Therefore, on that night, at that time, he then measured the rate at which the moon was falling away from that line towards the Earth. And he found that the rate at which the moon was falling exactly agreed with Galileo’s rate of falling bodies. That is the accelerating rate. It was moving, apparently, to the second power—that is, multiplying the number times itself. Therefore, he said, number one: we multiply the two masses times each other to get the relative amount of interpull compared between any other two objects, and we halve the distance between the two, we’ll increase the interattractiveness four-fold (that is, the second power). He spoke about how this being an inverse ratio, because he spoke about going away. So if we go twice as far away, there is only one quarter of the pull. So we have the inverse ratio to the second power of the relative proximity. There were relatively very few literate people in his day. Very few people really listened to what he was saying, but the other astronomers did pay attention and began to apply his hypothetical relationships to other astronomical phenomena, and gradually began to discover and explain all the astronomical interbehaviors of these remote bodies. So we have, then, suddenly, human mind—all these various minds of the generations, the many generations stimulated by something going on there between that is not of it wasn’t in any one of those planets by itself at all. And we have, then, Isaac Newton finding this interrelationship, which has proved to be absolutely valid and holds, as we get into the microcosm, long after when Isaac Newton didn’t know we were going to get there at all—there were no electromagnetics involved—this mass interattractiveness is operative.


Isaac Newton was able to say that these two apples would pull towards each other. Therefore, you and I on the planet would not tend to think about this interpull because the pull of the Earth is so enormous, as the friction of the apples on the table completely prevent any demonstration of any local two bodies pulling towards each other. So it’s one reason that it escaped man for so long. It had to be free bodies that were greatly removed that would have to stimulate man to think this way.


Now, where I’m coming to, then, is that there was nothing in the moon—in its geometrical dimensions—there was nothing in its chemistry, there was nothing in its electromagnetics that in any way said it was going to attract the Earth. There was nothing in the Earth that said the same. It was not until you saw the interbehavior being manifested in free space that you realized something was going on between. This is why I say that mind, and mind alone, has been able to discover relationships that exist in between that are not of any of the special case phenomena. And brain is always dealing in special cases. So brains deal in special cases, and mind is dealing in discovering relationships existing in between.


This, then, comes to the word synergy. Synergy means: behaviors of whole systems—and a minimum system would be two—behaviors of whole systems unpredicted by behavior of any of the parts of the system when those parts are considered separately, one from the other. And the word synergy, I find, going around the world—I’ve spoken to a little more than five hundred colleges and universities around the world. In the first three hundred I checked my audiences, asking how many were familiar with the word synergy: less than three percent. And properly known by only about one percent. So it became evident to me that the word synergy was not popular, but is the only word that means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by behavior of any of the parts when considered only separately. The fact, then, that the great interbehaviors—in fact, all great generalized principles discovered by science are relationships existing between, that are not of the parts themselves. That’s why scientific discoveries are few and far apart. Because you are always just finding relationships, and these relationships can only and will always be expressed mathematically. They are completely generalizable mathematically.


So I find, then, the Universe is quite clearly these important generalized principles which we discover. A generalized principle in science is one in which no exception has ever been found to the mathematics of the principle. A generalized principle, then—our brains are always dealing in each special case, and each special case is inherently terminal, finite, syntropic, physical. Therefore, brain wants to have things begin and end, and brain would like to have a beginning and an end of the Universe, a beginning and an end of the world. But mind then discovers principles which must have no exceptions, which means that they are inherently eternal. Not the kind of word that brain is familiar with. But it is implicit that they are eternal: they must never have any exceptions.


We find, then, a plurality of these eternal generalized principles operative. And if you become, then, preoccupied with the family of known generalized principles, then you become deeply impressed to realize that, being eternal, they are all concurrently operative and none of them has ever been found to contradict any of the others. In fact, they are all found to be interaccommodative. They all have absolute regularities, and the regularities are interaccommodative. When you and I use the word “design,” we use it to mean a complex in which the various components are ordered in respect to one with the other. That’s a design in contradistinction to randomness. There is a deliberate placement and ordering. So I say, then: human mind is gradually discovering—if you are looking at a plurality of generalized principles—a great a priori design of Universe. And the human mind has access to the rules and the design of Universe—a little glimpse of it—because as we keep pulling the curtain up slightly, we realize that there is a lot more that we don’t know.


What is most impressive, really, about this whole experience I just gave you about Isaac Newton or Kepler is that, you ask Mr. Newton what the gravity is, he’s able to tell you how it behaves. I can’t possibly tell you what it is, because there is nothing in any data of any special case you can point to that says it’s going to happen. Absolutely nothing! Therefore, when you come to the great moments—the actual fact of how great generalized principles are discovered—you come to a priori absolute mystery. Within which a priori absolute mystery, this most sublime and reliable relationship is manifest, is existing. So that, to me, the more intimate you become with the actual working moments of those who made the great discoveries, the more deeply moved you are by an a priori great mystery.

I am going to have a break for a little while. I think it’s quite hot inside here and everybody’s getting fairly affected by the heat, so let’s have a little air.

Part 4


Since the great generalized principles that have been discovered by science are synergetic, I’d like to think about the word “synergy” a little more. And as I said, I found university audiences around the word approximately unfamiliar—only three percent, and one percent of the popular audiences. Therefore, it’s perfectly clear that the word—not being popular—would tell me that people are not thinking that there are behaviors of wholes unpredicted by behaviors of parts, because if they did think there were, then they would have had to find a word to express it. And the word “synergy” is that word. The fact that it is unfamiliar makes it quite clear to me society has become quite content that all you have to know is about parts. Society has been quite content to be specialized, feeling the parts are all going to add up, take care of themselves. So I’d like to think a little more about that word “synergy.”


The word is the companion of the word “energy.” En-ergy. syn-ergy. “Ergy:” work. The “syn” of synchronization: it’s the with-ness prefix, it’s the integrating prefix. Whereas the en-ergy was a separating out, differentiating out. Now, the word “energy” is very familiar to man because he has been quite content to separate out: he felt that he gained. By isolating, scientifically, you discover. And he has discovered a certain amount by that. You get a great deal of data by isolating. But he hasn’t found these great principles by the isolation. At any rate, energy has been a preoccupation of man, and synergy has been really overlooked. But synergy is to energy as integration is to differentiation. Energy is differentiating out, and synergy is integrating.


There is nothing in atoms per se that predicts chemical compounding. There is nothing in chemical compounds per se that predicts biological protoplasm. There is nothing in biological protoplasm per se that predicts camel and palm tree and the respiratory exchange of gases between the mammals and the vegetation. In fact, you discover that the larger complex of Universe is never being predicted by the lesser. There is nothing in the chemistry of the human toenail that predicts human beings. So I find, then, that the Universe itself is synergetic: it is a great complex of generalized principles, each of which is synergetic. So that we really have a synergy of synergy; there is an exponential synergizing of the generalized principles of Universe themselves. Now, quite clearly, then, the Universe being complex and synergetic: if we were able, then, to cope with the totality, we might be able to find out about parts. And we have what I call three well-known synergetic strategies of obtaining important information.


First is the Greek’s triangle: where the triangle—having six distinct parts: the three angles and the three edges, and the known sum of the angles of the triangle (180 degrees), plus, then, any two sides known and the included angle known you can find out, you know, half of the information you can discover from the other half; be able to get half that is all unknown before is a very powerful capability.


We find, then, you can always institute, in trigonometry, you can always invent a right triangle in any triangle because you can drop a perpendicular line to a base line that’s going to be 90 degrees. And you can divide any triangle into two right triangles. And, with having two rights, you know one of those angles is right, therefore it gives you a whole lot of information right away plus the 180 degrees known. And you really only have to find out two other items in order to be able to solve your problem with the trigonometry.


Now, there was, then, the Greek triangle: it is a synergetic strategy, working for the known behavior of the whole, and the known behavior of the sum of the parts and finding out about other parts. Into the Synergetic strategies comes—a relatively short time ago, historically—Euler. And Euler realized an extraordinary pattern generalization. Euler doesn’t phrase it in these words, but I will give you my own phrasing of what Euler said. He said: all visual experiences can be reduced to three fundamental aspects. There are visual experiences that are trajectories something is in motion, leaves a trail. Or I scratch: that’s leaving a trail. Or I leave a deposit of an amount of chalk: that’s a trail. There are trajectories, and where two trajectories cross we get a fix. That gives you a location. And if, then, a plurality of lines crosses the same line and comes back and crosses itself and has, then, a perimeter, a closure, then you have areas. And he said that lines and areas and crossings, or fixes, are never to be confused one with another, and all visual experiences are reducible into those three.


So you can look at any picture you’ve ever seen, and I would say it does not include the color—it could be any color—and looking at that picture you can say, consider that line, that’s an outline of a face. You can decide that this is a crossing or a point (it would be the same). It is not an area, but if the point is big enough you think it’s an area and you can make a line around it. And Euler found that, when you decided what it is you are looking at in the picture and you take inventory (that is a line, that is an area, and that is a crossing), then, he said, the numbers of the crossings—which he also, because lines are crossing and converging as they cross, called a vertex coming towards one another, indicating, working towards a point—so he said the number of vertexes plus the numbers of areas (if it’s a flat picture on the wall) will equal the number of the lines plus the number one. But, he said, if you recognize than that the picture is on the wall, the wall is a part of some kind of a polyhedral phenomena. So I see, then, that the picture has an edge and a back to it, and seems to be a very asymmetrical polyhedron, but that whole blackboard and its wheels. If I then deal with what I’m looking at as a polyhedron, then he said, the numbers of the crossings plus the numbers of the areas equal the numbers of the lines plus the number two. It is absolutely constant. Then he said, if you put a hole through the system, like the hole in a donut or coring an apple, then the numbers of the crossings, or vertexes, plus the number of the areas are equal to the numbers of the lines.


Well, this is a very extraordinary kind of a total capability now. You know the behavior of the whole—this is all there is, there isn’t any more—and if you know something is out there you can find out about the others. Then we have, in chemistry, Willard Gibbs. Willard Gibbs said that crystalline, liquid, and gaseous states—that these have an inter-relationship. We call it the “phase rule,” which is very similar, then, to Euler: this plus this equals this plus two. And I have now been able—as I will go on with you in the hours and days to come—I am going to give you, then, the topological identification of the Willard Gibbs phase rule. It’s not the appropriate time for us to do it here, but what I’m getting at is, I’ve given you three grand synergetic strategies, where you know the behavior of a whole, there is something you have observed about the whole, and you know some of the parts, you can find out about other parts.


Now, this is a very, very powerful matter. I find that our whole education system around the world is organized on the basis of the little child being ignorant. Assuming that the little child that’s born is going to have to be taught—in a sense, it’s an empty container waiting for information to be given to it from the grown-ups. And so the little child demonstrates time and again an interest in the whole Universe. A child is very enthusiastic about the planetarium. A little child will ask the most beautiful questions about total Universe, continually embarrassing the grownups who have become very specialized and can’t answer great comprehensive questions. We find the child, then, with its propensity to comprehend totally, ready to be synergetic. Humans have the proclivity to be synergetic, and yet, our education is to say, “Never mind, darling, about that Universe. Come in here and I’m going to give you an A and B and a C. And then, if you learn that well, I’ll give you a D and an E and an F.” We keep adding to the parts. We do what we call building up a body of knowledge of brick on brick.


And this all both perplexed me and stimulated me into thinking about how we might somehow or other reorganize our self-education. Because education is, in the end, a self-educating: the experiences stimulate, but then the significance in the experience has to be apprehended and then comprehended by the individual. And the synergetic educational system, then, became of great excitation to me, and I wondered how we might be able, then, to—it seemed logical, if you could, to start with Universe itself. Let’s start with the whole, and then we’ll have no variables left out. So I felt that we would have to have a definition of “Universe.” And incidentally, as I disciplined myself along these lines starting almost a half century ago, I said I must never use a word that I cannot really relate to experience. I must be able to define each word that I use, and if I don’t have a good definition going back to experience, I must give it up. So I said I’ve either have got to give up the word “Universe” or define it on an experiential basis.


Now, we find Eddington defining science. And he says science is the attempt to set in order the facts of experience, the raw materials of experience. I found another very great scientist, and I’m quite certain that he was unaware of Eddington’s statement—I cannot really certify this, but the man was relatively remote—and it was Ernst Mach, the physicist of Vienna. And Ernst Mach, the physicist of Vienna, is a man who the name “Mach number”—as we come to ultrasonic speed—is named for Ernst Mach. Mach, the physicist, said physics is arranging experience in the most economical order. Because the physicist has discovered that, absolutely unique to nature, is that nature always does things in the most economical ways. There are many ways of talking about this: the principle of least resistance or least effort—but she is always most economical. However, this is not a yes-no, stop-go affair. We find, as you are going to go on with me, that there are a plurality of equally economical alternatives optional to every event in Universe; a plurality of them. But as Mach said, nature will use one of those equally most economical ways.


So the physicist, then, was concerned with economy of arrangement of experiences. And Eddington, the scientist general, interested in all experiences. And he didn’t specify. He said: arranging experiences in order. Now, a mathematician such as Boole—Boole developed the concept of the mathematicians to a little further degree. While the mathematicians had been unable to find any grand strategy approach to gain information from, in a logical matter, they find it expedient to, then, assume the most absurd condition, and then gradually eliminate the improbability of the most utterly absurd; this is a little less absurd. If they can get down to something that might be reasonable, this is a way of sharpening up this reductio ad absurdum. We have, then, Boole, able to introduce most not-economical orders. I just want you to understand that general science might, then, trying to put experiences in order, but they may not be the most economical. That’s the difference between the physicist and the mathematician, then, would be: the physicist is only interest in the most economical. Because those are the only ones who really correspond to the way nature is behaving. The absurd is what Nature doesn’t do; which is very fortuitous on the part of the mathematician to employ such a strategy.


Now, we have Einstein saying the beginning and the end is an experience. Experience becomes, quite clearly, the raw material of all science. And this would mean it is experimentally evidenceable. And once you’ve learned how it behaves, you’re going to be able to repeat the experiment, and that behavior is manifest. So that I then felt that it would be very necessary to describe Universe in the terms of experience. So I said, “What do I mean by the word ‘Universe’?” I said, “I must mean the aggregate of all of humanity’s consciously apprehended and communicated experiences.” That would be the whole role of stuff. What else could I mean? And at first when I said that—quite a few years ago—I know I, myself, and many others felt that maybe it’s inadequate, you’ve left something out there. They said, “You’ve left out dreams.” And I said, “No, it’s part of it. I said the aggregate of all our experiences.” We have experienced dreaming. We also experience becoming. We’ve experienced that the number of words in the dictionary increase every day because it’s part of our experience of continually discovering another facet to the information. So I can’t find anything that has really been left out of the definition. And if you can find anything, tell me about it, and it’s already going to be one of our experiences. So that it seems to work pretty well. And having, then, developed this scientific definition of Universe, I then said, “I have a way, now, of dealing in totality. I know what it is.”


And I find it very interesting that Einstein, then, sought and did define “physical Universe,” in contradistinction to “comprehensive Universe.” Because he differentiated between the physical and the metaphysical, and he said he was only concerned, really, with the physical, because the physical can be coped with experimental evidence; you can reproduce the experiment. But I also say that you and I do have metaphysical experiences. He defined science—rather, his physical energy… physical is energy: energy associative and energy dissociative. And both turn-around-able. Note the dissociative could be come associative, that radiation could be reflected and, through lens, reconcentrated, and so forth. So that Einstein’s physical Universe consisted entirely of energy: energy associative as matter and energy dissociative as radiation, and one transformable into the other. We have, then, the physical Universe of Einstein being all energetic, as he said—usually it’s called ponderable, it was weighable—but we find that weighing is then the effect of a lever, and gravity can pull, but electromagnetics could pull equally. So when we get into electromagnetics, we simply say that anything that is physical can be identified by moving a needle. We can get, actually, a physical indicator of the presence of the physical.


But the metaphysical does not move needles. Now, the metaphysical experience is a very preponderant one. All that is going on in this room between you and I has been metaphysical. What we might call “understanding” is utterly metaphysical. There are no arrows, there is nothing going on to really weigh or indicate, really, understanding. I find it is a very extraordinary matter. I can see your eyes physically, and your eyes will communicate to me as my tongue can wag and make sounds in the air waves, which gives you some kind of words, and so forth. But the understanding is not physical. Einstein did not try to include the metaphysical in his definition of Universe, but he defined the physical Universe the following way—stimulated by experiences which had come in great prominence in his time at the turn of the century, where he was very much impressed by what you call the Brownian movement, the absolute constant motions in the liquids. He was very impressed with black-body radiation. But he was particularly impressed by the measurement of the speeds of radiation—both light and other forms of radiation in vacuo, linearly in vacuo—and finding that they were all the same speed.


Einstein—I want to identify what he thought about these stimulants that I gave you in the terms of previous thinking proclivities of humans. We have the human beings, over great ages, seeing smoke, seeing steam in nature, seeing metals melted out of rock. We have a very extraordinary time when the priest-scientist undertook to isolate fire under a bell jar, because up to this time there had been four mystical elements: the air, earth, water and fire. And he felt that fire might be a chemical element, and he gave it a temporary working name, and he then set about to isolate this fire under a bell jar. And he weighed the items that he was going to ignite, and then ignited them, and when the fire was over, he found that the products under there weighed more than the weight of what they put in. We have Lavoisier explaining what had happened in the following manner: he said that they had not weighed the air under the jar. Up till this time all the chemical elements then known to human beings were metals. They were iron, copper, silver, zinc, and so forth. There were eleven of them, and they were very easy to identify. For Lavoisier to say that the nothingness under the bell jar consisted of a plurality of invisible chemical elements, and that one of them had separated out and joined in with the other inputs of the fire separating from the other, and he gave it the name oxygen.


This is, to me, one of the most extraordinary metaphysical jumps in history: for a human being to assume that the non-metal nothingness consisted of a plurality of somethings, and something so fundamental as to be actually rated an element was extraordinary conceptioning. He then went on to show that this is exactly that the oxygen joined with the mercury and you had mercury oxide. He showed that what you called iron ore was simply when the oxygen was joined: you take the oxygen away, and there is your iron. He went on demonstrating this oxygen joining so that combustion really was oxidation. So that we have, then, Lavoisier’s explanation then enlightened all those who ever had an experience really about metallurgy. You’d had good luck in having fire and melting metals out, but suddenly it gave chemical controls to metallurgy. It also explained what combustion was. It also explained what steam was: it was water vapor where you had the associating of the oxygen.


Out of this, you could not have avoided inventing the steam engine—out of the new metal and atmosphere of science. And the steam engine came along very shortly. And with the steam engine, the masters of the water-ocean world (three quarters of it covered with water), with the lands all divided, and the men who had enough power to command the carpenters and the metal workers to produce a ship and to build a great ship, having developed this design of it through eons of experience of the sea—imagine that anyone did constitute an adequate ship, to be able to send it to great distances, to integrate the resources which were very different in the different parts of the world—bring about the synergetic interaction in one place with another. And suddenly what was at home that didn’t seem to be of much value to anybody is suddenly of very great value. [???] the synergetic effects began to produce extraordinary wealth. So the masters of the water-ocean world—who suddenly had steam and didn’t have to wait for wind in their sails—outperformed completely the people who still were just waiting for wind in their sails.


We have, then, the masters of the water-ocean world of great wealth, of incredible wealth, saying “you scientists.” Up to this time, energy had just been some kind of a God. Some countries had several kinds of energetic Gods, some of speed (and Mercury, or whatever it may be), but they were just Gods. And suddenly you have that energy coming through a pipe with a valve, and you turn it on to do extraordinary work. And what other kind of capabilities do you scientists have? This was the first time science really came into very important patronage by great wealth. This really brought about the Royal Society (and other equally high standing scientific organizations in the various competing countries of Europe) to see who was going to control and get water trade. And giving this money to the scientists—it really was a good amount of money—identified energy uniquely with the heat, with the fire. Therefore, the development of what is called thermodynamics. And with the thermodynamic scientific researching came the great Second Law of Thermodynamics, discovering that all local systems always continue to lose energy. This phenomenon is called entropy. And the energies given off may be given off orderly in respect to that particular system, but the rate at which it was given off by another system is another periodicity, and so the two coming together do not necessarily synchronize, so they seem to be producing randomness and disorder.


At any rate, incidentally, I find it very interesting to look up the first law of thermodynamics as it was formulated in England. It was that the unit of measure of energy should be the British Thermal Unit, BTU. It’s a highly political first law. And the second law was then about entropy. Now, we have, at the time of Newton, so far as the scientists knew, we had instant Universe. And Newton thought of time as a quality permeating all the Universe at exactly the same rate. So that he thought the scientists say if the clouds get out of the way, there are the stars—they’re instant stars. There had been a great astronomer, Rømer, who—to explain certain astronomical phenomena that he observed—had to assume that it could be that light also had a speed the way that sound has speed. And Rømer’s calculations regarding this were very extraordinary, coming really very close to what was found out experimentally when man, on board our planet in vacuo, did then actually, with mirrors, develop speed-of-light experiments. But, the scientists were not thinking Rømer’s way at all. Scientists in general were thinking instant Universe, and because the Universe was instant Universe, then it, too, was a system. And with the great Second Law of Thermodynamics, then, the Universe itself must be losing energy. Therefore, the Universe is running down. This is the very essence of classical conservatism, where people thought they were being well informed by science that the Universe somehow or another had a big bang. Isaac Newton, also, in his first law of motion said, as I gave you: a body persists in a straight line. But his first phrase is: “a body persists in a state of rest or in a line of motion except as affected by other bodies.” To Isaac Newton, “at rest” was the norm, and all the motions were abnormal. That, somehow or other, suddenly we had this big bang and Universe is going to expend it’s energy, and anybody who expends his energy is going to bring us all to rest a little quicker—rest being death, the normal. It’s quicker to the death.


We have, then, in view of what I just said to you, Einstein being informed that radiation did have a speed, and astronomers employing this right away, discovering that it took light eight minutes to come to the Earth from the sun. And—I’m going to use items that Einstein did not use—but you’re very familiar with the Big Dipper; the Big Bear. And as we go in, the first star at the end of the handle of the Big Dipper: you’re seeing a live show taking place 75 years ago. Going to the next star at the turn of the handle, you’re seeing a live show taking place one hundred years ago. And going in one more star, you’re getting a live show taking place two hundred years ago. It’s anything but on the same blackboard, because a hundred years’ difference at 6.5 trillion miles each year, you’ve got incredible depth of observation, where the brightness makes it seem to be akin in that pattern.


At any rate, then you look at Andromeda and you can see a few little sparkling lights of a whole galaxy there—and you’re looking at a live show taking place a million years ago. It takes exactly a million years for that light to get here. Come back again to looking at Orion’s Belt, and Betelguese, and the other bright stars: one is a live show 1,500 years ago, and another 1,100 years ago. So Einstein said the Universe is an aggregate of non-simultaneous and only partially overlapping energy events. Each one of these great energy events, each one has its own duration, they have their beginnings and their endings. So we have, then—to him, then—the physical Universe was an aggregate of non-simultaneous and only partially overlapping energy transformation events.


Now, this is a very interesting kind of a definition, because it is also the definition of what you and I would call “scenario.” In a scenario we have a man born, and then he gets to be “daddy,” and he has children, and then he gets to be “grand daddy.” He overlaps the grandchildren, and then he dies. There is an introduction of a life, and it blooms. And a star is the same. And the star has its duration. So there are beginnings and endings of these local energy systems, but Einstein said, “I don’t think that, in this non-simultaneous Universe, that the energies that are being given off by this one might be associating elsewhere.” And he said, “I see, on board of our planet, this little child is not entropic.” This little child gets to be a bigger child. It doesn’t deteriorate, it doesn’t come apart. There seems to be organisms where there is a growth, and the little sapling gets to be the big tree. So I can see, then, later on, when it begins to shrivel and shrink, and it disappears—there is an overlapping.


And these energies, then, he said—there was another great scientist: Boltzmann. And Boltzman had the feeling—the concept, intuitively—that energies then pulsed in our Universe. You and I are familiar with our weather, where we give the weather in the terms of high and low pressures of the atmosphere. And we find that the lows are always exhausting the highs, like a vacuum cleaner, until they become full and they become the new high, and the other low is elsewhere. So Boltzman had the idea of exporting and importing: that one place becomes exportive, and then finally exhausts in some place that is importing all the time. So there is pulsing of the Universe. But the energy is not getting lost. So Einstein said in contradistinction to the conservatives—who thought the Universe was entropic and nothing else, and therefore the Universe was running down, and coming apart—Boltzman and Einstein, then, think in the terms of: it could be that energies that are disassociating here are associating there. And so, out of Einstein’s expression of that powerful working hypothesis came very much greater attention to energy accounting.


And we have, then, as of this century, scientists having to say that there was no experimental evidence of energy either being created or lost. We do have the word in science, in physics, of annihilation. And many of the words used by the physicists are ill-chosen, I find. As, for instance, the physicists talks about particles, and he says, “I don’t mean about any thing at all. This is just an event.” But he’s so used to a little something being called a particle, he calls it a particle. So I find it is ill-chosen for him to use the word annihilation. His annihilation is of the following kind: I have one rubber glove. There is only one rubber glove in Universe here. It’s on my left hand. But I start stripping it off my left hand, and I finally end up by pulling it off like that, just gradually rolling it off; and suddenly it’s off my left hand, but now it fits my right hand. So there is a right hand now. You have the right hand, and then the right hand gets annihilated and you have a left hand. One is convex and assembled and focal, and the other is simply, for the moment, invisible. That does not make it annihilated. And all the annihilations that physics have of that character, that is, they are reinstateable: you go from the positive to the negative.


So I have Einstein’s thinking and instituting way of thinking, which now, at this point of the 20th century, makes it really quite clear that, as far as experimental evidence goes, Universe is eternally regenerative. Now, we have, as Einstein said, each of the energy events. And here, again, we have this beautiful—the photon. We come down to a planck; we come down to a minimum energy package. And it’s a finite package. And each is absolutely discontinuous from the next package. And so he said the Universe is an aggregate of finite. Therefore, the total is finite. An aggregate of finites is finite. But you and I tend to say—the proclivity of man is to say that finite is viewable, is seeable, conceptual. Einstein’s definition—which I said comes into the category of scenario. He didn’t call it scenario. There have been other scientists who spoke about it as serial Universe and so forth, meaning scenario.


There was a fascinating English scientist-philosopher, James Dunne, who wrote The Serial Universe. Now, scenario—I want you to think about—is an aggregate of frames. And there is nothing in the single-frame caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. There is nothing in one single-frame butterfly that tells you a butterfly could fly. You have to have a whole lot of frames of butterfly and the interrelationship to the environment to realize the butterfly is flying. You find that, in scenario-Universe, there is no meaning whatsoever until you get a great many of the special-case experiences. And there is a little intuition of some relationships going on here. That’s why scenario is so fascinating. You’re looking for these relationships all the time that are being increasingly suggested as probably present, as one event after another.


Now we have, then, a scenario-Universe that is non-unitarily conceptual. Single frames are unitarily conceptual. So the Universe is defined by Einstein as non-unitarily conceptual. So we have, then: it is finite because it is an aggregate of finites. And it is eternally regenerative. Yet, it is non-unitarily conceptual. So when you find yourself asking yourself the question—having heard that the astronomers just found a further-out star—when you say, “I wonder what’s outside outside?” you are asking a sculptural question, a single frame. The outside means that you do have a picture, a single one, and that’s like asking, “Which word is the dictionary?” It actually is a meaningless question in the terms of scenario-Universe.


I want you to realize what it was that Einstein was actually introducing here. So we have aggregates of finites. Now, I felt that I could expand Einstein’s scenario physical Universe to also include my metaphysical experiences, because all of those always begin and end. My information stimulus from the brain is always terminal, so all my inputs are finite. So I said, “I’m going to define physical and metaphysical Universe,” which I’d like to do now if I can. So, in order to be able to start with the whole, is then, I said, the aggregate of all humanity’s consciously apprehended and communicated experiences. You communicate to yourself or to others, but the experience has no meaning until we actually have some kind of communication with it. That is it’s beginning, that communication. So experience is a communication. So I said I think I can combine the metaphysical and the physical by saying it is, then, the aggregate of all humanity’s consciously apprehended and communicated experiences, which are an aggregate of non-simultaneous and only partially over-lapping events—both metaphysical and physical, energetic as well as metaphysical; weightless. So therefore, I said, I see then, each one of those metaphysical experiences always begins and ends. Our experience is that way. It is the nature of the special casing that they are terminal. Therefore, I said, they, too, are an aggregate of finites, so the Universe as defined—both metaphysical and physical combined—is finite, but non-unitarily conceptual. So I said, what is “conceptual,“ and what is “thinkable?” This brought me, then, to now pursuing a grand strategy of having been able, now, at least to get to a definition of “Universe,” which I got a lot of actual inputs about what it is, knowing its behavior as a whole, what the whole is, then going to get to know what I can about some of the parts.

Part 5


Now, what other parts do I know something about? Well, I come now to this very extraordinary phenomenon you and I call thinking. Throughout the whole of my thinking out loud with you, you are going to find that I always come back to an experiential base. I don’t deal with any axioms. I don’t say anything is self-evident. I don’t say, then, I believe. I can hypothesize that this may be the explanation of what it is we are experiencing, but I’d have to say that is a guess. It’s an informed guess. But I will always be dealing in an experiential strategy, and I’m now doing everything I can to understand how we can develop a synergetic grand strategy of approaching problem-solving by human mind. So I said, “What is it that I am personally conscious of doing when I say I am thinking?” I’m not saying thinking may be a bright light, suddenly. We’ve all heard people say, “I had a bright idea.” I say: what am I conscious of about it. And I become really fairly well disciplined in identifying what it is I am experiencing.


Now, I call your attention to a common experience of all of ours, which is, we say, “What is the name of that beautiful blond tall boy, you remember?” His name is on the tip of my tongue, but it doesn’t come right away. And both of us forget we said it, and then tomorrow morning, when we’re busy with something, in comes the name: Tom Turner. And you are a little annoyed at this thing. But what we do is: we both experience that, when we ask ourselves questions, we have a mechanism which goes back and gets the answer. And maybe it might be quite difficult to retrieve, maybe it is hidden under a lot of other input, but we have this mechanism that does it absolutely inexorably. That’s a mutual experience. That’s one reason why we can remember. Because we can check up with each other that it did happen.


But we have a solo experience. And I also have learned from doing what I’m doing, thinking out loud, and being on the stage many times with large thousands of people out there. A word doesn’t come to me quite right away because I’m doing my thinking out loud, and I have to pull out those word tools that I’ve gradually learned to employ. And one comes a little slowly and I need to explain what it is. I find I can get around it by using quite a few other words to inform you what I’m thinking about. But then, just as I am getting it out that way, then, suddenly, I find the right word comes to me. I find that there are lags in recall rates, which we would not really identify because that name seems to come back tomorrow, or sometime later on, sometimes today. But such big lags. We haven’t been able to say that they have any given, identifiable periodicity of lag, a length of lag. However, I have learned that the words that I am, standing on the stage, needing, they are rather frequently used words. And every word I use has a little lag, and some of them a little longer lags. I find that people who are not used to thinking about what it is they are doing when they are thinking and talking tend to go, “Ah… ah… ah” in between, really giving you the periodicity of the lag.


Now, the point is: I discovered there is a plurality of lags and rates of recalls, and some of them are really very short, and particularly these ones in relation to the word “tools.” And the names take longer because the names used to be names of functions. The description of a smith was smithing, a miller was milling. And so you could see that by your experience. It came to you very quickly. But now we say Miller, but he is not doing milling. And it gets to be, then, just a sound pattern. Smith is in an area of sound, and it’s a graphing. And so we only a certain amount of memory cubbyholes for this kind of non-functional pattern, and so they get buried very deep, like magazines, so it takes a long time to go down and pull it out of the stack because that cubbyhole has been filled up vertically now.


Now coming, then, to the idea that there are lags in rates of recall and that there is an inexorable searching that is initiated when you ask yourself a question. What I said to you is different, but when I ask myself something, I’m going down the street and I say, “What is the name of that tree?” My mother gave me the name of that tree. I haven’t seen one in a very long time. And then your attention is called to something else: some friend waves from a car and you have to go on. You ask yourself questions all day long like that. So when you’re trying to go to sleep sometimes, in come maple trees and you wonder why all these things keep coming in. And because there is no identified lag of the different types. They don’t come back on a schedule that really makes it possible for you to say, “Yes, I asked myself that question three hours ago.” I look at my clock and it shows me it was three hours ago. Now I have that kind of scheduling. So there is a heterogeneity to the rate of recall that does not make us tend to pay much attention to this. We just say, “I’m a little slow,” or we use such words as that.


I’ve now discovered what it is I do when I say I am thinking. I find that I become spontaneously preoccupied—I don’t do that deliberately—I’ve suddenly realized that’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot. I’ve put it off time and again. I really would like to think that out. So I say I’m now going to accommodate my pursuit. There’s some relationship going on here, but if I only take a little time, I’m going to find out what understanding means on finding the relationships. I’d like to understand what’s going on here. So what I do consciously, then, when I say I’m thinking, is that my conscious part is: in keep coming messages with maple trees and things like that. It’s really very interesting. I’m glad to have that information. But please wait in the anteroom. Don’t go away, but wait in the anteroom. So my conscious part is holding this interesting but irrelevant information to one side while I’m parting the grass and finding that path. And suddenly, I find out what it is that I’m looking for. So my conscious part was dismissing or holding off temporary irrelevancies.


I’ve even discovered that my conscious part was then dismissing irrelevancies. I then found the irrelevancies fell into two main classes. All experiences—which I’m trying to recall and identify—all experiences which are too large and too infrequent to, in any way, be synchronizable to the magnitude that I’m considering, and all the experiences I’ve had which are too high-frequency, too minute, to in any way have a worthwhile magnitude at the size of this. So I find that, really, it’s tuning. There’s too great a wavelength and that’s too small a wavelength. This is really sweet point. Now, furthermore, about our experiences: I’m dismissing experiences; they’re irrelevant. So there’s a macrocosmic and a microcosmic group. Now, experiences are inherently omnidirectionally observed. That is, our Earth is revolving, you and I are pivoting and roving, looking in all directions. So when I say my total experiences, they are omnidirectionally positioned in respect to me. Therefore, the irrelevances which are too large and too infrequent, I dismiss outwardly, omnidirectionally. And ones that are too high-frequency, too small, I dismiss inwardly.


I discover, then, that the consequence of my conscious subscription, intuitively, to this preoccupation and my conscious attempt, then, to put aside irrelevancies has, then, taken all my experiences and put them into two main groups. All the experiences outside and all the experiences inside, and a few of the experiences which are lucidly relevant to each other. I discovered, then, that what I call a thought is a relevant set. And this relevant set defines an inside and an outside-ness. And I said, “Alright, how many stars would it take to produce an insideness and an outsideness?” Two stars do not—they have betweenness. Not insideness and outsideness. And three stars have betweenness, but no insideness and outsideness. So they’d only define a plane. Not like four parts, which have insideness and outsideness. So I said, “This is really very, very exciting.”


This would be—I gave the name, then, of a conceptual subdivision of Universe. I called it a system. And a system, I said, subdivides all Universe into all the Universe outside the system, all the Universe inside the system, and a little bit of the Universe which is a system which is subdividing. There’s going to be a very terminal condition here. Absolutely terminal. And this gave me great power of definition. So this is a thinkable set, and the minimum is a tetrahedron. A tetrahedron becomes very fascinating.


In that relationship I then also went into developing a definition of the word “structure.” I felt that understandings and interrelationships are, incidentally—the four points have six interrelationships. That’s quite a different number. One is a prime number two, the other is a prime number three. Beautiful arithmetical brilliance here with the number of relationships which you would have to find and understand all the relationships with something other than the number of the stars. That’s one of the reasons why understanding would not be [???]. So here’s a very important synergetic phenomenon going on.


Now, structure. I found engineers and scientists did not have a definition of “structure.” They talk about a structure, but they don’t have a definition of structure. And I want to arrive at my structural definition experientially. I’m going to make a necklace. A fine necklace consists of tubes. The surface may be quite fancy outside of the tube, but inside is a tube through which we have a continuous cord. And a necklace comes back to itself. It’s a finite closure; back upon itself. I find that the—I’m going to pay no attention to the exterior decorations of the beads. I’m just interested in the tube parts. So I’m just going to deliberately take tubes. And I’m going to take a number of tubes of the same length, which is easy. So I’m going to take a number of aluminum tubes a quarter inch in diameter and about nine inches long—easy to see in the room here—and run Dacron cord through them. I’m going to make a very long necklace. We find we can drape it all around the room. It is [???] drives by by its transformability, mutability. And I then, looking at the necklace, observing very carefully what goes on, I find none of the tubes are changing in length nor are any of them bending. Whatever is going on here that makes possible all these changing shapes is not to do with the tubes themselves. Something between the tubes, or the angles—where the tension cable runs between them. So the cable doesn’t have to necessarily go through. I could make it fast from end to end of the tube. It becomes, really, a fixed, push-pull member with this flexible corner. So it’s the angles that are changing.


Because it isn’t the tubes, I begin to take the tubes out one by one, deliberately, to see what kind of effects I get. First I find that, if there are even numbers of tubes in the necklace, it’ll make a wave. Positive, negative, positive, negative. Valley, peak. But if we have odd numbers, then it gets to where it’s bulky and it has a plateau at some points. Then I keep on taking out beads. And I finally get down to where I only have six beads left. Six of these tubes. And I’ve draped it over my shoulders. Nine inches, nine inches, nine inches. So there’s a “U” in front of me, a “U” down my back. Alright. I take out one more. I only have five. So I have a “V” in front here and a “U” down back. I take out one more, I only have four. I have a “V” in front and a “V” down my back. It drapes over my shoulders. I take out one more and I only have three. That’s the last; the minimum polygon. And for the first time it does not flex. It is what you and I call a triangle.


Now, there are six parts that exist: the three independent tensions and three independent compressions. And six independents are interacting to produce a stable pattern. So this begins to get pretty close to being able to define a structure: it is a complex of events that interact to produce a stable pattern. Then I find that the only polygon that is most stable is the triangle. And it is the minimum polygon. It could not have two sides. So I find that the minimum polygon is the most stable. And it is, if it exists experientially, it’s going to then consist of: maybe I’ll drape something on the board, but the board, when I get down I find it’s a [???]. But these constituents in there are the minimum as I gave it to you. These push-pulls.


So I say if a triangle is structure, and a structure is triangle. How’s that? And this was essentially very well known to the ancients, so that we have the trestle, the traces, the truss. But we see men doing lots of things with other kinds of polygons and stabilizing them with little gusset-plate triangles. Enormous leverage against it. Very [???]. At any rate, nature does things the most economical way. So she would not do it in that uneconomical way of leverage advantage against a joint.


Now, [???]. Triangle is structure, structure is triangle. And I come, then, to the minimum system of Universe, and it consists of four triangles. So not only is it a minimum system, it is a minimum structural system. It is the absolute limit case all the way through. Anybody [???] because you’re really dealing [???].

Part 6


—X-Y-Z coordinate. You cannot have another dimension unless you get a perpendicular to the system that is not parallel to one of the lines already introduced. And I said you can’t make it, therefore, because nature is using fourth-power quite clearly with black-body radiation. She is not using models, therefore we are exempt from now having to explain—nature does not use models. This is the middle of the nineteenth century, and so for about a century and a quarter we’ve had science flying on instruments. Not looking out of the window anymore. There’s nothing to look at.


For this reason, then, we have this extraordinary gap between the scientists where less than one percent of humanity are scientists. And the CPSO says the great gulf between the science and human continually… [???]. And that, really, the whole of society is breaking down because society doesn’t really know what science is. Participation. Therefore, I’ll tell you what I’ve been working on and giving to you here became very interesting to me back before World War I. I concluded that nature—I said it doesn’t have a department of mathematics or physics and chemistry, so we have to have department meetings to know what to do. We had shown as one department, and she has a beautiful coordinating system. And I see that chemistry shows me—she associates and disassociates in a whole, rational number. It’s H2O, not HπO. So I think all the irrationals that have appeared in man—in the XYZ, centimeters, grams, seconds, so forth—systems have all occurred because man came in the attic window instead of the front door and has been trying to measure everything with an attic window, or the growing edge of it instead of the diagonal [???]. So I said I think it could be we might find nature’s coordinate system. And if we could find it, we might really be able to bring together the chasm between the human and the scientist. So that’s the very essence of all the things I’m really communicating to you all here. That we stayed conceptual all day. I really had to go to the board very, very little here. And that was highly conceptual.


Now, I introduced the word “precession” to you. The effect of bodies in motion on other bodies in motion producing 90-degree-ness. When man took a magnet, had a coil of copper wire, and he has meters on it—there is no current in it, it’s just a copper wire. Takes a bar magnet and and approaches the coil, and immediately, precessionally, he’s going this way, produces at 90 degrees a circuit, a current in it. And that sets up a field, and the field resists the magnet. Says don’t come any further. He starts moving the magnet, the juice stops. He starts pulling the magnet away, immediately starts the coil. Juice is going the other way and sets up a field that says don’t go away, pulls it back. That’s a pure precession. Just like, as you drop the stone in the water and it starts a circle out that way. And the precession is regenerative. So it starts this way, which begets this way. And this way begets that way. And there’s your waves going out. As you get into precession and conceptuality, which very much seem very obscure, suddenly seems utterly acceptable to your personal experience of waves.


I’m now going to pull away from the [???] geometry and I want you to have a sense of hierarchy and inter-transformability and understanding and all the basic structure, inter-transforming one with the other, and come back to an earlier part of the evening, trying to think—I want you to think of the biggest patterns we’ve gotten into, the ability to think independent of size, which is even better. Where we have generalization, conceptuality, independent of size. And I’m going to come just to looking at our own little planet. And I spoke earlier this evening about it taking my father two months to go from Boston to Buenos Aires and three months to go from Boston to Bombay. And I’d like to introduce some maps for you. Because, again, I find we have very powerfully conditioned reflexes. So I’m going to now introduce the next basic slide.


And this next basic slide is—some of you are very familiar with it—we call it the Mercator map. This is what they have in all the schools and all the colleges, and keep on having it. This is the world. And in that picture of the world you find the—I’m a little in the way of Australia, but I want you to look at Greenland and Australia behind my neck. Greenland is apparently three times the size of Australia. (Very good. And I need tacks handy. Very good. Oh, that’s fine.) So we see on the left-hand side Russia, and then 25,000 miles away, over on the right-hand side, we see some Russia. They’re only five miles apart, but they look to be 25,000 miles apart. And it has no Antarctic at all. And this absolutely enormous amount of water up in the northern section, apparently, as the area in the south. This is a way man has really been—you used to say “East” and “West.” In a water-ocean world he could not transfer cargoes at sea, he had to go to harbors. There were not many harbors. And this is really a pattern of harbors. The east coast with New York and Philadelphia pretty good, but New York by far the best. Boston fairly good. Chesapeake. And the west coast: San Francisco, Seattle. Approximately nothing else. And he had relatively few ports on the other side. So all the main traffic was between those—the integration of the Earth by water to the harbor cities. And the East-West world sailing pretty much within the tolerable latitudes. We don’t get too cold and so forth and using much of the trade winds. May I have the next picture, then? I think that comes up in the chart there.


This is an entirely unfamiliar map to you, but it is a true map as far as distortion and shape goes, of relative size. This is a map of the whole world, but it is a water-ocean world. And the—I think, with your mind, would you revolve it once more for me? Where the—turn one corner more right. That’s it. Once more. In the upper right-hand corner you see Asia. You see India, China, and Asiatic Russia. In the upper left-hand corner you see Europe and Africa and the Middle East. The lower—it’s a propeller blade. In the lower we have South America, then North America at the very, very bottom. The vanity of people in America makes it look sort of—“We’re upside down!” as they say. Of course, there is no up and down in the universe, so we’re not upside down. And it happens that the upper right-hand corner there—52% of humanity. In the upper left-hand corner there are 29% of humanity. And down here we only have 6% in North America. So the big show—upper right-hand corner is what Kipling called the East, and the upper left-hand corner is what he called the West. And he said, “East is East and West is West, they never twain shall meet.” Americas were not in this show at all. They were more recently discovered. And they were not really counting in that kind of a way of thinking about things.


This is very much a more important map than you can think about. It happens that 85% of all the land is north of the Equator. Three quarters of the Earth is water. 85% of the dry land is north of the Equator, 90% of the people are north of the Equator. We are very much a northern hemisphere population world. In the southern hemisphere is all this water. Now, we’re used to thinking of an Atlantic ocean and a Pacific ocean, Indian ocean—separate oceans. And what we have here is: the Earth is always revolving west to east. And as it revolves west to east, daily, we have also the atmosphere, we have a northern jet stream and a southern jet stream revolving very much faster than the Earth. They sometimes get up to 400 miles an hour faster than the Earth is turning; than the gases are turning. Then we have the water of the Earth trying also to turn than the dry land. But in the northern hemisphere there is a mountain range across here, so the waters do go around west to east in two different groups. There’s the Bering sea, west-to-eastly, and there’s a Greenland west-to-eastly. But in the southern hemisphere the water would go west to east unimpeded. It get most choked at where we call the Horn, where the waters go through the Horn. And you can see the shape—look at the Antarctic there. And between the tip of South America and the Antarctic there’s this horn formed where ice and enormous waters are going through, channeling through.


Now, this is a picture of a water-ocean world in contradistinction to the land-ocean world. And the people who learn, then, that the water—leaders between all the countries are people who then exploited the remoteness of humanity. I call the great pirates for a very simple reason that the laws cannot be enforced out on the water any further than human beings could throw projectiles. And that distance was a three-mile limit. That’s about it. The laws of the land have never been enforced on the sea, therefore the sea—which is three quarters Earth—is outside the law. And the people who lived on it were out-laws. And the top ones are called sovereigns and the lesser ones are called the pirates. The ins are the sovereigns and the outs are the pirates. And it’s often reversed in position.


So the great exploiters, then, or the remoteness of humanity, the integration, synergetic wealth that is generated by bringing resources that are remote from one another, this is the pattern of it. Because there was, around the south, then, the merry-go-round. Not a very merry-go-round, but it was an enormous dynamic go-around from west to east. And you get down on that water, if your ship could take it, you'd go zooming from the Pacific into the Atlantic, and then zooming from the Atlantic into the Indian ocean, and vice versa. It's a great turntable. And it became, then, the most economical way to get from here to there. Because once you go to your ship, you can go to any place in the world. This was the key to going anywhere in the world.


The English—called the British Empire; this is a map of the British Empire—with 90% of humanity out in the tips of the propeller there. Nothing is going on at all down here. They've gone to the tip of South America, the tip of South Africa, and they've gone to Australia and New Zealand, and they've gone in the merry-go-round. This is the pattern that Admiral Mahan discovered. He became very famous in the American Navy because it was suddenly introduced to the American Navy the fact that the British discovered long ago that there's only one ocean. And the key of it is the great merry-go-round here. They call it the polar-go-round. And so that is the remoteness of humanity when I checked into this picture; what was natural to me. And east is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet. May I have the next one, then, please?


These are the same map pieces. And these map pieces—as you can check by folding them on the edge, and they make the icosahedron. You come around and you find it in complete agreement with any globe. You will find no visual discrepancy whatsoever in route, or shape, or size, or either relationships. But now, looking down at the same pieces rearranged to be what I call the “Land World.” Now the land is at the center. The water was at the center before, now the land is. We have here all the dry land of the Earth without any break in any of the continental contours that you had in the Mercator. Without any distortion. And on it, then, we have a very interesting set of conditions. If you would rotate once more and have North America at the top, sir. Once more. That's it. Just call this, then—the Mercator was an east-west world, and the east is east and west is west, and traffic was east-westing. This is from the north-south world. And on this map you will find that something very fascinating happens.


In 1961, utterly unpredicted by anything in history, three jet airplanes suddenly carried more passengers across the Atlantic than did the Queen Mary in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost. In 1961 the ship became obsolete as a way in which man got from here to there around his world. And this is not, as yet, really serious—all those ships, looking for cruise ships, whatever it is, it's all over. And with it, all of the east-westing railroads are gone. So we have great ports like New York, where everyone used to come in. Enormous real estate investments there. San Francisco, so forth. And now there's nothing there, so we try to get conventions to try and keep going. And the people left their farms. They're all piling in. And so we have a momentary great mess of really no raison dêtre whatsoever.


We have, then, suddenly this north-south world. And on it, that map you're looking at now, 90% of humanity can reach each other on the shortest great circle routes without going near the Atlantic, Pacific or the Indian ocean. They are obsolete for our interests except for a place to cruise. They're also very, very important when we come to food supply. But the point is that, as far as all the traffic goes, this is the way it's going to go. But we have such powerful investments in the real estates in those cities that want to be east-west that they try to resist this. But what's going on is: Canada has suddenly become really important because—where is Canada? They have contact with Russia and China. No distance at all. And I wanted to give you a very abrupt picture.


Now, we have—and you'll see it on the screen—I'd like to show the slides of the population. We have 3,700,000,000 people on our planet right now. So one percent would be 37 million people. Can you see on the screen, all of you? There is the world ocean world. And on our world ocean world, each one of those white dots is one percent of humanity actually located where the people are. By far the greatest concentration of people is around Bangladesh. You can see in there, it's enormous. That whole subcontinent is extraordinary in the number of people there. China and India, Pakistan. (May I have that picture back again?) In the upper left you can see Europe. Then, if I get myself out of the way here, you see North America: very few little lights there. And very few of them in South America.


This is a real emphasis of humanity. We have an integrating humanity. Yesterday, man was inherently divided. Now man is inherently integrated. Nothing could be more abrupt trying to change historically, combing the big patterns that I've talked to you about. So may I have the next picture again? There we see the land world. And where the people were deployed and remote from one another, suddenly we see how close they really are to one another. And you really see how swift this integration is bound to be.


I feel that I have given you, now, enough for tonight. It's 10:30. But the main thing was to introduce enormous big patterns, that evolution and Universe is at work. Universe has an a priori integrity, it's an a priori mystery. Then you and I come in, naked, finding our way. We have gained enough understanding and experiences to discover that—as the Oxford Dictionary makes it about—100,000 nuances of common experiences. So unique, so nuanced, that they really need their own special describing word. And we've agreed on 100,000 words for those unique experiences. It represents one of the most extraordinary memorials of humanity to me—that we have those tools; that I can sit here, thinking out loud and use those tools that I've gained by humanity over all those millions of years of communicability. So I see, then, these very beautiful, big things happening, and we will pursue it from there. But I think I've introduced you to a grand strategy of problem-solving. I want to think about: why are humans here, why they have their beautiful mind, and why they have access to the great principles of Universe itself; some of the great design? Nothing else we know has access to it. Common to all human beings and all history, completely independent of any ethic or whatever may be. Problems, problems, problems! That we are here for problem-solving. Not to have problems out of the way in some stupid, sublime—something called peace—but here strictly for problem-solving. And the better you get at it, the more problems you're going to get to solve. And we find the games played by humanity—they knock out of [???], you get randomness, and the whole game is converted to order to comprehend and understand. And in this transition we're going through, we'll go into a great deal of that in a further session—what goes on, what is politics, and so on.


But I think tonight, then, we have the prime ingredients, I think, of introducing problem strategy solving capability; what systems really are. We have a system in which you don't have anything… any parameters are going to get accidentally left out. And I think I've introduced enough to you that you have confidence with me in seeking more and more of these big patterns. Then, being able to exempt man, not taking him to seriously. I'm quite confident that the star is not saying to the other stars, “We're not going to keep life going on that planet. They haven't paid their bill.” I don't think the universe is talking any such nonsense. What we're out to really discover, what we can, is how Universe really does operate, why we are here, and how we begin to participate in the big game of Universe itself rather than the game we've been playing on our planet Earth, which is really quite unrealistic and been highly distortable.

Thank you.

Everything I Know

Richard Buckminster Fuller


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