Thursday, August 24, 2006

Name Collisions

My take is the remoteness of the Synergetics vocabulary made some people nervous enough to credit Bucky with inventions he never conceived of -- although the more popular story is that he stole people's inventions (as in "pirated" them) without giving them their due.

I'm thinking of Clifford Nelson in particular. He invented some elaborate analytical apparatus involving the four planes of the tetrahedron and claimed to have found it in Bucky's corpus. But when I comb through Synergetics, I find no such Rube Goldberg contraption.

True, friends and I collaborated on Quadrays, which one might likewise liken to "4D" in some buckaneer manner (like, we've got a tetrahedron here too), but we never claimed to have found this apparatus actually lurking between the lines of Synergetics itself.

New stuff arises. Elastic Interval Geometry for example: it's not "just tensegrity". Life goes on. Snelson's model of the atom isn't "just tensegrity" either.

Had Bucky lived longer, he'd have enjoyed the collateral with us. Who knows, we might've had those ecovillages by now -- goofy parallel Universe talk, I realize, otherwise known as the subjunctive tense.

OK, now let's listen to Bucky spin it:
For example, quantum mechanics came many years after I did to employ the term spin. The physicists assured me that their use of the word did not involve any phenomena that truly spun. Spin was only a convenient word for accounting certain unique energy behaviors and investments. My use of the term was to describe a direct observation of an experimentally demonstrable, inherent spinnability and unique magnitudes of rotation of an actually spinning phenomenon whose next fractional rotations were induced by the always co-occurring, generalized, a priori, environmental conditions within which the spinnable phenomenon occurred. This was a case in which I assumed that I held a better claim to the scientific term spin. In recent years, spin is beginning to be recognized by the physicists themselves as also inadvertently identifying a conceptually spinnable phenomenon -- in fact, the same fundamental phenomenon I had identified much earlier when I first chose to use the word spin to describe that which was experimentally disclosed as being inherently spinnable. There appears to be an increasing convergence of scientific explorations in general, and of epistemology and semantics in particular, with my own evolutionary development. (250.31)
I think you'll admit, you don't hear spinning like that every day.

Related reading:
Psychology of Synergetics (January, 2000)
Synergeo #28469 (August, 2006)