Fuller’s Critical Path: A 27-years-old perspective, still fresh

I am currently reading Buckminster Fuller’s «Critical Path». However controversial, his vision is bright and integral.

«70 percent of all jobs in America and probably an equivalently high percentage of the jobs in other Western private-enterprise countries are preoccupied with work that is not producing any wealth or life support — inspectors of inspectors, reunderwriters of insurance reinsurers, Obnoxico promoters, spies and counterspies.»

This was written in 1980, and I suspect this is still shamefully true 27 years later, with a bunch of new professions like auditors of seo optimizers, metaverse travel guides, tamagotchi cemetery keepers etc. etc. The difference, however, is that now there is much more individual projects and freelance work one might only dream about in 1980.

Then, there are jobs related to life support but done in a non-sustainable way, like the oil industry which is also mentioned in Fuller’s book, with a reference to an oil geologist who counted that it costs nature well over a million dollars to produce each gallon of petroleum.


«We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their jobs in their cars or buses, spending trillions of dollar’s worth of petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn’t take a computer to tell you that it will safe both Universe and humanity trillions of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home.»

Fuller supposes that it would be more effective from the planetary point of view to give people income adequate for high standard of living instead of forcing them «earning a living».

«What do I see that needs to be done that nobody else is attending to?», this is the question people would ask themselves more often in this case, Fuller says.

Of course, one of conditions for this is a special kind of education with focus on individual’s unique talents and their application for the needs of humanity. Here again, Fuller’s view is against the currently dominant system:

«The physical and social costs will be far less for individual, at-home-initiated, research-and-development-interned self-teaching than having individual students going to schools, being bused, and so on.»

Perhaps now, with e-learning, we are much closer to this vision than ever before. And, of course, if parents, too, weren’t so busy «earning a living», they would better help their children with their individual learning.

«I can conclude at the outset of 1980 that the world public has become disenchanted with both the political and financial leadership, which it no longer trusts to solve the problems of historical crisis. Furthermore, all the individuals of humanity are looking for the answer to what the little individual can do that can’t be done by great nations and great enterprises.»

But will people really ask themselves this question, «What needs to be done that nobody else is attending to?» if they wouldn’t have to earn a living anymore? Deepa Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success wrote about the same question he offered his children:

«I never, ever want you to worry about making a living. If you’re unable to make a living when you grow up, I’ll provide for you, so don’t worry about that. I don’t want you to focus on doing well in school. I don’t want you to focus on getting the best grades or going to the best colleges. What I really want you to focus on is asking yourself how you can serve humanity, and asking yourself what your unique talents are.»

They made it, Chopra says, and are financially independent.

Back to Fuller, he names himself a design science revolutionary, not a political revolutionary. Design science is exactly what gets lots of attention nowadays, when people starts shifting to green, sustainable life, with WorldChanging or Massive Change as some points of reference, to name a few. So, changes are really coming, and who knows — perhaps some Fuller’s prophecies are just about to materialize?


First post, or Hello world!

As far as I know, nobody reads first posts. What a pity — some of them are worth reading. Here are the first posts of blogs I read most. Although long forgotten, they are often symbolic.

Gapingvoid’s first post — titled «Contact» (isn’t it symbolic, with the focus on conversation his blog has?)

37signals — titled «Warm Idea» (isn’t their blog about user friendly ideas, after all? 🙂

Douglas Bowman’s first post is titled «Something New», very modest for Bowman’s famous website, and is an interesting reading, especially in time perspective:

It’s with great humility that I hammer out this first post. Humility, because I enter the game way after many others. Humility because others have been practicing and polishing their writing on a daily — or somewhat daily — basis for x years times 365 days. The sheer size and breadth of some of their blogs makes me feel like I’m sitting down at a table full of experienced high rollers with only $5 of tokens in my pocket.

I sign to that.

Then, Seth Godin’s first post, back in 2002, strangely titled «Boring». Perhaps that’s exactly the fight with boring things that makes Seth’s blog so interesting?

And finally, what about Jeffrey Zeldman, the pioneer of the web? I don’t know how to find his first post, as blogs didn’t even exist when he started publishing his famous site, but here is the first page saved at the Wayback Machine, back in 1996, when I first started reading his inspirational notes that led me to the path of web development.