“Our children and our grandchildren are our elders in universe time. They are born into a more complex, more evolved universe than we can experience or than we can know. It is our privilege to see that new world through their eyes.” - Buckminster Fuller
Because he truly got that our children are our future, Buckminster Fuller was a dynamic advocate for youth on many levels. In fact, as he states in this quote, because they are born into a reality more complex and different from adults, children represent our eyes into the future.
We need only consider the obvious relationship of young people to computers and digital technology to really see this reality. Our kids are usually the ones who teach adults how to use the latest technology. For them, such technology is as normal as were newspapers and magazines just a generation ago. And from that modern perspective of digital technology being the norm, the future looks much different than it does for older generations.
Bucky Fuller often spoke of children born after 1969 as post-Moon because they were raised with the reality of a man having traveled to the Moon and returning safely as history rather than the science fiction it had been prior to the actual event. He would get letters (now almost a thing of the past) from such post-Moon children saying, “if we can send men to the Moon why can’t we create a world that works for everyone?” Bucky’s answer was always the same, and his reply represents the most important tool currently available to humans but known to only a relative minority of people. He wrote,
"It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a mater of converting the high technology from weaponry to livingry."
We have the resources to sustainably support all life on Earth in ways few people could imagine even a few decades ago, and our children are open enough to realize this fact and expect this reality to be manifest now. The problem is that our society does all it can to brainwash them into believing otherwise as quickly as possible. Politicians, media, business leaders, religious leaders and others in power do everything they can to teach children what past generation have learned and struggled with rather than turning the tables and considering serious issues through the fully-aware and deeply intuitive eyes of children.
Zen Buddhism talks about looking at the world with a “beginner’s mind,” and one of Bucky Fuller’s most famous quotes reflects the need for this perspective. He wrote,
This does not mean act irresponsibly or illogically, but it does suggest that as we grow older, we lose our sense of possibility, imagine and wonder. We begin to really believe and support the sometimes illogical and irrational information being fed to us by those in power. Then, we are moved along like sheep as we become highly specialized and unaware of the comprehensive nature of Universe that so fascinates all children.
One only need watch a toddler exploring to witness the true comprehensive and open natural state of humans. Young children are interested in everything, and the use all their senses in wide-ranging exploration. Caring adults who are doing their best to “protect” children from things that would cause them great harm generally go too far and inadvertently teach them that the world is a dangerous and scary place rather than supporting them in their comprehensive explorations as Bucky encouraged us all to do.
Only when we allow and encourage children and all people to explore fully their world and environment and to remain comprehensivists and lifelong learners will we uncover the reality of genuine wisdom available to us. And only then will we begin to honor the insights and teachings that these brave new pioneers can provide.
May all people begin to honor all children with great reverence.