Everything I know


How long would it take you to tell another person everything you know? Assuming, of course, that you, or me, or anyone, could get someone to listen, which is quite unlikely. Also, for me, I suspect that a lot of what I think I know, in reality I probably don’t, for example how to read a French bus timetable (as I recently found to my cost), or basic things about maths, or how to spell the word surrepitiscious. Plus the fact that if you were to start spilling out the entire contents of your brain, new thoughts would constantly occur, and you would quickly find out that you know both a lot more and a lot less than you thought you did.

In 1975 Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of something called the geodesic dome (that thing above that looks suspiciously to me like something he´s nicked from a children´s playground and painted white, but then as I say I know little of science or maths), decided to tell the world everything he knew. It took 42 hours, and I’d imagine that the audience consisted of people familiar with his life’s work, or at least very close friends, or maybe just people who really wanted to shag him, given that the content of the mammoth talk consisted in:

…all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car and bathroom, through the Wichita House, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures, as well as the contents of Synergetics. Autobiographical in parts, Fuller recounts his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization. Permeating the entire series is his unique comprehensive design approach to solving the problems of the world. Some of the topics Fuller covered in this wide ranging discourse include: architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering.

His speech starts beautifully, if a little bit incoherently; it’s clear that he’s not speaking from a prepared text, which I like:

We try to think about the most primitive information we have regarding our extraordinary experience, is that, I think we choose the fact that, all humanity has always been born naked, absolutely helpless, for months, and though with beautiful equipment, as we learn later on, with no experience, and therefore, absolutely ignorant. That’s where all humanity has always started. And we’ve come to the point where, in our trial and error finding our way, stimulated by a designed-in hunger, designed-in thirst…Man having, then, no rulebook, nothing to tell him about that Universe, has had to really find his way entirely by trial and error.

I should say that he didn’t speak for 42 hours straight, but over a period of two weeks; there were lengthy breaks during which he presumably went about his quotidian erudite existence, without reading too many big mind-expanding books and making absolutely sure he’d be able to get his hands on enough green stuff to plough through ’til the end. You can read, watch or listen non-stop to the entire thing here, although I can’t claim to have done so myself yet. Some of the parts that I have read, though, such as this from Session 11 where he talks about Love and sounds distinctly like an addled and very sentimental hippy, make me dearly want to sit through the whole thing.

And it’s because of my basic inherent laziness, combined with the fact that I myself would never be so presumptuous or ambitious as to think that someone might spend 42 hours staring at my blog, that, inspired by Mr Fuller, I have decided to do something similar here, but much more manageable: I have come up with the simple idea of recording a Daily Thought, just a single sentence which contains whatever piece of original thinking has entered my head that day. Hopefully it won’t just come across as a pithy soundbite or a facetious one-liner, although I think realistically that’s probably the best that can be hoped for most days.

I’ll keep it on the top of the page for the time being, and obviously I reserve the right to develop whatever silly notions occur to me into full-fledged misdirected rants whenever it takes my fancy. In an ideal world people would feel free to respond with considered responses or virulent abuse, but then in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any traffic problems in Madrid and nobody would ever have had any right-wing ideas, so take your pick.

Right, having said all that, my first piece of genuinely original thinking is…:

Err…

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