Talking about all that this man did in his lifetime would take up more room than this humble blog post has room for (check the wikipedia article on him here). He documented his entire life from 1915 to 1983 in a work known as the Dymaxion Chronofile, was most famous for his geodesic domes (a la Spaceship Earth, a term he helped coin, at Epcot), and he thought language should be as used to describe the world as accurately as possible and created words such as 'livingry' and 'intertransformative' to accomplish this task.
But a line from a song, "Inspectors of Inspectors," off of Buckminster, is what I hear when I think about him. The line, "Call me Trim Tab, call me whatever," references something that he once said in an interview with, of all publications, Playboy:
Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary—the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.This quote gets my mind to thinking about what I can do, about what I've already done. It's a quote I pull to mind whenever I'm feeling unaccomplished or sad about things. To me, it reminds me that no matter what I do, did, or will do, I leave a mark on the world around me just by being alive.
So I said, call me Trim Tab.
Many people do great things that change the world in a much larger and more dynamic way, such as Buckminster Fuller did. But then there is the majority of people who live on this planet that aspire to such heights who ultimately fail to do so, their hopes and dreams dashed by reality. To those people, I say that their is nothing to be ashamed of in failing. Because just by their being alive, the world has changed drastically. And by continuing to be alive, there is always the opportunity to do more.
On Buckminster Fuller's gravestone in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the quote is etched in stone. It reminds me that, even in death, there is still potential to have an effect on world. I just have to find a way to do it.
And with that, go listen to Buckminster.