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Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking


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:eek:I received a copy of R. Buckminster Fuller's seminal work, Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, today by post. In this thread I intend to explore his exploration from cover-to-cover, word-by-word, drawing-by-drawing. :eek: :clue: :banghead:

Over my delight to even have a copy, I find the one that came is a first printing hardcover with dust jacket & originally a library book in Belmont California. :) As best I can tell, the book is no longer in print, but I also see many used copies available online.


If my reading of Homer et al is any indication, this may take a couple of years. :) Fear not, as all fall biting the dust. ..........:)


YouTube - Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rjEnnOl1SA


* online version

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Noice Turtle :)


Looks good.


I like me some Bucky-balls :D


:eek: ;) There will be a 'little' quiz. :D ;)


Today I received by post, Synergetics 2, the companion work that came out in 1979. Another pleasant surprise as it is also a first printing hardcover from a library. :hyper:


Notably from Synergetics 2 there is this from Fuller's collaborator:

Synergetics 1 & Synergetics 2 are separate volumes only because of their bulk and the chronology of their composition. They in fact comprise a single integral work. ...

Synergetics 1 is 876 pages; Synergetics 2 is 592 pages.


I will post a report on the dust-jacket info in the next day or so. :read: :rotfl:

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The Synergetics 1 dust jacket review by Saturday Review writer Norman Cousins is full of promise that has never materialized. Cousins includes quotes from several luminaries. Pullitzer Prize winning historian Samuel Eliot Morrison predicts Synergetics "Will become one of the classics of science, along with Darwin's The Origin of Species." Sir Arthur C. Clarke says, "It will be a source of endless inspiration and stimulus to those engaged on the most urgent task of our time - the effort to save Spaceship Earth." Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock claims, "Synergetics will surely go down as one of the memorable works of the decade."


The Synergetics 2 dust jacket author is not identified, but gives this synopsis: "Using an inspired combination of geometrical logic and metaphysics from familiar human experience, he invites the reader on a trip through a four-dimensional Universe where concepts as diverse as entropy,Einstein's relativity equations, and the meaning of existence become understandable to the lay reader."


Cleary, Synergetics failed to meet these promises. I believe this is in part due to Fuller's writing style, but also due to an over-estimation of lay-readers. I get the further impression that the professional readers did/do not understand Fuller's geometry because they didn't take the time to study it, and probably more so from having their attention on their own specialty rather than any disdain for Fuller.


Next up, I'll look at the introductions, prefaces, etcetera before we plunge into the guts of Synergetics. :hihi: :rotfl:

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In persuing the 2 books and comparing to the online version, it looks to me that they are combined in the online format. Even though first published in 1975 & 1979, Synergetics is a compilation of some 50 years of Bucky's work. My copy of Synergetics 2 contains reproductions of some of Fuller's original hand drawings from 1948, and I think that's important to note in putting Synergetics in an historical context.


In regard to the work's dedication, introductions, & prefaces, I find Fuller's own words sufficient to quote, and leave the rest to you other readers.


Author's Note on the Rationale for Repetition in This Work

It is the writer's experience that new degrees of comprehension are always and only consequent to ever-renewed review of the spontaneously rearranged inventory of significant factors. This awareness of the processes leading to new degrees of comprehension spontaneously motivates the writer to describe over and over again what-to the careless listener or reader-might seem to be tiresome repetition, but to the successful explorer is known to be essential mustering of operational strategies from which alone new thrusts of comprehension can be successfully accomplished.


To the careless reader seeking only entertainment the repetition will bring about swift disconnect. Those experienced with the writer and motivated by personal experience with mental discoveries-co-experiencing comprehensive breakthroughs with the writer-are not dismayed by the seeming necessity to start all over again inventorying the now seemingly most lucidly relevant.


Universe factors intuitively integrating to attain new perspective and effectively demonstrated logic of new degrees of comprehension that's the point. I have not forgotten that I have talked about these things before. It is part of the personal discipline, no matter how formidable the re-inventorying may seem, to commit myself to that task when inspired by intuitive glimpses of important new relationships-inspired overpoweringly because of the realized human potential of progressive escape from ignorance.

R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS


Here again, the link to the cover page of the online version of Synergetics: >>R. Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics

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Operational Note: I have no schedule planned here, and I likely couldn't keep it if I did. I do plan however to go cover to cover & follow Fuller's directions & order. I am quoting bits I find salient, but I invite you to post on my errors or omissions as you see them, and only request you not skip ahead. :)


Before we get to the body of the work, Fuller gives a final introduction titled "The Wellspring of Reality". It runs 7 pages in hardcover; xxv to xxxii. Here is the online link, and from that section, I find these following points essential to what follows. :) >> R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS


General systems science discloses the existence of minimum sets of variable factors that uniquely govern each and every system. ...


The word generalization in literature usually means covering too much territory too thinly to be persuasive, let alone convincing. In science, however, a generalization means a principle that has been found to hold true in every special case. ...


The physical is inherently entropic, giving off energy in ever more disorderly ways. The metaphysical is antientropic, methodically marshalling energy. Life is antientropic. It is spontaneously inquisitive. It sorts out and endeavors to understand. ...


But science has made no experimental finding of any phenomena that can be described as a solid, or as continuous, or as a straight surface plane, or as a straight line, or as infinite anything. We are now synergetically forced to conclude that all phenomena are metaphysical; wherefore, as many have long suspected-like it or not-life is but a dream. ...
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I am here

connection is a bit slow for video

And user is a bit slow (too much Queensland Rum)


Welcome & no worries. The video is only me plopping the book down & leafing through it; nothing of the subject there to miss. My previous posts contain links to each section I have read & discussed and you can catch up the reading there.


To clarify my earlier operational note on requesting you-all not skip ahead, I mean only to ask to please not post on a section I have not introduced yet here in the thread. You may of course read ahead as you like or not.


While I could claim a purely altruistic motive for the thread, I am doing this for my own understanding as much as anything. I'm counting on you-all to get at the bits I get wrong or fail to bring forward.


Here's the online version of Synergetics again from the cover page start. Enjoy. >> R. Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics :esmoking: :twocents:

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In review:


Leading Fuller's 'Moral of the Work' on page xix, he admonishes "Dare to be naive." I think I've got that covered (;)) and my naivete is on full display in post # 6 by way of the passages I quoted from the 7 page 'Wellspring of Reality'. Naively I thought I could with my bias separate the 'hard' geometry/science from the 'soft' metaphysics, but that is exactly what Fuller explains/demonstrates as erroneous.


Returning to the Wellspring then: pg xxv

There is an inherently minimum set of essential concepts and current information, cognizance of which could lead to our operating our planet Earth to the lasting satisfaction and health of all humanity. With this objective, we set out on our review of the spectrum of significant experiences and seek therein for the greatest meanings as well as for the family of generalized principles governing the realization of their optimum significance to humanity aboard our Sun circling planet Earth.


We must start with scientific fundamentals, and that means with the data of experiments and not with assumed axioms predicated only upon the misleading nature of that which only superficially seems to be obvious. It is the consensus of great scientists that science is the attempt to set in order the facts of experience. Holding within their definition, we define Universe as the aggregate of all humanity's consciously apprehended and communicated, nonsimultaneous, and only partially overlapping experiences. An aggregate of finites is finite. Universe is a finite but nonsimultaneously conceptual scenario. ...


One way to amp up your naivete when confronting new information such as this, is to take the approach of not needing to immediately believe what you are sensing, but simply learn it.


Back to the Wellspring, and a core metaphysical generalization that Fuller uses to bridge thinking & geometry, and further assert/demonstrate that there is no divison of 'hard' & 'soft'. >> R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS


It follows that the more specialized society becomes, the less attention does it pay to the discoveries of the mind, which are intuitively beamed toward the brain, there to be received only if the switches are "on." Specialization tends to shut off the wide-band tuning searches and thus to preclude further discovery of the all-powerful generalized principles. Again we see how society's perverse fixation on specialization leads to its extinction. We are so specialized that one man discovers empirically how to release the energy of the atom, while another, unbeknownst to him, is ordered by his political factotum to make an atomic bomb by use of the secretly and anonymously published data. That gives much expedient employment, which solves the politician's momentary problem, but requires that the politicians keep on preparing for further warring with other political states to keep their respective peoples employed. It is also mistakenly assumed that employment is the only means by which humans can earn the right to live, for politicians have yet to discover how much wealth is available for distribution. All this is rationalized on the now scientifically discredited premise that there can never be enough life support for all. Thus humanity's specialization leads only toward warring and such devastating tools, both, visible and invisible, as ultimately to destroy all Earthians. ...


Whatever else life may be, we know it is weightless.

Fuller works his way to that statement, gives it, and works away from it. Whether he says so explicitly here or not, this is a generalized principle an axiom. He combines it with another generalization a few paragraphs later. >>

The wellspring of reality is the family of weightless generalized principles.


Off I go thens.........:)

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Thanks for the heads up. I have checked with my favorite library and they do have a copy of this book. I shall check it out in the next few days and join in.


Roger that & welcome. This is going to take all the critical thinking & thinkers that I can muster. If the library has both books, Synergetics & Synergetics 2, I recommend you check them both out together as, according to the authors, they comprise one integral work. Don't worry if you can just get one however, as the online version combines them.


Just so, I have brought us up to the first 'regular' section in volume I, however I see that Synergetics 2 includes material intended to go before that first section (section 100.00:Synergy). In keeping with my strategy in this thread to follow Bucky's lead, the next reading assignment I have set for myself et al is the section in Synergetics 2 titled 'Humans in Universe'. Here it is online: >> R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS


This section contains some of Fuller's nomenclature without definition, however, as you will find, he ultimately leaves nothing to chance or speculation. Strip down, plunge in, and dare to be naive. :) :turtle:

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The following copyright notice appears on the third 'page' of the online edition of Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking.


Synergetics is copyrighted © 1997 by the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.


All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of text or pictorial content in any for profit manner is prohibited without express permission.


Implicit in the notice is permission to reproduce and/or use text or pictorial content for non-profit use. I declare my reproduction and use of text and/or pictorial content from Synergetics: Exploration in the Geometry of Thinking is for educational purpose and not for profit.

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R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS


Fuller begins the section with a summary of human development of math, geometry, & structures. In regard to structure of thinking, he brings up the thesis of Malthus that humanity multiplies exponentially while life-support production rises linearly, then Fuller invokes Darwin's thesis of survival of the fittest. Fuller disagrees with both, and gives some definitions & conditions of structure in consideration of our ever increasing strength-to-weight ratio of materials.

Structures are complexes of visible or invisible physical events interacting to produce stable patterns. A structural system divides Universe into all Universe outside the structural system (macrocosm) and all Universe inside the structural system (microcosm).


Gravity is the inwardly cohering force acting integratively on all systems. Radiation is the outwardly disintegrating force acting divisively upon all systems.


000.114 All structural systems are comprised of tension and compression components. ...


As of the 1970s the human mind has developed a practical tensile structuring capability of 600,000 p.s.i. The means of accomplishing this new and overwhelming structural strength has become entirely invisible. Fully 99 percent of humanity has as yet no idea that this increase in tensile capability has come about or how it came about or why it works.


I'll leave off this post with this Fuller observation and return to the section in the next post with some assertions of 'hard' geometry.

The fact that 99 percent of humanity does not understand nature is the prime reason for humanity's failure to exercise its option to attain universally sustainable physical success on this planet. The prime barrier to humanity's discovery and comprehension of nature is the obscurity of the mathematical language of science. Fortunately, however, nature is not using the strictly imaginary, awkward, and unrealistic coordinate system adopted by and taught by present-day academic science....



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When I first read Synergetics 2, it had been out a couple years, and I did not have Synergetics 1 at the same time, which I had read 5 years earlier when it came out. Whether Applewhite & Fuller left material out of Synergetics 1 in consideration of keeping the size down, or reader reaction prompted the second volume, I can't say.


Coming to the final paragraphs in the humans in universe section, Fuller makes a strong comparison of his geodesic geometry with the familiar Cartesian divisioning of space. (boldings mine) Having looked ahead some, the logical justifications & proofs are forthcoming, and repeated. :singer: ...:singer:


Nature's continuous self-regeneration is 100 percent efficient, neither gaining nor losing any energy. Nature is not employing the three dimensional, omniinterperpendicular, parallel frame of the XYZ axial coordinates of academic science, nor is nature employing science's subsequently adopted gram/centimeter/second weight/area/time exponents. Nature does not operate in parallel. She operates in radiational divergence and gravitational convergence. She grows outwardly by omniintertriangulated structuring from nuclei.


Nature is inherently eight-dimensional, and the first four of these dimensions are the four planes of symmetry of the minimum structure of Universe-the omnitriangulated, equi-vector-edge tetrahedron. In respect to the conceptual pre-time-size tetrahedron's volume taken as unity 1, with its six unit-vector-edge structure, the always conceptual-independent-of-size family of primitive, pre-time-size, least complex polyhedra have the following exact volumes-the vector-triangulated cube 3, the octahedron 4, the rhombic triacontahedron 5, and the rhombic dodecahedron 6. When the size information is introduced, it occurs only as frequency of modular subdivision of each unit vector structuring of the primitive family's respective 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-tetravolumes. Frequency to the third power, F3 , values then multiply the primitive, already-four-dimensional volumetric values. In physically realized time-size each has therefore 4 + 3 = 7 dimensions, but since each system is inherently independent in Universe and therefore has spinnability, one more dimensional factor is required, making a total of eight dimensions in all for experientially evidencing physical reality.


000.1271 To define the everywhere-and-everywhen-transforming cosmic environment of each and every system requires several more intercovarying system dimensions-planetary, solar, galactic, intergalactic. Because of the six positive and six negative degrees of freedom governing systems-within-systems intertransforming, we have 8 + 6 = 14 dimensional systems in cosmic relationship governance.


000.128 Nature is using this completely conceptual eight-dimensional coordinate system that can be comprehended by anyone. ...


000.129 Nature's coordinate system is called Synergetics-synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by any part of the system as considered only separately. The eternally regenerative Universe is synergetic.

R. Buckminster Fuller's SYNERGETICS
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So far in the 6 days of this thread's life, the major objection to committing to read Synergetics that I am hearing from the grapevine, is a lack of time. While I am myself now full-on in (in for a penny, in for a pound? :singer:), I did a little math of my own for some perspective on the time involved for others. In the 6 days, I have read & recommended others read ~20 pages of material in the hardcover 2 volume set of Synergetics. I counted all the words on a couple pages & find an average of ~ 430 words/page, giving ~8,600 words. I then timed myself & read 2 pages in 3 minutes, giving 1.5 minutes/page. 1.5 m/p*430 w/p = 645 w/m (your reading rate will vary). Then 8,600 words / 645 w/m = 13 1/3 minutes. Divide by 6 days and thats less than 3 minutes per day. Now that's a turtle's pace! ............:hyper:


Tomorrow I'll have a 3 minute look at the next section in Fuller's exploration, Child as Explorer Scenario.

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[100.01-100.63 Child as Explorer Scenario]


100.010 Awareness of the Child: The simplest descriptions are those expressed by only one word. The one word alone that describes the experience "life" is "awareness." Awareness requires an otherness of which the observer can be aware. The communication of awareness is both subjective and objective, from passive to active, from otherness to self, from self to otherness. Awareness = self + otherness

Awareness = observer + observed


100.011 Awareness is the otherness saying to the observer, "See Me." Awareness is the observer saying to self, "I see the otherness." Otherness induces awareness of self. Awareness is always otherness inductive. The total complex of otherness is the environment.

100.012 Universe to each must be

All that is, including me.

Environment in turn must be

All that is, excepting me.


(Compare Secs. 264.10 and 1073.12.)


It's tomorrow here, and I suddenly feel like a stranger in a familiar land. :hihi: :hihi: Thirty-three years since I first read Synergetics, and it popped in my head while cogitating on that, that I learned of it from a piece on Bucky in the Whole Earth Catalog. Apparently some of this has lodged in my subconcious like a hairball. :hihi: Then, Synergetics 2 about twenty-eight years ago, but without Synergetics 1. Then about 3 years ago, the online version with the volumes combined. Now this; a stranger in a familiar land. :doh: Both those early readings were of the paperback editions, and as I recall they were a larger format then these hardback I now have. I have already starting making notes in the margins & inserting multiple markers. :lol:


So, the reading 'Child as Explorer'. Last things first. ;) The note in parentheses, "(Compare Secs. 264.10 and 1073.12.)", is the first of many examples of a skip-ahead that Fuller directs the reader to take. In this case, two branches, each an expansion of the idea or concept immediately preceding the parenthetic direction. Reading Synergetics cover to cover is not reading it front to back, but the course is well plotted.


Then to the subject matter of the reading & 'otherness'. The first thing that came to mind when I read the above, was Doug Hofstadter's writings on field/ground. Thinking back, I can't recall whether or not Doug ever brought Fuller up in Metamagical Themas or Godel, Escher, Bach. :hyper: Could be another hairball though. :)


So that's all I got, and the only reading is what I quoted above. :) :)

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This field/ground orientation is a generalization. Again, and always for Fuller, 'generalization' means a principle that all specifc examples follow. Per the above parenthetical direction, we follow Fuller to an expansion on the theme: >>


100.00 SYNERGY

A point is a something, a complex entity system, but an infratunable system. A point occurs as the first moment of awareness of a looming-into-tunability of any system in Universe. A point__or a noise__appears in an angularly determinable direction within the total omnidirectional spherical sphere of reference of the individual observer's sense- informed environment. It is oriented in respect to the observer's head-to-heel axis of reference in respect to which the direction from which the somethingness of infradiscrete tunability__as well as the non-tune-outability of the static__is emanating, as distinct from the nothingness of untuned-in, omnidirectional withinness and withoutness. (See Secs. 505.65, 505.74, and 527.25.)


Recall that the prefix intra- indicates within or inside of. The prefix omni- indicates all or everywhere. The suffix -ability indicates possession of a specified quality.


Again we follow the parenthetical direction and read 505.65



505.65 An area is a nothingness. A plurality of areas are views of nothingness through separate frames. A point is a somethingness. A line is a relationship between two somethingnesses. An enlarged, apparently single somethingness may prove to be resolvable into a plurality of somethingnesses between which the lines of interrelationship fence off the nothingness into a plurality of separately viewable nothingnesses. Points are unresolvable, untunable somethingnesses occurring in the twilight zone between visible and supravisible experience. (See Secs. 262.02 and 264.01)


Here we find parenthetical back-references to the sections that delivered us. Gotta love that. :hihi: I'm marking the books to record these back references. So then, back to the first parenthetical trunk which next directs us to 505.74 for more on developing the geometric basis Fuller is instructing us on, which is the point.



The observer and the observed constitute two points differentiated against an area of nothingness with an inherent interrelationship line of awareness running between the two points. (See Sec. 264.01.) Thus there is a minimum set of four awareness aspects of life:

the observer;

the observed;

the line of interrelationship; and

the background nothingness against which the somethingness is observed.


That looks like lunch; smoke 'em if ya got 'em. :evil: :evil:

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