Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetic Algorithm and Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

by John Allen, FLS
Speech deliverd for Buckmisnter Fuller Memorial at U.S. International University, San Diego, June 4, 1996

Buckminster Fuller, Bucky as he became universally known, philosophically came from the school of thought called Transcendental whose exemplars in the United States included Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, as well as his relative, Margaret Fuller. Bucky developed this transcendental approach to contemporary relevance with the concept Synergy or Synergetics. He further developed a vigorous practical algorithm for utilizing the idea and mathematics of Synergy, meaning working together, which has as its underlying proposition that the whole has properties not only greater than but unpredictable from the sum of the properties of its parts. This algorithm of creative design participation in human evolution consists of five steps: if there is a large scale design problem then take the synergetic overall approach; if you take the synergetic overall approach then proceed to a comprehensive anticipatory design; if you’ve started on this, then make detailed macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive studies; if these are completed, then proceed to do more with less; ephemeralize; if you’ve ephemeralized, then computerize to check rationality and to communicate; if you’ve computerized then check if you’ve increased the wealth of all involved. This algorithm constitutes his greatest contribution to dealing with the challenges coming toward humanity,in the next century, a time of great planetary troubles which he metaphorically referred to as humanity’s final examination.

The challenges to passing this examination and even more so to scoring the A we really need are concentrated around a one-sided adherence of the planetary power-holders to a world-view which is determinedly negative to a synergetic approach. A world view, however, that because of its triumph with the steam engine in 1760 followed by the industrial revolution gained immense prestige and power. This world view’s almost total victory has changed Earth’s biosphere forever. The results of these extraordinary changes threaten humanity with the fate of Frankenstein who brilliantly created an out-of-control monster. This dominant contemporary world view revolves around not the idea of Synergy but of Energy, which means work inside, for which the underlying thesis is that the analysis of the parts is all that’s needed to successfully build whatever thing that is desired. The whole is exactly the sum catalogued of its parts, “merely”, or “just”, or “only”, or “nothing but”. A car is “merely” an axle, a carburetor, a gas pedal, etc. The synergy of the world system of car-highway-zoning-oil industry-ecological impact-casualty rate-advertising-etc., is not, for example, being studied by anyone today. This blindly expanding system of transport is one of the biggest challenges facing us, as China, India, East Europe, and Brazil accelerate their transition to all-out industrial transport systems.

Concomitant with the chaotic effects of the ever-expanding auto total system is the ever-expanding associated big city system with cities like Sao Paulo and Mexico City headed toward 25,000,000 people, around 20 Third World cities at 5,000,000 and over, which have called forth the ever starker word series metropolis, megalopolis, and now monsteroplis. These increasingly inhuman scales are notorious for their rampant oligarchies, crime, and silent suffering. Again not one single synergetic study of the world city system is being made today although energy and material statistics abound. Each city is analyzed separately, and even each city is analyzed into separate functions and areas just as if it were a machine.

The third great challenge is of course the associated exponentially increasing human population which will by 2050 use up 80% of the annual production of biomass by the Biosphere. Today it’s 40%, and in 1910 about 10%. Nor, of course, without a basically different approach will this percentage stop increasing in 2050! The remainder of the biospheric increase is all that’s left for the other species so inevitably extinctions of invaluable genetic treasures continue. Again no single synergetic study is being made of this extraordinary phenomenon of extinction of key parts of planetary biodiversity.

Fourthly, comes the ever-expanding information flow and interaction. A synergetic study would look at the total system, not “just” the computers but all aspects, and all aspects integrated into the total systems. The synergy of this total system itself changes the power relations of the world and no reason exists to predict that the emphasis on parts of it, hardware, software, wetware, energy supplies, the station, the web, legislation etc. will be any more helpful than in the case of the auto, the city, or population.

Fifthly, perhaps most importantly, the Twentieth Century’s prodigious explosion of artforms, explorations, technics, and science provide the Twenty-First Century’s greatest challenge; how to use the array of opportunities presented by this unprecedented breakthrough of cosmic knowledge. These opportunities again have no synergetic study underway.

Now a synergetic approach would of course include all these five challenges as a total system, doubtless not forgetting the growing split between developed and undeveloped countries, between riches and poverty, which threaten a world war of terrorism. If Bucky had done no more than to posit and then work out many details of the synergetic approach as a controller of energetic excesses for the thinkers, he would be a blessing for those who wish to contemplate the world order as it used to be called, but now could better be called the world disorder. However, nothing much could be done about the situation in any practical way; Synergists would be but a contemporary replay of the only slightly relevant Epicurean philosophers enjoying their gardens until these too were destroyed by the eruption of inner and outer barbarians throughout a failing civilization.

But Bucky went much farther in how to use insights garnered by the special total system approach of synergetics. He set up and illustrated in his own practice an algorithm or procedure of how to introduce new products into the world. The first step he called Comprehensive Anticipatory Design. In the energetic approach of course we use Comprehensive Design in the sense of the studying all the parts and to make as sure as we can that they fit together. But ordinary design is not Anticipatory, so this kind of Comprehensive does not include calculating alternative futures, nor especially the impact of the design itself upon the future.

Comprehensive Anticipatory Design means that the range of possibilities that show up in a Synergetic Study must be addressed. One formula Bucky used for doing this, a reality formula as Bucky once said to me, is N2-N divided by 2. So if for example analysis finds five key parts, N=5, and 52 – 5 = 20, dividing by 2 gives 10 relationships for the five parts. There would be fifteen relationships for six parts and so on. It is the study of all relationships between the parts and their relationship with the totality that gives us a working procedure to elucidate comprehensively and anticipatorially the synergetic property of the given totality that exists over and above the summation of the energetic properties. In other words, the relationships between autos and roads, between autos and the oil industry, autos and the health and casualty rate, between autos and regional/city planning would be emphasized more than autos, oil industry, health, and development as separate units, although the separate unit analysis would still be done. Both wings of the airplane are necessary! Bucky also called this approach the approach of understanding rather than just knowing about something. Understanding meant to be able to apply your knowledge.

As second step in his algorithm, Bucky emphasized a special dyadic approach to make real a Synergetic comprehensive anticipatory design method. This dyadic approach he called macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive. This means to start with the universe of all possible experience and work down from the top, so to speak, from first principles and largest scale knowledge, while at the same time, starting with the smallest details which one could incisively improve. For example, the fateful Challenger flight may have been fairly macrocomprehensive but the O-ring problem was dealt with by an almost unbelievable 17 rung chain of command. The micro incisive there had become the ultimate micro indecisive. On the other hand there are modern drugs that are micro-incisive in their attack on a specific problem but no one has thought about their macro-comprehensive affects on humans, hospitals, legal systems, etc. Thalidomide can serve as one of many examples.

In the emphasis upon how to wield a top-down and bottom-up approach at the same time, Bucky showed a way to deal with the benefits of synergy without losing the fine points of energy. He did not fall into the easy optimistic trap of holism, a commercialized white bread, so to speak, of the whole wheat superbly baked synergy loaf. The incisive half of micro is important to note since we have all had experience with nit-pickers who are forever rummaging around in endless detail in the micro, micro-revisive we could call it. And the comprehensive is important to register because again we’ve all endured endless macro bull from those who never get all the way around the circuit to an integrated problem approach.

The third great algorithmic step that Bucky developed to deal with the challenges of the exponentially expanding alternation of chaos and complexity was his avowal that whatever was done in technical innovation must meet the standards of ephemeralization, of doing more with less. A classic illustration was the use of the synergetic properties of stainless and other complex alloy steels by the U.S. while the Soviet Union concentrated on “merely” equalling and surpassing American tonnage. Finally Kruschev admitted defeat pointing out that the tons of carbon steel they were producing did only a fraction of the work done by the same number of tons of synergetic steel the Americans produced. Only this principle of doing more with less can allow humanity to increase its real standard of living without destroying its secure base in a prosperous biosphere. Bucky’s own work with tensigrity, substituting tensile strength design for compressive strength design, achieved much along this line with his work on domes.

As the fourth and final step in his synergetic algorithm of design, Bucky stressed the historical breakthrough of the computer in enabling humanity to reach a position where thought could compete on an equal basis with high speed emotional and instinctive forces at decision moments in project design and building. At last intellect could participate at the same speed as emotion in the crunch. The computer will simply not respond to irrational input: garbage in, garbage out. Of course, note well that the computers do not come first, but fourth after the proper conceptual-perceptual framework is created.

In order to check any specific application of this algorithm’s overall effectiveness, Bucky proposed that the aim by which all operations could be judged is whether or not it increased wealth. Wealth is quite different from riches which is the general aim of the energetic system. Riches means merely more money, more ability to buy, whether it’s cars, weapons, people, judges, power, or whatever. Riches means creating its gigantic shadow side, poverty, and the rage of poverty means creating repression. In one of Bucky’s great intuitive leaps, he defined as the ability to forwardly organize the metabolic and metaphysical regeneration of life. In this approach, he counsels us that we must figure the costs/benefits to life as our primary interest and our primary benefactor, and that this must be done by taking account of effects of our actions, synergetic and/or energetic, upon our own and our Biosphere’s metabolism and upon our ideas, our values, our ethics, our esthetics, and our way of life, in short, our metaphysics.

I believe this basic design algorithim was Bucky Fuller’s greatest contribution to dealing with challenges of the future. To review quickly:

First: The primacy of synergy over energy, which means weightless metaphysics over heavy material apparatuses, of a total system approach piloting the analytical part-by-part work;

Second: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design, which means anticipating the range of alternative futures and then designing robust responses to each alternative future as and when it manifests, keeping in mind that relationships between parts increase far more rapidly than the increase of component parts in a total design;

Third: by the use of a checkout alternating between the macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive to ensure that the aim is not dissipated in the actual, and the actual does not betray the aim, such as the famous missing nail in the hoof of the horse that could not carry the king forward to win the battle;

Fourth: to always and in everything endeavor to do more with less, a necessary position that will become ever more necessary as ever more humans with ever more technics deploy in the next decades. Nonetheless, it must be remembered that ephemeralization when followed produces continuous innovation that offends entrenched interests;

Fifth: to use the computer system to the utmost to assist humans to think their way through the expanding complexity and chaos we will encounter until the present course of expansion on every level is brought to an equilibrium state in regard to the interplay between finite resources and theoretically infinite innovation.

I have only one critique to make of Bucky’s master formulation: I believe that a Comprehensive Anticipatory Strategy must accompany each Comprehensive Anticipatory Design for it to work. I believe Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, that great metaphor novel about the destructive forces in some human leaders such as Ahab, has never been properly integrated into the American transcendental school. I believe that synergetic designers will encounter severe opposition, as Bucky did time and again, to their lucid creative approach from those whose position derives from maintaining power or profit-maximizing control of the technosphere girdling the planet. Remember that when one girdles a tree it then dies from its circulation being constricted. To be sure, as Lynn Margulis says, some form of the Biosphere will survive us with its bacteria, perhaps accompanied by slime and rats and cockroaches no matter what we do, but who would care, unless it be the crew of some lucky alien spaceship setting down on this planet so beautifully situated to allow life and intelligence to flower yet again to perfections inconceivable to us today.

I wish now to present a brief case study of Bucky’s methods applied to the design and construction of Biopshere 2, the most complex laboratory for the study of global ecology ever built. Biosphere 2 was designed as a model of Earth’s biosphere, Biosphere 1. In it humans could live and create, and demonstrate an intelligent balance of technics and life, that is, a noosphere. Biosphere 2 was also intended to present an operational-theoretical design approach to dealing with the challenges of the Twenty-First Century: transportation-pollution, expanding cities, population encroaching on its biospheric base, the potential information overload and disinformation stress produced by worldwide computer systems, and with the extraordinary opportunities given by the life and space sciences, and the daring of artists of the subconscious and superconscious.

So we needed to start with a synergy, a proper totality. Actually a Biosphere alone did not make a totality that would speak to the oncoming challenges because in the Earth’s biosphere had emerged a sphere of technics, also indomitably penetrating the oceans, atmosphere, soils, and rocks and even rocketing into space beyond the biosphere, and drilling into bedrock beneath the biosphere. We would have to design what the Russian Vernadksy had called a Noosphere, an energetically open, materially, closed life system which also included a sophisticated technosphere and culture; the ethnosphere, or sphere of technics, ideas, and society that would have to synergize with the biosphere. In addition our real biosphere has also what can be called an equilibrosphere, rocks and waters that have not yet been worked on by life to raise them to a higher far-from equilibrium energy state. All in all there would have to be a synergy of four major elements: biosphere, ethnosphere, an outside energy source and sink, and equilibrosphere for Biosphere 2 to possess the harmonious properties of a noosphere, a harmony that would be the synergetic bonus to those predictable properties calculable by merely summing the four basic components. I thought that this synergetic effect could be called evolution, a progress toward increasing complexity, a self-organizing process in the direction of storing and benefitting from higher levels of energy, of potential, thereby increasing wealth.

Then for Comprehensive Anticipatory Design we used what I call the catastrophic approach. Let’s examine the field of possible catastrophes: earthquakes, lightning hits, epidemics, power breakdowns on the hottest day of the year, on the coldest day of the year, species extinction, hail storms breaking the glass, medical emergencies, computer invasions, mental breakdowns, group schisms, long-term side-effects, nothing interesting happening, and so on. The Project Design would have to be indeed comprehensive to anticipate, be ready when these catastrophes eventuated as surely some would, perhaps all of them.

Then to make sure the project is macro-comprehensive we started with the Universe, as Bucky insisted. What is the place of life in the universe? The Biosphere 2 project has only a local interest if there are many worlds of intelligent life, but supposing Earth to be the only intelligent life? The Biosphere 2 is a matter of universal interest because life must be seeded from here or perish with a solar explosion or overheating or desertification sooner or later. Suppose it’s the only one in the Galaxy? Suppose it’s one of ten that will originate in the life of the galaxy but four have already come and died out and so the odds are high against a successful seeding from an originating gravity well location. in any calculation, local interest probably means the only intelligent life in dozens of nearby stars, so at minimum it’s a big locality!

These macro-comprehensive calculations must enter into the spirit of the project. For sure, there is no other biosphere in our solar system, and the significance here is that the success of Biosphere 2 means the possibility of settling at least the Moon, Mars, certain moons of the outer planets, the greater asteroids, and favorable micro-gravity locations. An expansion of humanity and its various manifestations and values that will far surpass the cornucopia discoverd with the opening up of the world ocean in 1500. An incalculable increase in knowledge, experience, and worldview.

On the micro-incisive aspect, what would the cost benefit be of taking the tightness of the sealing for this structure from 50% per year, our minimum target, to 10%, to 5%? Exactly how does one keep a molecule of air inside a structure that must admit energy and export energy in rough balance? Molecules of air travel through concrete and rapidly through the best plastic when you talk of tight sealing, and, furthermore, different molecules, such as O2, CO2, CO, CH4, would escape or infiltrate differentially. To give you an idea of the tightness of this world record sealing, the shuttle loses about 350% of its air per year, and the NASA closed ecological life systems, at the time Biosphere 2 was built, were losing about 10% of their total air volume per day.

Another fascinating microincisive example was getting the slope and rake of the beach exactly right so it neither eroded nor forced the waves to be smaller than needed to transmit energy and nutrients to the man-made coral reef inside the Biosphere.

Then we moved to the stage of the algorithm of doing more with less, Bucky’s ephemeralization. Although one must remember that in fact all of these stages while in the very beginning are successive in time, say the first few hours, soon begin to operate in quick alternation, and then shortly thereafter, in a matter of days, in an all-at-onceness like a rope with separate strands. For example, in Biosphere 2 we contracted with a student of Bucky’s, Peter Pearce, to assist in the tensegrity design of the architecture. So, Bucky’s work directly played an important role in biospherics. Synergetic success builds on synergetic success. Again, we created the first paperless office. The maintenance of this huge 3.15 acre of complexity was set up with sufficient redundance, computer control, preventive maintenance, ongoing vibrational analysis, etc., that less than one man day per day was needed to operate the total maintenance inside. The last stage of the algorithm should already be clear: use advanced computer-video-telephone-conference linkups as much as possible to do data collecting, analyzing, presenting, making lower level decisions, archiving, sound alarms, activate emergency circuits, facilitating human contemplation and assessment,etc.

Biosphere 2′s final year of construction followed the spirit of George Mueller’s program that launched the Apollo program: all systems up at once. Using the synergetic algorithmic approach pioneered by Bucky, Mission One made it straight through its two year closure experiment setting world records in waste, air, food, and water recycle in a closed life system. In addition, it set world records for tightness of sealing, designing building and maintaining world’s largest artificial ocean coral reef system, and record time for humans living inside a closed system. Most importantly, it proved the know-how in biospherics now exists to be applied to meeting the tough challenges already confronting us. Columbia University is now spending ten million dollars a year in geochemical cycling researches there; Biosphere J is being constructed in Japan and we are co-designing an advanced system with a Russian space group. Its lessons are being applied in many ecosystems and schools.

The one big thing we didn’t do was to add into the algorithm sufficient Comprehensive Anticipatory Strategy to back-up Comprehensive Anticipatory Design. We did not, and Bucky’s formulations do not deal in the design with sustained opposition to systemic changes. A shrewd opposition that requires a strategy to meet its challenges. Strategy differs from Design in that it implies an organized opposition. Furthermore, if you are introducing change, and it is the purpose of this synergetic approach to introduce needed anticipatory design changes, this organized opposition is ensconced in time-tested positions of power, the status quo, which well knows how to use weapons, which perhaps the most potent are ridicule and slander. The immediately available power of the old on a strategic level by its nature will always be greater than the power of the new.

At Biosphere 2 we had no strategy to encounter the opposition strategy of those opposed to the union of ecology and technics in Biosphere 2 or in Earth’s biosphere. Reasoned opposition to harmonizing technics, ideas, and society with nature exists because they believe in a technological fix to any and all problems, or because they hold that technology is the root cause of the problem and should be cut back in root and in branch. Those dubious of any technological mystique believe that ecotechnics, the effort to harmonize ecology and technics, is a snare to waste time, and a delusion to destroy the return to Eden. The tough-minded opposed to a synergetic approach believethat the energetic analytical market place of competing separate reduced pieces of work will be guided by the invisible hand of God (or by the invisible laws of the mathematics of chaos). This or that invisibility, it is thought, somewhat miraculously guide the whole affair along disaster’s greedy edge until endless bountiful prairies of progress are reached.

Bucky himself came to grief with invention after invention such as the Dymaxion car when this opposition swung into action. With the dome he developed the beginnings of a strategy and it’s his most successful insertion into the system. He started off by letting the Marines airlift some into the arctic. That was hard to put down!

With noospheres we must develop a comprehensive strategy or they will exist, if at all, only as inspirations on the margin of a technically destroyed biosphere that, ironically, undercuts the life basis of the very creators of that rapacious technology. Humans have already been removed from the Biosphere 2 system and analytic-energetic studies alone are now underway there. BIOS3 in Russia has been without humans for more than a decade. The moon is again without visitors and only the Japanese at present are planning a base.

Now on a different tack let me voyage with you on a thought exercise in applying Bucky’s algorithms on the use of a synergetic approach to a synergetic whole, the Twenty First Century. Let’s apply Bucky’s algorithm to dealing with its challenges, remembering challenges do mean both risks and opportunities.

The synergy of the 21st century, its totality, its leit-motif is fairly clear: Humanity, its technics, its culture, its society, will put the maximum stress on its environment, the biosphere of which it is inescapably dependent upon for air, water, food, impressions, beauty, and wilderness. As we saw earlier, humanity’s harvest of the biospheric yearly increase will be 80% by 2050 as compared to 40% today and 10% in 1910. So by necessity a ten billion strong world technosystem humanity will learn how to make and put into effect a policy of synergy of life, lifestyle, and technics and especially learn how to do more with less, or, as Bucky said, it will fail the final exam.

Comprehensive Anticipatory Designs will emerge, like Biosphere 2, but with more macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive detail that will take into consideration the entire planet, solar behavior, and even paths of stray meteors. Very probably settlements will begin on Moon and Mars sending back priceless hope and knowledge about biospheric capabilities from a genuine comparison of processes.

Comprehensive Anticipatory Strategies will emerge on the part of both of those who see the necessity of this move, and from intense opposition to them on the part of those profiting and powering by positions of control of energetic expansion in all directions, from many centers, each claiming the right or taking the power to move ahead considering only their partial interest. Therefore these Comprehensive Strategies will have to be based on resolutely getting facts and values out to each hot spot where a dictator or monopolist or racist or sexist is determined to rule by force and deceit in order to continue on their way which was summed up by Louis XV of France as “After me, the deluge.” These Comprehensive Strategies will have to be crafted to confront not only direct coercions from the threatened status quo positions, but, in addition, they must enlighten those well meaning escapists that see no way but to put their trust in some utopia magically mystically arriving to some demagogue or guru’s beat. One strategy I’m pursuing by giving this talk is to present an introduction to this synergetic tool, an exquisite and powerful algorithm of action invented by Bucky, available for all those who need one to assist their productive aims to succeed in bettering the world as well as their kith and kin, private property, or favored institution.

Macrocomprehensively, let us think from a universe point of view how rare, if not unique, it must be that ten billion big-brained beings will assemble next century on one gravity well, with capabilities to understand life’s coded message, DNA, travel to the reaches of space, make new biosphere from old, archive all knowledge with electrons, treat each other as ends in themselves instead of as means to an end in 90% of the cases, able to communicate easily around their planet and to travel almost anywhere really necessary, with an average life longer than an elephant to learn and grow wisdom. Potential heroes, friends, and thinkers, one and all, with a fund of great goodwill toward the futures of their young, yearning for love, loving dance, and occasionally reaching insights transcending the psychological boundary conditions of being separated in time and lost in space. Macrocomprehensively considered, we can say we must not fail this opportunity, this duty, this romance; that we must prevail.

Microincisively, we must consider the cracks and filth that breed destruction which can sweep all this away in decisive areas: the acceptance and design of ghetto cultures in cities; the careless and cruel step to replacing education and welfare with increasing penitentiary populations; the corruption and destruction and military build-ups in specific outlaw nations; the closed sessions in powerful boardrooms that hide facts on health, product quality, and financial thefts of the world’s wealth; the idle sophisticated ridicule of youthful dreams by those mandarins more interested in tenure than truth; the emotional maiming of innocent children in systems of vicious indoctrination. Microincisively, on the other side, any person or group that shows a creative, responsive spirit, or a solicitude and admiration for nature, for youth, for excellence, for hard work, for rigorous thought, for emotional truths from which art springs should be backed if only by increasing their vibration with a heartfelt smile. Each of these kind of micro events can be incisively aided or opposed once we realize how they fit into the macrocomprehensive possibility.

Doing more with less: more laughter and levity with less groans and gravity psycho-physiologically; more grace with less grunting; more insights with less rhetoric; more time with less hurry; more species with less extinction; more cultures with less indoctrination; more help with less ordering around; more goodwill with less nagging criticism. The ways to ephemeralize are endless in our heavy duty world of today and I specially wish to point out that it is not only technics where ephemeralization is needed and can be accomplished but perhaps especially in manners, expression, conversation, and the pursuit of happiness.

Finally, utilizing and making human friendly the computer system. We must get more and better thinking and more data and more inputs into time/spaces when decisions need to be made. Our big brains need help as much or more than our fairly big muscles. But the technical revolutions fundamentally were muscle-saving muscle-enhancing devices while the best minds of 500 generations were and are mainly lost not to drugs and rebellion without a cause, but to endless boring calculations or word processing or thumbing through endless tomes in widely separated libraries. This enforced boredom and repetition along probably stifles enough genius and high spirits to transform the world, but worse, the world’s students were and are condemned in most countries of the world to weary imitation of the past, or worse, deliberate infections by notions of ethnic hatred, racial superiority, cultural insularity, and personal fear by tyrants and ideologues that turned collective and individual genius into futile notes from the underground. The world computer system properly used to assist our perceptions, our thinking and our transmission of that thinking and perceptions could give humanity’s big brains the kind of boost that engines and rockets and electricity and lathes and blast furnace gave muscles. There does not exist enough memory and enough programs in a human brain or enough direct communication between brains to allow them to hook up in circuits beyond certain specialist group phenomena such as small circles of physicists, fashion designers, mountain climbers, gang leaders or other specialists in high morale. Computer communication and data accessing allow, however, for hundreds of people of different specialties to get together with minimum hierarchy on their task accomplishing.

Bucky’s algorithm of how to use the reality of synergetics with Comprehensive Anticipatory Strategy design added is one of the great gifts to the intelligence of humanity, intelligence meaning that quality of mind that allows goals to be achieved with means used congruent to the ends wished for. Practicality coupled with vision has been the missing link in human progress that has prevented creativity from reaching a continuous state instead of disappearing back into the various periodically recurring depopulated and tyrannical Dark Ages history shows us. The exponentially expanding coming century challenges us with a searing examination. Humanity can pass that examination. We can synergize to make a wealthy planet, at ease in this stupendous universe. We can do not only more but all that is required with less.

And humanity, I’m sure will, probably at nearly the last moment of freedom in the next century, do what is necessary with that grace under pressure called courage.

Buckminster Fuller