Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

American Systems Theorist, Engineer, Architect, Futurist, Visionary, Designer and Author

"We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody."

"99% of all transactions are either infra or ultra to our sensory tuning."

"All nature's structuring and patterning must be based on triangles."

"Either man is obsolete or war is. War is the ultimate tool of politics. Political leaders look out only for their own side. Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers."

"Here is God's purpose- for God, to me, it seems, is a verb, not a noun, proper or improper."

"I conceive of God as a verb, not a noun. Intellect manifest in man is to some extent God. God is part of the thinking process of every man."

"I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what I’ve invented."

"A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist."

"Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment."

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

"Don't fight forces, use them."

"Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it."

"Pollution is nothing but resources we're not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value. But if we got onto a planning planning basis, the government could trap pollutants in the stacks and spillages and get back more money than this would cost out of the stockpiled chemistries they'd be collecting. Margaret Mead gets cross with me when I talk like this because she says people are doing some very important things because they're worried and excited and I'm going to make them relax and stop doing those things. But we're dealing with something much bigger than we're accustomed to understanding, we're on a very large course indeed. You speak of racism, for example, and I tell you that there's no such thing as race. The point is that racism is the product of tribalism and ignorance and both are falling victim to communications and world-around literacy."

"Society cannot continue to live on oil and gas. Those fossil fuels represent nature’s savings accounts which took billions of years to form."

"Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes."

"A new, self-employed architect scientist is the one in all the world who may accelerate realization of a high-standard survival for all, as now completely practical within the scope of available technology. "

"A pattern has an integrity independent of the medium by virtue of which you have received the information that it exists. Each of the chemical elements is a pattern integrity. Each individual is a pattern integrity. The pattern integrity of the human individual is evolutionary and not static."

"A proverb is much matter distilled into few words."

"All human advances occur in the outlaw area."

"All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now."

"All sports are time control demonstrations."

"All the great metaphysical integrity of all the individuals, which is potential and inherent in the complex interactions of generalized principles, will always and only coexist eternally."

"An immortality of pain and tears; an infinity of wretchedness and despair; the blackness of darkness across which conscience will forever shoot her clear and ghastly flashes--like lightning streaming over a desert when midnight and tempest are there; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; long, long eternity, and things that will make eternity seem longer--making each moment seem eternity--oh, miserable, condition of the damned!"

"Architects, if they are really to be comprehensive, must assume the enormous task of thinking in terms always disciplined to the scale of the total world pattern of needs, its resource flows, its recirculatory and regenerative processes. "

"Are you spontaneously enthusiastic about everyone having everything you can have?"

"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."

"As many have long suspected — like it or not — ‘life is but a dream."

"Brethren, life is passing; youth goes, strength decays. But duty performed, work done for God--this abides forever, this alone is imperishable."

"But our captain counts the image of God, nevertheless, his image--cut in ebony as if done in ivory; and in the blackest Moors he sees the representation of the King of heaven."

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

"By and large, I seem to have made more mistakes than any others of whom I know, but have learned thereby to make ever swifter acknowledgment of the errors and thereafter immediately set about to deal more effectively with the truths disclosed by the acknowledgment of erroneous assumptions."

"Call intuition cosmic fishing. You feel a nibble, then you've got to hook the fish."

"Children will draw pictures with everything in them...houses and trees and people and animals...and the sun AND the moon. Grown-up says, That's a nice picture, Honey, but you put the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time and that isn't right. But the child is right! The sun and moon are in the sky at the same time."

"Controlled time is our true wealth. "

"Corporations are neither physical nor metaphysical phenomena. They are socioeconomic ploys — legally enacted game-playing — agreed upon only between overwhelmingly powerful socioeconomic individuals and by them imposed upon human society and its’ all unwitting members."

"Critical threshold-crossing of the inevitable revolution is already underway."

"Dare to be naive. "

"Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete. "

"Dictators never invent their own opportunities."

"Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is typical of humanity. Precession — not conscious planning — provides a productive outcome for misguided political and military campaigns. Nature's long-term design intervenes to circumvent the shortsightedness of human individuals, corporations, and nations competing for a share of the economic pie. Fundamentally, political economists misassume an inadequacy of life support to exist on our planet. Humanity therefore competes militarily to see which political system... is fittest to survive. In slavish observance of this misassumption, humans devote their most costly efforts and resources to killingry — a vast arsenal of weapons skillfully designed to kill ever more people at ever-greater distances in ever-shorter periods of time while employing ever-fewer pounds of material, ergs of energy, and seconds of time per killing."

"Don't try to make me consistent. I am learning all the time."

"Each age is characterized by its own astronomical myriads of new, special-case experiences and problems to be stored in freshly born optimum capacity human brains — which storages in turn may disclose to human minds the presence of heretofore undiscovered, unsuspectedly existent eternal generalized principles."

"Each one of us has something to contribute. This really depends on each one doing their own thinking, but not following any kind of rule that I can give out, any command. We're all on the frontier; we're all in a great mystery — incredibly mysterious."

"Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic."

"Every child has an enormous drive to demonstrate competence. If humans are not required to earn a living to be provided survival needs, many are going to want very much to be productive, but not at those tasks they did not choose to do but were forced to accept in order to earn money. Instead, humans will spontaneously take upon themselves those tasks that world society really needs to have done."

"Every child is a genius, but is enslaved by the misconceptions of self-doubt of the adult world, and spends much of his or her time having to unlearn that perspective."

"Every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less. He may learn that what he thought was true was not true. By the elimination of a false premise, his basic capital wealth which in his given lifetime is disembarrassed of further preoccupation with considerations of how to employ a worthless time-consuming hypothesis. Freeing his time for its more effective exploratory investment is to give man increased wealth."

"Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them."

"Everything you’ve learned in school as ‘obvious’ becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines."

"Evolution consists of many great revolutionary events taking place quite independently of man's consciously attempting to bring them about. Man is very vain; he likes to feel that he is responsible for all the favorable things that happen, and he is innocent of all the unfavorable happenings. But all the larger evolutionary patternings seeming favorable or unfavorable to man's conditioned reflexing are transpiring transcendentally to any of man's conscious planning or contriving."