Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Shifting resources into the civilian sector, with some continuity for military personnel in terms of providing support logistics for grand strategy planning and implementation, is what Project Renaissance is about, a broad brush stroke scenario reflecting the thoughts of many planners, and distilled in my own writings with reference to the Peace Dividend we used to talk about in an earlier chapter.

Phasing in more memes from our buckaneer syllabus does not represent some hostile takeover or victory by some enemy, but the triumph of better judgment and a commitment to retooling for a promising next chapter. "Memes" are akin to slogans or bumper stickers (we could take these as examples), such as "more with less", "think globally act locally", and "Spaceship Earth", all currently in circulation and interconnected.

Regarding the more esoteric philosophical language we champion ("we" being Grunchies, organizations with a positive future focus), there's no compulsion to sweep away or replace competing discourse, only to "add spice" (in the sense of flavor) by phasing in some obviously timely ideas. No new fanaticism has been proposed to my knowledge, though I (for one) admit to being highly repetitious in my harping on the "whole number volumes in a sphere packing matrix" meme, which makes for good television. Synergetics (the magnum opus I often cite) is not about bulldozing prior art (on the contrary).

Per recent email to Ian, a mathematician and colleague, I do work to counter the "poor slob Bucky" meme, i.e. a spin in journalistic accounts, many of them consequent to the art world's revived interest in his work (Whitney and Noguchi museums in NYC for example, also Portland Center Stage here in Portland).

His was most definitely a success story, even by conventional criteria, in terms of awards and acheivements. The judgment that he failed is with reference to his dreams for a brighter tomorrow based around the development and design of "livingry" i.e. life supportive technologies (new models of "dwelling machine" for example). Fuller wanted to establish that we had these options, considered himself a realist in this sense. He successfully communicated his findings, however it's up to the rest of us to keep taking whatever actions.

In other words, these are cultural dreams, aspects of the American dream (Fuller was awarded a Medal of Freedom), a shared asset, and our companies still work in that direction, haven't abandoned those hopes. Russian brands of utopianism likewise feed into the mix. Indira Gandhi was a Bucky fan (the guy got around). We're talking about a cosmopolitan commitment to sustaining a viable Earthian economy (= ecosystem).

We certainly welcome the art world's willingness to champion our cause. Fuller regarded artists as among his closest allies.

Also, as I was mentioning in recent communications with David Koski, our mutual friend Ed Applewhite (EJA), a lifelong collaborator of Bucky's, was generally averse to any "hagiography" around RBF, while Fuller himself insisted in his own writings that he be regarded as an "average human being" (despite his "engineer saint" and "gentle genius" monikers). He didn't try to wear a halo, only to faithfully practice his self disciplines.

Obviously I'm trying to anticipate what the barriers might be, to continuing with our design science agenda. Critical Path takes poetic license to mythologize outside of conventional storytelling, as does Tetrascroll. I take these as barriers to literalist and/or fundamentalist belief system formation. At least there's no "superman" meme or hint of a "master race" concept (the concept of "race" is deprecated in Fuller's writings, per discoveries in genetic science, as is "class" i.e. his was not a "class warfare" agenda).

In sum, I see much to recommend more concerted investment in our corporate (in the sense of shared -- Quaker jargon) agenda. People are casting about for some coordinating heuristics that have the potential to drum up business and create opportunities for interesting work. Active sponsorship of these plans would seem an intelligent response to the current crisis in confidance and fears of economic collapse. Heritage matters. Storytelling matters. Any anthropologist (or politician) could tell you that.