Bringing Back Around These Bucky Fuller Quotes to Help Evolve Society

Inventor, architect, author and futurist Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was gifted in presenting leading edge, often controversial ideas on humanism and industrialized social structures as easy-going conversational quips.

Perhaps ahead of his time (1895-1983), Bucky was frequently known to get philosophical on provocative subjects such as social conditioning, the American Dream, and nonsensical agendas of many political and religious institutions, as explored below. Bucky also articulated one of our all-time favorite quotes, and one of the founding ideologies behind CoCre’s mission: 

“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”

While Bucky maintained a long career that resulted in him becoming a highly regarded human being, innovator and intellectual, it was a “rock bottom” phase early into his journey after the loss of a child, financial and business “failure”, heavy drinking, and a serious contemplation of suicide that snapped him out of depression and into the mentality of being the creator of his own existence, thus flipping the script on the trajectory of his life. Ultimately, we were gifted to have Bucky stick around to share his marvelous ideas and precious pearls of wisdom, such as these:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

“It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable as mandated by survival. War is obsolete.”

“We are powerfully imprisoned by the terms in which we have been conducted to think.”

“Everything you’ve learned in school as ‘obvious’ becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”

“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”

“If I ran a school, I’d give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for being good parrots. I’d give the top grades to those who made a lot of mistakes and told me about them, and then told me what they learned from them.”

“Today’s news consists of aggregates of fragments. Anyone who has taken part in any event that has subsequently appeared in the news is aware of the gross disparity between the actual and the reported events. We also learn frequently of prefabricated and prevaricated evens of a complex nature purportedly undertaken for the purposes wither of suppressing or rigging the news, which in turn perverts humanity’s tactical information resources. All history becomes suspect. Probably our most polluted resource is the tactical information to which humanity spontaneously reflexes.”

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”

“I’m not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely. Dare to be naive.”

“Mistakes are great, the more I make the smarter I get.”

“Integrity is the essence of everything successful. If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.”

“If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… HOW WOULD I BE? WHAT WOULD I DO?”

“Since the initial publication of the chart of the electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one-millionth of reality.”

“Love is metaphysical gravity.”

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”

“Don’t fight forces, use them.”

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, It is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”

“The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it’s a different kind of life.”


Larry Maguire, a Dublin-based writer on human performance, scribed an excellent piece – The 22 Self Disciplines of Buckminster Fuller – which includes more about Bucky’s life, as well as his key theories as life lessons. Read more here.

Bucky’s geodesic dome houses Montreal Biosphère, an environmental museum in Canada. Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

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