Dear Bucky (R. Buckminster Fuller)
We had a rough start. Reading your Synergetics text nearly ended our relationship before it started. I spend hours on the first 20 pages and my computer open to dictionaries. It felt like every second word required definition. I was overwhelmed in your mathematical brain. S.E. told me to persevere and because it was him I did. I scoured the secondhand bookshops in Wellington and found every book by or about you that I could find. S.E. had written his book American Dreamer based on you and your theories and I read and reread that.
I fell in love with your philosophy when I read and critiqued Critical Path. I think like you do, which was mind blowing let me tell you, that the whole has to be known before the parts that form it. I agreed that specialisation could harm us in seeing bits of a human or a problem rather than the whole. I agreed that tradition could compromise innovation. I loved that you made your life an experiment and you were Guinea Pig B. You lived what you believed in, there was no smoke and mirrors to your theories. I too believe that an individual could make a difference and ideas should and could start at the individual.
I came to understand you as a man through the books of Bucky: A Guided Tour of Buckminster Fuller by Hugh Kenner and Buckminster Fuller’s Universe by Lloyd Steven Sieden. I loved the practicality of your inventions and those geodesic domes were incredible as structures of beauty and safety. I played with models of your ideas that S.E. had let his daughters play with as they grew up. I loved his stories about that as much as contorting the materials.
Our relationship is not typical, you were dead long before we met but I had your words and those make you someone that I will never forget and who continues to influence my life at a variety of levels.
Your student in life