The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get Creative: all barriers are the result of narrow thinking.

Someone said, "we can use suffering as a doorway to transform our lives".

If we could formalize the process, we could help many people but it seems like it is a different path for everyone who faces difficulties and must persevere to overcome their hindrances.

Creativity can transform illness or disability, as in the case of Buckminster Fuller, whose physical disorders transformed their work and their lives. In the face of pain and disability, people like Bucky, show perseverance and ingenuity in transforming their lives, revealing how life's lowest moments can hold great potential for creativity and growth.

"All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful."  - R. Buckminster Fuller

Dan Quayle’s special assistant for U.S. disability policies, George Covington, himself sight-impaired, said, “The first barrier to universal design is the human mind. If we could put a ramp into the mind, the first thing down the ramp would be  the understanding that all barriers are the result of narrow thinking.” 
Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller was an important innovator of the 20th century. A man of many talents, he was an inventor, architect and author, as well as a mathematician, economist and philosopher. He invented the geodesic dome, and coined both the word "synergy" and the moniker "Spaceship Earth." He was a remarkably creative thinker who gained a cult-like following.

But not before suffering a number of crises along the way:

In 1912 he became the 5th generation of Fullers to be accepted at Harvard where he was later expelled--not once, but twice: first for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe, and then, after having been readmitted, for his "irresponsibility and lack of interest." By his own appraisal, he was a non-conforming misfit in the fraternity environment.

By age 32, Fuller was bankrupt and jobless, living in public, low-income housing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1922, Fuller's young daughter Alexandra died from complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Allegedly, he felt responsible and this caused him to drink frequently and to contemplate suicide for a while.
He finally chose to embark on "an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity."

He hung out in the artistic community of Greenwich Village in the 1920's where his unconventional ideas were more readily accepted. In 1929 he built the energy-efficient "Dymaxion House" and later a "Dymaxion Car," a term he invented by combining the words 'dynamic,' 'maximum' and 'ion.'

Bucky was perhaps most famous for his Geodesic Dome design of the late 40s. The term "geodesic" comes from the Latin meaning "earth dividing." A humanitarian, Fuller was concerned with providing economical, earth-friendly housing. The design was patented in 1954. The most famous example of his geodesic dome is Disney's EPCOT theme park, which remains a symbol of design of the future.

In 1963 he wrote, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Buckminster Fuller died July 1, 1983. A compendium of his works was published that same year as Inventions: the Patented Works of R.Buckminster Fuller.

"Observation of my life to date shows that the larger the number for whom I work, the more positively effective I become. Thus, it is obvious that  if I work always and only for all humanity, I will be optimally effective."

–R. Buckminster Fuller

 "I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe."
From the 1970 book by Fuller: "I Seem To Be a Verb"

Panoramic view of the geodesic domes at the Eden Project

Gerard Hughes, classmate:

"They called him four eyes, which was rather cruel. But he took it all in good nature ...he was one of those fellows that rode through rough waters and was able to navigate himself." Paul Goldberger, New York Times "He had this confidence that science & technology could answer everything and the world could be made to work and function right if only we would stop our nonsense and get down to business and listen to him."
This first documentary on Fuller since his death in 1983 is produced and directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin, one of the critics at this past winter's Sundance Film Festival, singled it out as one of the most promising films and "an especially insightful and colorful portrait." "It's remarkable how Fuller urged everyone to think globally and act ecologically long before most people had even heard the words," said Ms. Goodman. Added Mr. Simon, "We were so fortunate to be the first journalists to be given access to Fuller's archive and unpublished personal papers." The Buckminster Fuller Institute allowed the filmmakers unprecedented access to its archives and materials for this documentary. At the core of the film are rare and previously unseen materials, including film and video clips, photographs, and private correspondence from Fuller's voluminous archives spanning eight decades.

 On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.... Friedrich Nietzsche