No More Secondhand God


Buckminster Fuller

1963, Anchor Books edition, 1971.

A great favourite among all his books, this selection of mostly poetical writings includes a poem called Machine Tools, subtitled, Orchestral Instruments of America's Mass-Production Symphony. The long poem from which the book takes its title is the best Fuller wrote. With World War 2 under way, he considers our reliance on technical instrumentation:

Though you have been out in
a froth-spitting squall
on Long Island Sound or
in an ocean liner on a burgeoning sea
you have but a childlike hint of
what a nineteen-year-old's reaction is
to the pitch black shrieking dark out there
in the very cold northern elements
of unloosening spring
off Norway's coast
15,000 feet up, or
fifty under or
on the smashing face of it and
here I see God.

The god he sees is an integrity of principles governing interacting events throughout the universe. In the course of the poem, Fuller finds room to advocate the improvement of democracy by "electrified voting", all part of the unfolding process of human fulfillment.

Also included here is the classic text, Universal Requirements of a Dwelling Advantage and the manifesto-in-verse, A Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science.

The final, and most demanding, part of the book is the essay, Omnidirectional Halo, a key work in itself. Here he argues that "all of the definable structuring of universe is tetrahedronally co-ordinate in rational number increments of the tetrahedron." He goes on to suggest that thinking is, in effect, frequency modulation.




Paul Taylor 2006