Buckminster Fuller is an inventor who believes in the essential goodness of technology in much the same way that Rousseau...


SYNERGETICS: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking

Buckminster Fuller is an inventor who believes in the essential goodness of technology in much the same way that Rousseau believed in the essential goodness of Nature. Both, moreover, deny original sino If Rousseau thought that man is born free and it's just the constraints of society that keep him in chains, Fuller thinks that the character of man's mind is by definition disinterested and it's simply the foolishness and selfishness of bureaucratic ""specialists"" which corrupts it. Fuller, too, like Rousseau, is a strange mixture of the puritan and romanticist. In July, he will be eighty years old. He has struggled valiantly in a wilderness of inattention for many years -- writing books, lecturing, teaching, working in industry, producing the Dymaxion house, the Dymaxion map, the Dymaxion car, the World Game, and of course those geodesic domes which finally brought him fame. His inventions, however, remain on paper, and though he's become something of a guru to college youth most of the intellectual community considers him a rata avis -- or nut. Synergetics, his magnum opus, may change things. Certainly it will be one of the most talked about books of the year. In it he substitutes the tetrahedron for the cube as the basic frame of reference for understanding the relationships between events (not things) in the physical world. The style of writing mixes scientific particulars with poetic metaphors, complicated palaver about ""quanta module orientations"" with generalizations Shelley might have dreamed up, terms and principles from mathematics and engineering with philosophical speculations on the ""inherent rationality of omnidirectional epistemology."" The syntax is often bizarre, the repetition deadly, but to Fuller both are necessary parts of ""the processes leading to new degrees of comprehension."" He is obviously a visionary: in his scheme of things everything fits -- or so he says. The average reader will have to take the new gospel on faith. One thing is certain: Fuller's time has come -- whatever that may ultimately mean.

Pub Date: April 3, 1975


Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1975