US Pavilion, Montreal Expo 67, 1967
“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are only the experiment.”
I’m never entirely sure what that quotation really means, but R. Buckminster Fuller’s grand turn of phrase was only one part of his genius, mixing the mystically visionary with the visonarily practical. This week sees the largest celebration of his work in 35 years open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Starting With The Universe explores that mixture of utopianism and engagement.
Another quote from Bucky, this time from Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which is published online by the Buckminster Fuller Institute here. Bear in mind this was written around 46 years ago:
The fossil fuel deposits of our Spaceship Earth correspond to our automobile’s storage battery which must be conserved to turn over our main engine’s self-starter. Thereafter, our “main engine,” the life regenerating processes, must operate exclusively on our vast daily energy income from the powers of wind, tide, water, and the direct Sun radiation energy. The fossil-fuel savings account has been put aboard Spaceship Earth for the exclusive function of getting the new machinery built with which to support life and humanity at ever more effective standards of vital physical energy and reinspiring metaphysical sustenance to be sustained exclusively on our Sun radiation’s and Moon pull gravity’s tidal, wind, and rainfall generated pulsating and therefore harnessable energies. The daily income energies are excessively adequate for the operation of our main industrial engines and their automated productions. The energy expended in one minute of a tropical hurricane equals the combined energy of all the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. nuclear weapons. Only by understanding this scheme may we continue for all time ahead to enjoy and explore universe as we progressively harness evermore of the celestially generated tidal and storm generated wind, water, and electrical power concentrations. We cannot afford to expend our fossil fuels faster than we are “recharging our battery,” which means precisely the rate at which the fossil fuels are being continually deposited within Earth’s spherical crust.