All quotes from Richard Buckminster Fuller’s

If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.

Our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking.

Nothing seems to be more prominent about human life than its wanting to understand all and put everything together.

One of humanity’s prime drives is to understand and be understood. All other living creatures are designed for highly specialized tasks. Man seems unique as the comprehensive comprehender and coordinator of local universe affairs.

What nature needed man to be was adaptive in many if not any direction; wherefore she gave man a mind as well as a coordinating switchboard brain. Mind apprehends and comprehends the general principles governing flight and deep sea diving, and man puts on his wings or his lungs, then takes them off when not using them. The specialist bird is greatly impeded by its wings when trying to walk. The fish cannot come out of the sea and walk upon land, for birds and fish are specialists.

As a consequence of the slavish “categoryitis” the scientifically illogical, and as we shall see, often meaningless questions “Where do you live?” “What are you?” “What religion?” “What race?” “What nationality?” are all thought of today as logical questions. By the twenty-first century it either will have become evident to humanity that these questions are absurd and anti-evolutionary or men will no longer be living on Earth.

A new, physically uncompromised, metaphysical initiative of unbiased integrity could unify the world. It could and probably will be provided by the utterly impersonal problem solutions of the computers. Only to their superhuman range of calculative capabilities can and may all political, scientific, and religious leaders face-savingly acquiesce.

Thus the metaphysical took the measure of, and mastered, the physical.

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

There’s a major pattern of energy in universe wherein the very large events—earthquakes and so forth—occur in any one area of universe very much less frequently than do the small energy events. Around the Earth insects occur more often than do earthquakes. In the patterning of total evolutionary events, there comes a time, once in a while, amongst the myriad of low energy events, when a large energy event transpires and is so disturbing that, with their general adaptability lost, the ultra-specialized creatures perish.

Man is going to be displaced altogether as a specialist by the computer. Man himself is being forced to reestablish, employ, and enjoy his innate “comprehensivity.” Coping with the totality of Spaceship Earth and universe is ahead for all of us. Evolution is apparently intent that man fulfill a much greater destiny than that of being a simple muscle and reflex machine.

Spaceship Earth was so extraordinarily well invented and designed that to our knowledge humans have been on board it for two million years not even knowing that they were on board a ship. And our spaceship is so superbly designed as to be able to keep life regenerating on board despite the phenomenon, entropy, by which all local physical systems lose energy. So we have to obtain our biological life-regenerating energy from another spaceship, the Sun.

We have not been seeing our Spaceship Earth as an integrally-designed machine which to be persistently successful must be comprehended and serviced in total.

“How do we think in terms of wholes?” If it is true that the bigger the thinking becomes the more lastingly effective it is, we must ask, “How big can we think?”

Since synergy is the only word in our language meaning behavior of wholes unpredicted by behavior of their parts, it is clear that society does not think there are behaviors of whole systems unpredicted by their separate parts. This means that society’s formally-accredited thoughts and ways of accrediting others are grossly inadequate in comprehending the nonconceptual qualities of the scenario “universal evolution.”

The procedure we are pursuing is that of true democracy. Semi-democracy accepts the dictatorship of a majority in establishing its arbitrary, ergo, unnatural, laws. True democracy discovers by patient experiment and unanimous acknowledgment what the laws of nature or universe may be for the physical support and metaphysical satisfaction of the human intellect’s function in universe.

The difference between mind and brain is that brain deals only with memorized, subjective, special-case experiences and objective experiments, while mind extracts and employs the generalized principles and integrates and interrelates their effective employment. Brain deals exclusively with the physical, and mind exclusively with the metaphysical. Wealth is the product of the progressive mastery of matter by mind, and is specifically accountable in forward man-days of established metabolic regeneration advantages spelled out in hours of life for specific numbers of individuals released from formerly prescribed entropy-preoccupying tasks for their respectively individual yet inherently co-operative elective investment in further anti-entropic effectiveness.

You may very appropriately want to ask me how we are going to resolve the ever-acceleratingly dangerous impasse of world-opposed politicians and ideological dogmas. I answer, it will be resolved by the computer.

So, planners, architects, and engineers: take the initiative. Go to work! And above all, co-operate and don’t hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.