Buckminster Fuller’s Extraordinary Letter
DURING MUCH of the 20th Century, Buckminster Fuller was considered to be a bit of a crackpot. He invented such seemingly worthless items as the hydrogen fuel cell, recycling and the Geodesic Dome.
Today, many of science’s leading minds applaud his groundbreaking work.
In the 70’s, a young boy named Michael sent Buckminster Fuller a letter, asking him if he were a “doer” or a “thinker.” His response not only captured the power of initiative, he eloquently gives us an extraordinary variation of our unique purposes and gifts. We find it in his book Critical Path – possibly the crowning achievement of his great career:
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Thank you very much for your recent letter concerning “thinkers and doers.” The things to do are the things that need doing: that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed by others on the individual.
Try making experiments of anything you conceive and are intensely interested in. Don’t be disappointed if something doesn’t work. That is what you want to know – the truth about everything – and then the truth about combinations of things. Some combinations have such logic and integrity that they can work coherently despite non-working elements embraced by their system.
Whenever you come to a word with which you are not familiar, find it in the dictionary and write a sentence which uses that new word. Words are tools – and once you have learned how to use a tool, you will never forget it. Just looking for the meaning of the word is not enough. If your vocabulary is comprehensive, you can comprehend both fine and large patterns of experience.
You have what is most important in life – initiative. Because of it, you wrote to me. I am answering to the best of my capability. You will find the world responding to your earnest initiative.
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