Bucky Fuller on Doing More, and Better – with Much Much Less

January 27, 2015

Powerful idea, powerfully stated.

5 Responses to “Bucky Fuller on Doing More, and Better – with Much Much Less”


  1. Reblogged this on Joe's Notepad and commented:
    Bucky Fuller was an engineering genius…

  2. Jim Housman Says:

    Nice thought but I was actually put off by the Earth-Moon bit. Yes we can do better than we are doing in any number of ways but there really are limits. Being aware of those limits is as important in solving problems as having lots of imagination.

    Bucky Fuller was indeed a genius but he probably contributed less really useful design to society than a duller, more practical engineer might have. Both the geodesic dome and the Dymaxion car were, in the final analysis (as the British might say) ” too clever by half.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Fuller was one of my heroes back when. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth sat on my bookshelf next to The Whole Earth Catalog, Silent
      Spring, Sand County Almanac, The Limits to Growth, and all those other seminal books. He was an original thinker , but I might stop short of calling him a genius. He was not the inventor of the geodesic dome, but the one who popularized it (and patented it). He WAS a great communicator of his ideas, and had many good ones.

      Although I agree with “powerful idea, powerfully stated”, this whole cartoon from dMass puts me off. The first 6 minutes are about doing more with less, but dMass is really just using Fuller as a come-on rather than celebrating his thinking. The Earth-Moon bit is just bad science, and got my crap detectors vibrating—-they did so for the last couple of minutes of the clip.

      Taking a look at the dMass website, I get the impression that they are a bunch of snake oil “technology” salesmen that are looking to get rich. I wonder if Solar Roadway consulted them for assistance. From the site:

      “MASS [dé-mass]

      noun 1. The mass of material resources eliminated or that can be eliminated in the production of a given amount of value.

      2. A strategy that leverages intellect to deliver more wealth or benefits using less resource mass.

      3. A path to a sustainable future based on improving resource performance.
      The d in dMASS stands for reduction through design.”

      I’ve seen BS like this before, and I’m thinking the most important words there are “deliver more wealth”, and that’s into the pockets of the guys who are smart enough to “leverage intellect” (i.e., talk people into giving them their money).

      PS I question how technology is going to lead us to a “more sustainable future” through “improved resource performance”. We haven’t been too successful with our “technology” so far—-it seems like the more technological we become, the more resources we consume and the less sustainable things get.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “…it seems like the more technological we become, the more resources we consume and the less sustainable things get….”

        I think that is almost certainly an illusion. Look at 19th century London. Filthy water, filthy skies, filthy streets and a tiny fraction of current population. Technology allows us to lead cleaner, safer, healthier, more productive lives. We DO use more resources, but that is because we have a lot more people.

        Imagine trying to cope with 7 billion people using technology available to Sherlock Holmes. Impossible.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          7 billion humans at “Sherlock Holmes technology levels” is impossible? Exactly so. Technology has allowed us to escape the “natural” limits on human population, and grow it to the point that its activities now threatens the entire biosphere.

          We will live “cleaner, safer, healthier, more productive lives” only until natural law catches up with us and it all collapses (see Gilding’s Great Disruption), at which point balance will return.

          There will be many fewer humans living less clean, less healthy, less safe, and less productive lives, although all those terms are really value-laden and quite judgmental. Is some loin cloth clad aborigine living a less “clean, safe, healthy, productive” life just because he isn’t living as you and I do? Have you seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy?

          The only “illusion” is that we can rely on technology to continue to insulate us from reality. Considering that man has really only been a “technological critter” for a couple of hundred years (ignoring stone axes and wooden spears), what’s “impossible” for me is to understand how anyone can think the present state of affairs is sustainable, and that “more of the same” will save us from ourselves.


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