Buckminster Fuller died thirty years ago on July 1, 1983. At the moment of his passing, I was sitting in a movie theater watching the just-released "War Games," named after the military plans for global annihilation that Bucky's (the name he preferred) "World Game" was designed to counter. In war games, the object is to destroy and kill. In "World Game" the object is to create Bucky's vision of "a world that works for everyone" by using our current resources and knowhow for livingry rather than weaponry.
And although Marshall McLuhan called Bucky "the 20th Century Leonardo da Vinci," even thirty years after his death, we are no closer to that vision than we were decades ago. In fact, we might just be farther from it, and Buckminster Fuller's life and ideas are more obscure than when he was walking the planet he named Spaceship Earth delivering 150 "thinking out loud" lectures per year. In every one of those presentation, Bucky reminded his audiences,
"For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."
Although I wrote two books about Bucky (Buckminster Fuller's Universe (1988), A Fuller View (2012)), there has been no best-selling book about Bucky, and few publishers are interested in more books about his wisdom and practical solutions to all humankind's problems. I know this because I've been pitching these books for thirty plus years.
And, in an era when we have feature films about some fairly obscure performers, athletes and other unique individuals, there has yet to be a feature film about Bucky's amazing life. Here is a man who
• Was granted 25 U.S. patents.
• Wrote 28 published books and thousands of articles.
• Received 47 honorary doctorates.
• Was presented with hundreds of major awards.
• Circled the globe 57 times working on projects and lecturing.
• Presented an average of 150 "thinking out loud" sessions per year.
• Demonstrated and documented the importance of the "little individual" in the grand scheme of human evolution.
Still, he has yet to be fully recognized and appreciated. More important, the sage wisdom he offers for surviving and thriving both as individuals and as a species is largely ignored.
Bucky was one of the first people (perhaps the first person) to live consciously as a global citizen. His mission was twofold and quite clear.
1) To demonstrate and document what one individual could achieve that could not be accomplished by any institution or organization no matter how affluent or powerful.
(2) To advocate and work for the success of all life on the planet he named Spaceship Earth using his Comprehensive, Anticipatory Design Science.
And he lived that mission in a disciplined manner for most of his adult life. Walking that path, Bucky was able to teach by example -- showing us with his accomplishments and seeming failures that each of us possess tremendous gifts that we can contribute to others and help create "a world that works for everyone." He also proved that a person could have a satisfying, enjoyable life while making his or her unique contribution.
Today, more than ever, we need conscious, awake, participating global citizens, and we are fortunate that we don't have to figure out how to become such citizens on our own. Bucky's life serves as a template for anyone who wants to fully participate and make the most difference with the least amount of effort. We can solve everything from poverty to war to global warming if we will just consider the wisdom of our elders, and in this case the global elder R. Buckminster Fuller.
May we each find our true path and contribution just as Bucky did.