Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
R. Buckminster Fuller
We’re in for a ride.
Buckminster Fuller’s perspective on the history of human civilization, and where we can go from here, grabs you by the hair and hurls you into orbit; only then can you catch a glimpse of what he means when he talks about our Spaceship Earth.
Great Pirates were the forefathers of civilization: the early adventurers, explorers, capitalists, entrepreneurs and innovators. They built boats, traveled around the world, and discovered the connections between distant lands, peoples, resources, and later, disciplines of thought. They generalized their thinking, advancing their abstract and comprehensive understandings; and they forced (“encouraged”) others to specialize, so as to become more lethal weapons for the Great Pirate’s wielding. These Great Pirates assembled teams, voyaged on missions, conducted trade, and occasionally established proxy leaders of vulnerable regions all across the globe (his hypothesis on England is pretty entertaining for parties).
And then the end of WWI marked the end of the Great Pirates’ rule. The Second Industrial Revolution brought about a new age of science and technology, and the Great Pirates could no longer manage their specialists. As Bucky puts it, the Great Pirates became specialists themselves, specialists at making money, and ultimately doomed themselves.
With the advent of the computer, and especially the Internet, humanity has all it needs to consolidate its resources and optimize the planet to provide for every individual’s needs and creative desires. Nations are from the age of Great Pirates; computers herald the rise of scientists and engineers as our next leaders, leaders of a united planet.
We are a crew aboard a spacecraft hurtling through space at thousands of miles per hour. Once we quit fighting each other, things can really start to happen.