The Critical Path

Jun 06 2008


I recently finished reading Buckminster Fuller’s The Critical Path. If you don’t know him, Buckminster invented the geodesic dome, and is generally considered a slightly crackpot visionary designer. The Critical Path is one of his final books, in which he traces an overview of his life and mission.

In his early 30’s, he decided to devote his life to “an experiment, to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

So he studied energy problems and designed an efficient worldwide energy grid. He studied housing and developed inexpensive, portable housing (geodesic domes). And so forth.

My main problem with his theories: He was intensely rational. He assumed that people would adopt geodesic domes because of their efficiencies, ignoring how people like to live in traditional houses. Granted, he believed that people would adopt such things out of natural necessity, but I don’t think people are that rational. People hold on to things.

On the other hand, Fuller impresses me. He accomplished a huge amount in his lifetime; far more than I have. This is a minor complaint about a giant of a man.

It’s just a shame that humans can be blind like that.

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