Buckminster Fuller is one of the most famous architects of all time, so it is no coincidence that he often used the metaphor of architecture when discussing how we make change during these perilous times. Bucky pointed out that we have reached a unique moment in human history when we have the potential to design a successful, sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations. The longer version of this quote reads,
"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims. The challenge is to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, with spontaneous cooperation and without ecological damage or disadvantage of anyone. How can we make the world work for 100 percent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?"
The second two sentences of this quote reflect the mission that Bucky consciously devoted himself to for the majority of his life. His mission as expressed here became the famous “56 Year Experiment” to determine and document what one individual could achieve that could not be accomplished by any corporation, government or institution no matter how large or powerful.
And that mission would serve us all well in these perilous times when we know that we’ve reached a crossroads where it’s everybody or nobody. Either all the people of Earth have air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink, or we will all perish.
“Architects of the future unite” could be the rallying cry of all those who seek to create the “world that works for everyone” Bucky so often described. Most people believe him to have been the architect who invented the geodesic dome, but by his own labeling he was really a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist” – often shortened to a “comprehensivist.”
In truth, we are all comprehensivists. At least we were born as comprehensivists, interested in everything. Just observe a toddler exploring the world. She will use all her senses to examine anything she comes into contact with. When she encounters another interesting “thing” she looks at it, listens to it, touches it, smells it and even tries to taste it. Her world is vast and open for discovery.
It’s only over the years that our comprehensive nature is uneducated out of us by our “leaders” and institutions. We’re taught and told that we must specialize in order get a good job, make a lot of money and “succeed.” However, as we become more specialized, we lose the global perspective so needed at this time of crisis for the human species on Earth.
May we all regain our comprehensive perspective in order to create Bucky’s vision of “a world that works for everyone" and truly be architects of our future.