A Follow-Up On the Slow Learner's Journey
Wednesday, October 5, 2005 at 02:04PM
Michael Chacko Daniels
Learner's Learner:
 
Peter Lee Kline on
 
R. Buckminster Fuller
Q____________________

New River Free Press International:

Why is R. Buckminster Fuller

your favorite philosopher?

_____________________


PeterKline R. Buckminster Fuller is my favorite philosopher because he developed the most useful world view I have found anywhere.

Much of the core of his philosophy is found in the sentence "Do more with less." If we take his counsel seriously, we can make everything in the world work splendidly.

He argued, for example, that in 1900 only 1% of the world's population (much smaller then now) could manage to live above the level of constantly confronting starvation.

By 1950, (with a much larger population) that percentage had risen to 44. Somewhere around 1965 the world's resources were sufficient to accommodate 100% of the people of the world in affluence.

By 1980, everyone on earth should have been a millionaire.

Why didn't this happen? We didn't know we could do it, so we didn't. We could have spread our resources with the goal of bringing everyone on earth into the economic game. This would have greatly increased the range of the available markets for everything, so the GNP of the world would have been much greater.

The rich could have become much richer, if they had made the poor rich. Instead, they have now chosen to make them poorer than before, and that will cost them far, far more than they ever bargained for.

Fuller was perhaps the first to include in his accounting the cost of using up natural resources, and much of what he was trying to persuade us to do was replace the expensive things we were using up (like oil and rain forests) with inexpensive things (like human ingenuity, miniaturization and a systemic view of the world's resources).

Today most of our thinking about social problems is based on assumptions about the world that were valid in 1900, but have become increasingly misleading in describing the world we have today.

Using Fuller's paradigms for analyzing things can lead you to the observation that almost everything human beings do at the present time is a great deal more difficult than it needs to be, as well as extremely wasteful compared to what it ought to be.

If, for example, our health care system cost a thousand times less than it currently does, everyone could be much healthier as a result.

That is because cures for illness that increase the GNP actually decrease the level of health of almost everyone. In contrast, the best tools for preventing illness, many of which have been in use for thousands of years, render irrelevant most of what the current health care system provides and does.

Education is even more wasteful. Our current educational system is about a hundred times less effective than it could and should be, based on what is now understood about how human beings learn.

(That's actually far more disastrous than the thousand times inefficiency of the medical profession, because we spend all of our lives getting educated, and only a small part of them being sick—at least as the medical profession defines "sick.")

Furthermore, if everyone were educated well enough to graduate summa cum laude from a good university, the cost of education would be greatly reduced.

The way to achieve proper nutrition is to eat about 1/10th as much as most people eat now, and also to eat only those things that are least expensive, both in terms of dollars and in terms of cost to the environment.

Since I have gradually fallen into eating this way, I have come to find a meal at a very expensive restaurant extremely difficult and unpleasant to eat because it tastes so bad and is very likely to keep me awake all night with indigestion.

On the other hand, about $2 worth of salad bar nourishes me more than enough and tastes a great deal better than a $50 meal at (name withheld to protect the guilty).

These are practical matters, though. Aesthetically, Fuller saw the world in a way that harmonizes everything.

When you think the way he wants you to think, you find that Mozart is telling you about Einstein, and Shakespeare is explaining Quantum mechanics. That's because you start to understand the essence of things—those aspects that tie everything in the universe together and reveal its eternal oneness in the flux of its ever-changing diversity.

I was going to stop there, but I asked myself what I would say if someone asked me "How does Mozart tell you about Einstein?"

Mozart could conceive a piece of music in a state in which he felt all of it at once, as if the time that it takes were collapsed into a single instant. So a symphony that might take weeks to write out would all be there from the beginning.

The only thing that makes this possible is harmony. If chaos were real and did not have harmony built into it, then a complete symphony couldn't be collapsed into a single insight.

This is like saying that we pre-existed in the Big Bang. The harmonic laws that governed the unfoldment of the time-space continuum both made us possible and called us forth. Chaos is only apparent, and accident only an illusion.

The tragedy of human history that this implies is symbolized by the fact that Mesmer introduced Benjamin Franklin to Mozart, who wrote music specifically for Franklin's invention, the glass harmonica.

Franklin rewarded Mesmer for this by sitting in judgment of his curative methods (animal magnetism) thereby setting medicine back 200 years. (It was not until 1950 that hypnosis - the harmonization of minds - was recognized as a science.)

In this trio Franklin stands for rationalism, Mesmer for intuition, and Mozart for the ideal combination of the two in the union of the rational and the intuitive—left and right brain—from which the universe revealed by Dr. Einstein could be appreciated.

http://indiawritingstation.squarespace.com/learning-career-visions-kline/

http://indiawritingstation.squarespace.com/kline-multiple-intelligences/

http://indiawritingstation.squarespace.com/kline-learning-styles/
http://indiawritingstation.squarespace.com/kline-on-edwin-burr-pettet/

Interview Copyright 2005, Michael Chacko Daniels. All rights reserved.



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Have you read Michael Chacko Daniels' flash fiction story,
Sing an Indian Name,
on Denver Syntax's free online magazine?
If not, here's the URL:


http://www.denversyntax.com/issue5/fiction/daniels/indian.html

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