Photo from the exhibit “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.”
The title of the exhibit, comes from Fuller’s lifelong commitment to solving problems by investigating the basic order of nature and then utilizing the pertinent patterns uncovered there. The exhibit demonstrates how Fuller fulfilled his personal job description of “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist”: an interdisciplinary, forward-looking explorer discovering how to benefit the greatest number of people while expending the fewest natural resources—akin perhaps to Jeremy Bentham. Here as elsewhere Fuller made up terms that were sometimes clear, sometimes irritating. To his great credit, as the exhibit likewise shows, Fuller’s emphasis on “spaceship earth”—another of his terms—and on its fragile ecology contributed significantly to the growing post–World War II awareness of a world of integrated parts and people, of complex environmental systems requiring constant care.