Each year about this time as Burning Man is in full swing, people ask me if Buckminster Fuller ever participated in the event. Most people figure that since the geodesic domes are so prevalent at Burning Man and Bucky's vision is clearly reflected in Burning Man's Ten Guiding Principles, that he must have been involved in the early days of the event.
Actually, Bucky died in 1983 well before the first Burning Man was conceived. However, there is no doubt that he had a major impact on the San Francisco community that birthed Burning Man. Just take a look at the video Sam Greene uses in his "The Lovesong of R. Buckminster Fuller." There's Bucky in his three-piece suit and tie very comfortable with 1970's hippies in San Francisco. I have no doubt that he would have been invited to Burning Man and showed up appropriately attired just as he did in the 1970s.
And he would have loved Burning Man's Ten Principles because they reflect the way he knew we must live if we are to survive and thrive on board the small planet he named Spaceship Earth. Here are those Ten Principles are along with a short description of Bucky's view on each of them.
Bucky would often say that it's everybody or nobody in our emerging culture of abundance. We have to include all life in our plans and projects if we are to survive and thrive
Bucky taught that each of us has special "gifts" or talents to contribute and now that there are enough resources to support all life on Earth, we can each cultivate and contribute those gifts freely. No need to be paid for what we contribute to others.
Bucky often spoke of the onerous nature of ownership. For his entire life, he resisted owning things. He owned only one home, a small geodesic dome that was built for him and given to him. Bucky was a master at sharing all that he had with whoever asked for it, and he always put the other person first knowing that he could get more.
Bucky used his entire adult life as a demonstration of what one penniless human with no connections or resources could accomplish. In the end, that 56 Year Experiment provided that we can each be interdependently self-reliant and make a huge different on our planet with our fellow Spaceship Earth crew.
Bucky was adamant that each of us has unique talents or gifts that we must express and share if we are to thrive as individuals and as a species. When he was seriously contemplating suicide in 1927, he had a mystic experience in which he was "told" that he (like all humans) was a unique link in a chain of evolution that he did not have the right to break, and he knew that self-expression is the only way to share our link and keep it strong.
Bucky constantly lectured and wrote that cooperation must replace competition in all aspects of human existence - both individually and societally. This is the only way the human species survives and thrives. We're all in this together on the tiny planet he named Spaceship Earth.
Bucky taught that we each have a responsibility to our community. However, he also made it clear that most existing communal structures such as politics and corporations are obsolete in our new paradigm of abundance. In this global community we have a civic responsibility to all life on Earth.
Leaving No Trace
Bucky was probably the first true global environmentalist. As such, he taught people to walk lightly on the Earth. Leaving no trace for him was more than just cleaning up after oneself. It was a matter of putting all resources back in a place where they could be reused for the great good. Thus, we have no pollution, only resources out of place.
Bucky made it clear that we are each here to fully participate in the evolution of ourselves, our environment and our planet. Everyone needs to "play" fully (or perhaps fuller) in this game of life we are so fortunate to have been chosen for.
Bucky frequently chided people not to trust anything other than their own personal experience. He even told people not to believe what he was saying, but to check it out for themselves. He personally sought to always be present in the moment and to trust his own experience and intuition above anything else.
So, although Buckminster Fuller never attended a Burning Man event, he was a true Burner, committed to the transformation and success of all sentient beings.
May we all learn from these Ten Principles and notice how they mesh with our personal experience so that each of us becomes genuinely fuller citizens on board Spaceship Earth.