Introduction: The Wellspring of Reality

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communication to be crisply brief. Advancing science has now discovered that all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialization, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability. Thus the specialist's brief for pinpointing brevity is dubious. In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual's leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which, in turn, leads to war.

We are not seeking a license to ramble wordily. We are intent only upon being adequately concise. General systems science discloses the existence of minimum sets of variable factors that uniquely govern each and every system. Lack of knowledge concerning all the factors and the failure to include them in our integral imposes false conclusions. Let us not make the error of inadequacy in examining our most comprehensive inventory of experience and thoughts regarding the evoluting affairs of all humanity.

There is an inherently minimum set of essential concepts and current information, cognizance of which could lead to our operating our planet Earth to the lasting satisfaction and health of all humanity. With this objective, we set out on our review of the spectrum of significant experiences and seek therein for the greatest meanings as well as for the family of generalized principles governing the realization of their optimum significance to humanity aboard our Sun circling planet Earth.

We must start with scientific fundamentals, and that means with the data of experiments and not with assumed axioms predicated only upon the misleading nature of that which only superficially seems to be obvious. It is the consensus of great scientists that science is the attempt to set in order the facts of experience. Holding within their definition, we define Universe as the aggregate of all humanity's consciously apprehended and communicated, nonsimultaneous, and only partially overlapping experiences. An aggregate of finites is finite. Universe is a finite but nonsimultaneously conceptual scenario.

The human brain is a physical mechanism for storing, retrieving, and re-storing again, each special-case experience. The experience is often a packaged concept. Such packages consist of complexedly interrelated and not as-yet differentially analyzed phenomena which, as initially unit cognitions, are potentially re-experienceable. A rose, for instance, grows. has thorns, blossoms, and fragrance, but often is stored in the brain only under the single word-rose.

As Korzybski, the founder of general semantics, pointed out, the consequence of its single-tagging is that the rose becomes reflexively considered by man only as a red, white, or pink device for paying tribute to a beautiful girl, a thoughtful hostess, or last night's deceased acquaintance. The tagging of the complex biological process under the single title rose tends to detour human curiosity from further differentiation of its integral organic operations as well as from consideration of its interecological functionings aboard our planet. We don't know what a rose is, nor what may be its essential and unique cosmic function. Thus for long have we inadvertently deferred potential discovery of the essential roles in Universe that are performed complementarily by many, if not most, of the phenomena we experience. But, goaded by youth, we older ones are now taking second looks at almost everything. And that promises many ultimately favorable surprises. The oldsters do have vast experience banks not available to the youth. Their memory banks, integrated and reviewed, may readily disclose generalized principles of eminent importance.

The word generalization in literature usually means covering too much territory too thinly to be persuasive, let alone convincing. In science, however, a generalization means a principle that has been found to hold true in every special case.

The principle of leverage is a scientific generalization. It makes no difference of what material either the fulcrum or the lever consists-wood, steel, or reinforced concrete. Nor do the special-case sizes of the lever and fulcrum, or of the load pried at one end, or the work applied at the lever's other end in any way alter either the principle or the mathematical regularity of the ratios of physical work advantage that are provided at progressive fulcrum-to-load increments of distance outward from the fulcrum in the opposite direction along the lever's arm at which the operating effort is applied.

Mind is the weightless and uniquely human faculty that surveys the ever larger inventory of special-case experiences stored in the brain bank and, seeking to identify their intercomplementary significance, from time to time discovers one of the rare scientifically generalizable principles running consistently through all the relevant experience set. The thoughts that discover these principles are weightless and tentative and may also be eternal. They suggest eternity but do not prove it, even though there have been no experiences thus far that imply exceptions to their persistence. It seems also to follow that the more experiences we have, the more chances there are that the mind may discover, on the one hand, additional generalized principles or, on the other hand, exceptions that disqualify one or another of the already catalogued principles that, having heretofore held "true" without contradiction for a long time, had been tentatively conceded to be demonstrating eternal persistence of behavior. Mind's relentless reviewing of the comprehensive brain bank's storage of all our special-case experiences tends both to progressive enlargement and definitive refinement of the catalogue of generalized principles that interaccommodatively govern all transactions of Universe.

It follows that the more specialized society becomes, the less attention does it pay to the discoveries of the mind, which are intuitively beamed toward the brain, there to be received only if the switches are "on." Specialization tends to shut off the wide-band tuning searches and thus to preclude further discovery of the all-powerful generalized principles. Again we see how society's perverse fixation on specialization leads to its extinction. We are so specialized that one man discovers empirically how to release the energy of the atom, while another, unbeknownst to him, is ordered by his political factotum to make an atomic bomb by use of the secretly and anonymously published data. That gives much expedient employment, which solves the politician's momentary problem, but requires that the politicians keep on preparing for further warring with other political states to keep their respective peoples employed. It is also mistakenly assumed that employment is the only means by which humans can earn the right to live, for politicians have yet to discover how much wealth is available for distribution. All this is rationalized on the now scientifically discredited premise that there can never be enough life support for all. Thus humanity's specialization leads only toward warring and such devastating tools, both, visible and invisible, as ultimately to destroy all Earthians.

Only a comprehensive switch from the narrowing specialization and toward an ever more inclusive and refining comprehension by all humanity-regarding all the factors governing omnicontinuing life aboard our spaceship Earth-can bring about reorientation from the self-extinction-bound human trending, and do so within the critical time remaining before we have passed the point of chemical process irretrievability.

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction.

Living upon the threshold between yesterday and tomorrow, which threshold we reflexively assumed in some long ago yesterday to constitute an eternal now, we are aware of the daily-occurring, vast multiplication of experience generated information by which we potentially may improve our understanding of our yesterdays' experiences and therefrom derive our most farsighted preparedness for successive tomorrows.

Anticipating, cooperating with, and employing the forces of nature can be accomplished only by the mind. The wisdom manifest in the omni-interorderliness of the family of generalized principles operative in Universe can be employed only by the highest integrity of engagement of the mind's metaphysical intuiting and formulating capabilities.

We are able to assert that this rationally coordinating system bridge has been established between science and the humanities because we have made adequate experimental testing of it in a computerized world-resource-use-exploration system, which by virtue of the proper inclusion of all the parameters-as guaranteed by the synergetic start with Universe and the progressive differentiation out of all the parts-has demonstrated a number of alternate ways in which it is eminently feasible not only to provide full life support for all humans but also to permit all humans' individual enjoyment of all the Earth without anyone profiting at the expense of another and without any individuals interfering with others.

While it takes but meager search to discover that many well-known concepts are false, it takes considerable search and even more careful examination of one's own personal experiences and inadvertently spontaneous reflexing to discover that there are many popularly and even professionally unknown, yet nonetheless fundamental, concepts to hold true in all cases and that already have been discovered by other as yet obscure individuals. That is to say that many scientific generalizations have been discovered but have not come to the attention of what we call the educated world at large, thereafter to be incorporated tardily within the formal education processes, and even more tardily, in the ongoing political-economic affairs of everyday life. Knowledge of the existence and comprehensive significance of these as yet popularly unrecognized natural laws often is requisite to the solution of many of the as yet unsolved problems now confronting society. Lack of knowledge of the solution's existence often leaves humanity confounded when it need not be.

Intellectually advantaged with no more than the child's facile, lucid eagerness to understand constructively and usefully the major transformational events of our own times, it probably is synergetically advantageous to review swiftly the most comprehensive inventory of the most powerful human environment transforming events of our totally known and reasonably extended history. This is especially useful in winnowing out and understanding the most significant of the metaphysical revolutions now recognized as swiftly tending to reconstitute history. By such a comprehensively schematic review, we might identify also the unprecedented and possibly heretofore overlooked pivotal revolutionary events not only of today but also of those trending to be central to tomorrow's most cataclysmic changes.

It is synergetically reasonable to assume that relativistic evaluation of any of the separate drives of art, science, education, economics, and ideology, and their complexedly interacting trends within our own times, may be had only through the most comprehensive historical sweep of which we are capable.

There could be produced a synergetic understanding of humanity's cosmic functioning, which, until now, had been both undiscovered and unpredictable due to our deliberate and exclusive preoccupation only with the separate statistics of separate events. As a typical consequence of the latter, we observe our society's persistent increase of educational and employment specialization despite the already mentioned, well-documented scientific disclosure that the extinctions of biological species are always occasioned by overspecialization. Specialization's preoccupation with parts deliberately forfeits the opportunity to apprehend and comprehend what is provided exclusively by synergy.

Today's news consists of aggregates of fragments. Anyone who has taken part in any event that has subsequently appeared in the news is aware of the gross disparity between the actual and the reported events. The insistence by reporters upon having advance "releases" of what, for instance, convocation speakers are supposedly going to say but in fact have not yet said, automatically discredits the value of the largely prefabricated news. We also learn frequently of prefabricated and prevaricated events of a complex nature purportedly undertaken for purposes either of suppressing or rigging the news, which in turn perverts humanity's tactical information resources. All history becomes suspect. Probably our most polluted resource is the tactical information to which humanity spontaneously reflexes.

Furthermore, today's hyperspecialization in socioeconomic functioning has come to preclude important popular philosophic considerations of the synergetic significance of, for instance, such historically important events as the discovery within the general region of experimental inquiry known as virology that the as-yet popularly assumed validity of the concepts of animate and inanimate phenomena have been experimentally invalidated. Atoms and crystal complexes of atoms were held to be obviously inanimate; the protoplasmic cells of biological phenomena were held to be obviously animate. It was deemed to be common sense that warm-blooded, moist, and soft-skinned humans were clearly not to be confused with hard, cold granite or steel objects. A clear-cut threshold between animate and inanimate was therefore assumed to exist as a fundamental dichotomy of all physical phenomena. This seemingly placed life exclusively within the bounds of the physical.

The supposed location of the threshold between animate and inanimate was methodically narrowed down by experimental science until it was confined specifically within the domain of virology. Virologists have been too busy, for instance, with their DNA-RNA genetic code isolatings, to find time to see the synergetic significance to society of the fact that they have found that no physical threshold does in fact exist between animate and inanimate. The possibility of its existence vanished because the supposedly unique physical qualities of both animate and inanimate have persisted right across yesterday's supposed threshold in both directions to permeate one another's-previously perceived to be exclusive-domains. Subsequently, what was animate has become foggier and foggier, and what is inanimate clearer and clearer. All organisms consist physically and in entirety of inherently inanimate atoms. The inanimate alone is not only omnipresent but is alone experimentally demonstrable. Belated news of the elimination of this threshold must be interpreted to mean that whatever life may be, it has not been isolated and thereby identified as residual in the biological cell, as had been supposed by the false assumption that there was a separate physical phenomenon called animate within which life existed. No life per se has been isolated. The threshold between animate and inanimate has vanished. Those chemists who are preoccupied in synthesizing the particular atomically structured molecules identified as the prime constituents of humanly employed organisms will, even if they are chemically successful, be as remote from creating life as are automobile manufacturers from creating the human drivers of their automobiles. Only the physical connections and development complexes of distinctly "nonlife" atoms into molecules, into cells, into animals, has been and will be discovered. The genetic coding of the design controls of organic systems offers no more explanation of life than did the specifications of the designs of the telephone system's apparatus and operation explain the nature of the life that communicates weightlessly to life over the only physically ponderable telephone system. Whatever else life may be, we know it is weightless. At the moment of death, no weight is lost. All the chemicals, including the chemist's life ingredients, are present, but life has vanished. The physical is inherently entropic, giving off energy in ever more disorderly ways. The metaphysical is antientropic, methodically marshalling energy. Life is antientropic. It is spontaneously inquisitive. It sorts out and endeavors to understand.

The overconcentration on details of hyperspecialization has also been responsible for the lack of recognition by science of its inherently mandatory responsibility to reorient all our educational curricula because of the synergetically disclosed, but popularly uncomprehended, significance of the 1956 Nobel Prize-winning discovery in physics of the experimental invalidation of the concept of "parity" by which science previously had misassumed that positive-negative complementations consisted exclusively of mirror-imaged behaviors of physical phenomena.

Science's self-assumed responsibility has been self-limited to disclosure to society only of the separate, supposedly physical (because separately weighable) atomic component isolations data. Synergetic integrity would require the scientists to announce that in reality what had been identified heretofore as physical is entirely metaphysical-because synergetically weightless. Metaphysical has been science's designation for all weightless phenomena such as thought. But science has made no experimental finding of any phenomena that can be described as a solid, or as continuous, or as a straight surface plane, or as a straight line, or as infinite anything. We are now synergetically forced to conclude that all phenomena are metaphysical; wherefore, as many have long suspected-like it or not-life is but a dream.

Science has found no up or down directions of Universe, yet scientists are personally so ill-coordinated that they all still personally and sensorially see "solids" going up or down-as, for instance, they see the Sun "going down." Sensorially disconnected from their theoretically evolved information, scientists discern no need on their part to suggest any educational reforms to correct the misconceiving that science has tolerated for half a millennium.

Society depends upon its scientists for just such educational reform guidance. Where else might society turn for advice? Unguided by science, society is allowed to go right on filling its childrens' brain banks with large inventories of competence-devastating misinformation. In order to emerge from its massive ignorance, society will probably have to rely exclusively upon its individuals' own minds to survey the pertinent experimental data-as do all great scientist-artists. This, in effect, is what the intuition of world-around youth is beginning to do. Mind can see that reality is evoluting into weightless metaphysics. The wellspring of reality is the family of weightless generalized principles.

It is essential to release humanity from the false fixations of yesterday, which seem now to bind it to a rationale of action leading only to extinction.

The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe.

And whence will come the wealth with which we may undertake to lead world man into his new and validly hopeful life? From the wealth of the minds of world man-whence comes all wealth. Only mind can discover how to do so much with so little as forever to be able to sustain and physically satisfy all humanity.

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Copyright © 1997 Estate of Buckminster Fuller