Friday, April 03, 2009

Model UN?

Given our predilection to use an apolitical world map, to speak of "supranational institutions", there's maybe some confusion as to whether Fuller Schoolers are "anti UN" in some way. Isn't the United Nations itself a supranational institution?

is not a result of legislating something away, but of acknowledging limitations. The ecosystem didn't suddenly split asunder just because a small minority instituted a system of jurisdictions, with many falling between the cracks, either unable to get a passport, or simply not caring about these "invisible lines" through their deserts.

In like fashion, Native Americans never felt compelled to memorize the "50 states", as their points of reference were much older and no more arbitrary. How we choose to mentally subdivide the planet is to some extent a matter of ethnicity and personal choice.

If your company administers a sprawling network in many cities, it stands to reason the CEO might put her "nationality" on the back burner, as something to quietly take pride in, but without being too vocal about. Whereas refugees and non-humans may have no citizenship, some others have two or three.

As a maverick individualist, Fuller tended to see himself as a "me ball", with his environment as "otherness", their interplay an "awareness" (a relationship). Each one of us has a similar individualized relationship to the planet, one which transcends accidents of birth, conventions around citizenship or membership.

In exercising more personal responsibility towards our fellow beings, regardless of which passport they're carrying, we come to think more supranationally, more like airline cabin crews, or like one of those doctors without borders.
Self-seeking brings a potential loss that engenders first caution, then fear: fear of change; change being inexorable, fear increases and freezes. Self-seeking always eventuates in self-destruction through inability to adapt. (411.23)
Fuller was eager to give us a more worldly outlook, one well informed by global data. He designed something along these lines for Montreal '67, but the USIS decided against it. Nor was the East River version of the geoscope ever much more than a sketch.

And yet, psychologically speaking, these projects still made a real difference. Ephemeralization, doing more with less, sometimes means doing practically nothing, and yet exerting a steering function. Our "A team" players know what I'm talking about (i.e. "precession").

My standard line is that even if the Fuller Projection is somewhat copy protected against unseemly displays of nationalism, we still have all those other more traditional maps for showing those national boundaries.

I favor using those highly distorted Mercators, as they usually give just the right retro flavor, provide that edgy, mocking tone. I chuckle whenever I see them, especially on "sophisticated" news shows, so cosmopolitan yet not.

At some point, misinformation becomes ironically self referential and people use it as kitsch. We've seen this with the Sino-Soviet propaganda, which is somewhat appropriate given the "withering of the state" was the projected outcome, not the same as "world government" exactly, more noospheric and cyberspatial.

We still need a United Nations though, to protect against human rights abuses, to gather data, to monitor agreements. A lot of professional engineers get a career boost from that corner, plus Quakers have their own QUNO.

Our family had UN passports for awhile, back in the day. We felt pretty cool about that I remember, liked flashing 'em in airports.