Monday, March 05, 2007

Synergetics Dictionary

The four volume Synergetics Dictionary: The Mind of Buckminster Fuller, created by E.J. Applewhite, is an inventory of Fuller's precise usage patterns around sometimes familiar words (but here with a new spin).

Fuller attached a lot of importance to clear communication, saying he'd rather be not understood than misunderstood.

Depicted above is the beginning of a multi-panel foldout at the beginning of the first volume (A-E).
Here Fuller is noting that the number of ways n random experiences completely interconnect is the triangular number (n+1)*n/2 or 0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15..., which triangles may be stacked into a growing tetrahedron of experiences -- a primitive model of Universe in Synergetics.
"I am not a creator, I am a swimmer, a dismisser of irrelevances" J. Baldwin quotes from the dictionary, in his blurb for the Whole Earth Review (Summer, 1987).

Applewhite uses this motif, of six relationships among four experiences, as a graph (the "linear tetrahedron"), and explicitly as a tetrahedron, as a colophon to the dictionary (Garland Publishing, New York and London, 1986).

This fold-out illustration by Fuller (Sept 11, 1963) is double sided, so what's shown above is only the 2nd half of it.
My copy was a gift from Ed himself, retrieved from the attic of his Georgetown apartment that time Matt and I visited, enroute from Montclair, NJ to Whittier, CA, driving my sister's car (she'd moved across country). This treasure made it home safely and I've consulted it ever since.