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Buckminster Fuller and His Take on Newtons Universe Part 1

The Ernie Wirtanen Interest Fund

One of the great unsung books of our times, Cosmography, by Buckminster Fuller, is the last book Bucky worked on. The manuscript was neatly stacked in the middle of his desk when he died, and was worked on for a further 8 years by his adjuvant, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, before finally being published in 1992 (Macmillan).

He writes: “On the day that R. Buckminster Fuller died at age 87 in 1983, I found the entire Cosmography manuscript, which we had been working on, neatly stacked in the middle of an uncharacteristically tidy desk in his study at his Pacific Palisades, California, home. Atop the manuscript was a note addressed to his daughter Allegra (Snyder), and his grandson Jaime and granddaughter Alexandra. It began, “If something happens to me and I

[should] die suddenly, I want you to know of the extraordinary importance of  my now being written book Cosmography”

Having to go to the main Island yesterday, I took Cosmography along to read on the ferry, and came across the section where he writes of Newton as being part of the dark ages of our misunderstanding of who and what we are, and what we can do. I quote from page 81 tonight.

“To Newton, the norm of life and of the physical Universe in general was rest. To him, it seemed abnormal to have anything in motion; thus death was the normal state. Newton reasoned that it took energy to put something in motion, as with a human muscle rolling a stone, and that the energy quickly became dissipated by friction, returning the stone to the norm of rest. Like all the classical scientists of his time, Newton subscribed to the concept that all energetic systems continually dissipate their energy, disposing of it in ever more disorderly ways. In later years this concept became known as the second law of thermodynamics and was give the name entropy.

“Newton’s norm of at rest, or no change, still governs the art of all graphic charting of evolutionary events – technical, economic, or social – when plotted against calendar or clock time.  Newton’s no-change norm forms the baseline of all such charts. The progressive magnitudes of change in evolution or development are posted vertically above the Newtonian baseline for the successive rightward calendar – or clock-time measurement.

“Since the magnitudes of most historic, technologic, economic, or social performances are progressively increasing, our charts of development show an ever more abnormal tending of human affairs, suggesting an acceleration into verticality – which is utter abnormality…”

“If, however, Einstein’s norm of 186,000 miles per second is substituted for the “motionless” norm of Newton’s baseline, we have only to revolve 90 degrees clockwise the charts plotted on the Newtonian norm. We will see then that humanity in its earliest and greatest ignorance was tail-spinning into extinction, but, in the aviator’s terms, is now progressively “pulling out into straight-and-level flight”: (see figs 3.1 and 3.2 [not available tonight] at the newly realized-to-be-normal speed of electromagnetic radiation’s information transmission – ie., 186,000 mps.”