Critical Path by R. Buckminster Fuller

Bucky Fuller. The first time I remember thinking I should read something by him was at a Peka Kucha talk in Vancouver, but I must have heard the name before, because it did sound familiar.

In any case I picked up his Critical Path and read it back in spring of 2011. Long time ago, but what I remembered before opening it up again for this review is how alternative Fuller seemed to me. In his thinking and approach to architecture, engineering, and life. Not 'alternative' as in alternative medicine (though as I recall he did not always reason strictly scientific at all times either), but rather as alternative in approach. He saw things from another perspective, and often that led him to interesting solutions. In addition to his famous geo-dome, I also remember an alternative map projected so that the land masses of earth was almost a continuous stretch (via one of the poles), and the economical concept where by every new-born is given  a form of capital corresponding the earths sustainable capacity for a life and then spent it over time. As I recall, among all other ideas and theories, it seemed to me like Fuller earlier than many others saw how limited the earth's resources really are in the long time. This is one of the most important facts a younger generation tries to get across to the older one even today.

When I open the book once more to jog my memory I see how much Fuller has crammed in there. Much is speculation, some oddities (such as alternative pre-histories), some is about himself, there is a lot about his architectural projects and self-sustainability. Not everything perhaps is on sure footing, but given his alternative approach, his other perspective, there are grains of wisdom in there as well. And the idea of Spaceship Earth. The concept has stayed with me since I read it, but I had forgotten where it came from.