Uncle Bucky was a crazy mother

If you follow my family tree back 12 generations, back to Norwich, England, flip from one brother to another, and then follow that tree back across the Atlantic (via the Mayflower) and down to the 20th Century, you will have traced my connection to Buckminster Fuller.  My mom (from whence my last name comes from) had never heard of the guy, but when I was at Columbia, chemistry undergrads were constantly asking me if we were related.

“Sure, kid.  He was my uncle.  We called him Uncle Bucky.”

Look, Uncle Bucky was supposed to be some futurist genius or something, but I’ve been reading his Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, and I’ve got to say, the guy was kind of crazy.  At the time of me writing this post, I’d been working on this 138-page book for well over two months.  And that’s just to get through the first 56 pages.  Why has my going been so slow?  Well, check this out from the end of chapter three.

The Great Pirates did run the world. They were the first and last to do so. They were world men, and they ran the world with ruthless and brilliant pragmatism based on the mis-seemingly “fundamental” information of their scientifically specialized servants. First came their Royal Society scientific servants, with their “Great” Second Law of thermodynamics, whose “entropy” showed that every energy machine kept losing energy and eventually “ran down.” In their pre- speed-of-light-measurement misconceptioning of an omnisimultaneous-instant universe” that universe, as an energy machine was thought, also to be “running down.” And thus the energy wealth and life support were erroneously thought to be in continuous depletion-orginating the misconception of “spending.”

Next came Thomas Malthus, professor of political economics of the Great Pirate’s East India Company, who said that man was multiplying himself at a geometrical rate and that food was multiplying only at an arithmetical rate. And lastly, thirty-five years later, came the G. P.’s biological specialist servant, Charles Darwin, who, explaining his theory of animate evolution, said that survival was only for the fittest.

Quite clearly to the Great Pirates it was a scientific fact that not only was there not enough to go around but apparently not enough to go around for even I per cent of humanity to live at a satisfactorily-sustaining standard of living. And because of entropy the inadequacy would always increase. Hence, said the G. P.’s, survival was obviously a cruel and almost hopeless battle. They ran the world on the basis that these Malthusian-Darwinian entropy concepts were absolute scientific laws, for that was what their scientifically respected, intellectual slave specialists had told them.

Then we have the great pragmatic ideologist Marx running into that entropic-Malthusian- Darwinian information and saying, “Well, the workers who produce things are the fittest because they are the only ones who know how to physically produce and therefore they ought to be the ones to survive.” That was the beginning of the great “class warfare.” All of the ideologies range somewhere between the Great Pirates and the Marxists. But all of them assume that there is not enough to go around. And that’s been the rationalized working hypothesis of all the great sovereign claims to great areas of the Earth. Because of their respective exclusivities, all the class warfare ideologies have become extinct. Capitalism and socialism are mutually extinct. Why? Because science now finds there can be ample for all, but only if the sovereign fences are completely removed. The basic you-or-me-not-enough-for-both ergo, someone-must-die-tenets of the class warfaring are extinct.

The whole book reads like this.  Like one long, absolutely brilliant, bat-shit crazy conspiracy theory word salad bingo game.  And what’s fucked up is that, at one level, he’s actually making a valid point: over-specialization kills human progress.  Cross-disciplinary science has been where it’s at for the past 15 years or so.  In my own field, astrophysics, biology is making huge inroads as we start to realize that the whole universe is probably covered with a thin layer of bacterial scum.  And who’s most equipped to study space bugs?  Astrobiologists.

But the way Uncle Bucky makes that point, you’ve really got to shovel through a lot of…I don’t even know what to call it. Late 19th-Century/early 20th-Century Disney carousel of tomorrow bullshit conspiracy talk?  And what’s really fucked up is that–and I’m not 100% sure on this–but I strongly suspect “The Great Pirates” is just code for the British empire (which would make this book wholly American).

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this book.  I guess…just power through?  Jesus Christ.  Why do I love reading so much when I hate so much of what I read?

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