What Little I Know – Buckminster Fuller

July 4, 2011

Jack’s Catholic Good Will and Iain’s perusal left open this note in “and it came to pass – not to stay” :

Tell Me
in five thousand
Written words” —
(Equivalent, at my oral rate,
To three-quarters of an hour’s discourse)
“What you have learned —
In your lifetime,”
Said Norman Cousins.
“That ought to be easy,” said I.

Three weeks have gone by —

I recall that
Thirty-eight years ago
I invented a routine
Somewhat similar to
Muscle development
Accomplished through
A day-by-day lifting
Of progressively heavier weights.

But my new
intellectual routine
Dealt with the weightless process
Of human thought development
Which subject is
Known to the scholars
As epistemology.

The 20th century physicists,
In defining physical Universe
As consisting only of energy,
Deliberately excluded metaphysical Universe —
Because the metaphysical
Consists only of imponderables,
Whereas the physical scientists
Deal only with ponderables —
Wherefore their physical Universe
Excluded for instance
All our thoughts —
Because thoughts are weightless —

But thoughts are experiences —
Wherefore I saw
That to be adequate
To the intuitively formulated
And experience-founded controls
of my ever bigger
Question and routine,
My answering definition
Of UNIVERSE
Must be one which
Embraced the combined
Metaphysical and physical
Components of UNIVERSE

Thus my self-formulating answer emerged,
And has persisted unshattered
By any subsequent challenges
From myself or others
As:
By Universe I mean:
The aggregate of all humanity’s
Consciously apprehended
And communicated
(To self or others)
Experiences.”

And later I discovered that
Eddington had said “Science is:
The conscientious attempt
to set in order
The facts of Experience.”

And I also discovered
That Ernst Mach —
The great Viennese physicist,
Whose name is used
to designate flight velocity
In speed of sound increments,
Known as Mach numbers —
Said:
“Physics is:
Experience
Arranged in
Most economical order.”

So I realized that
Both Eddington and Mach
Were seeking to put in order
The same “raw materials” —
I.e. Experiences —
With which to identify
Their special subsystems
Of UNIVERSE.

Wherefore I realized that
All the words in all dictionaries
Are the consequent tools
Of all men’s conscious
And conscientious attempts
To communicate
All their experiences–
Which is of course
To communicate
Universe…

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