For most of his life Buckminster Fuller was on the move. As an adult, he traveled constantly, speaking and taking action on behalf of all sentient beings and creating a sustainable “world that works for everyone.” Even in his eighties, he was still presenting an average of 150 of his classic “thinking out loud” sessions, and these were not simply lectures. They generally lasted six to eight hours, and Bucky spoke continuously during the entire period. The way he described his philosophy of such communication and taking risks in general was simple and clear.
“How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.” – Buckminster Fuller
In Bucky Fuller’s “world that works for everyone,” politics, big business, governments and formalized dominating religions become obsolete. Replacing these people and institutions, we have great, professional administrators and an advanced technological system that allows “we the people” to vote on everything.
Bucky’s many journeys were physical, metaphysical as well as metaphorical. He never really knew where life and his next initiative would lead, but he always had the courage to take that first step. His actions – like those of so many of our true “heroes” – was similar to the Fool on the Tarot card who steps out beyond the edge of the cliff with full confidence that he will be supported. This is the way of a genuine global citizen and Bodhisattva – someone who is continually stepping forward regardless of circumstances and fears.
The reality of our lives and world is that everything is constantly changing, and we really can’t be certain of how anything will be next year or in the next moment. With that insight, stepping into the next thing you feel moved to do is not much of a risk. We don’t know what will happen if we take that seeming risk, but we also don’t really know what will happen if we attempt to stay in the same place.
Bucky Fuller recognized this reality, and he continued to stride out into the unknown with his initiatives and inventions. As he stated in a 1974 Encyclopedia Britannica article when asked about how he designs and invents,
“I didn’t set out to design a house that hung from a pole, or to manufacture a new type of automobile, invent a new system of map projection, develop geodesic domes, or Energetic-Synergetic geometry. I started with the Universe — as an organization of energy systems of which all our experiences and possible experiences are only local instances the principles operating in Universe, I could have ended up with a pair of flying slippers.”
Whether we chose to step out or try to remain static (an impossibility), each of us is subject to the seemingly incomprehensible whims of Universe. We don’t know what will happen next or where the roller coaster ride of life will take us. All we can be certain of is that everything will change and we will get to make new choices in every moment. From that perspective, stepping out into the “unknown” is not such a frightening idea. After all, the next moment standing in this ostensibly same spot is also unknown.
May we all enjoy the twists and turns of our individual path as we tread onward and upward.