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Did Ayn Rand interact with R. Buckminster Fuller?

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If not, why not? I realize that Fuller is a bit of a Platonist and/or collective humanist in some ways, but his insistence on the principle of synergy was correct, and synergy is a principle that I would like to introduce more explicitly alongside the standard objectivist dialogue. Not because it isn't already there, but because I think it helps to suture together the axioms nicely. Synergy says, in a nutshell: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And so for Fuller: while not pure, morally, from what I can tell (not galt or d'anconia, maybe more of a reardon experience from reading his bio), his contributions, especially to modeling reality without getting tied down to outmoded physical assumptions, are worthy of respect, even if I must apologize for his obvious socialist bent.

I am curious because, beyond some of the obvious differences, there is much similar in their approaches and attitudes about people (albeit, Fuller's consistent insistence that he was nothing more than an average human is facetious and annoying). Fuller says that he made a conscious choice to rely only on his own verifications of reality, and I believe him. His approach is very much an objectivist one, operationally, once you strip out his attempts to fit into the social scene (which should not be overlooked, he was so wrong in some ways, e.g., the potential of Soviet Russia).

And he was an architect, too. I am guessing he at least read and was influenced by Rand's writing ... just wondering, does anyone know if there was a closer connection than overlapping generationally, with any similarities in their thinking an osmotic effect -- great minds thinking alike, sort of?

- ico

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  • 10 years later...

i had this thought a few days ago, and i am happy to see at least one other person made this connection (Rand/Buckie). To me this thought came to mind as i often use his quote on how we should not fight the broken system but create a parallel one, this is literally what Galt created with his Gulch.
Given the fact that even nowadays "the Fountainhead" appears to be still part of the architectural curriculum, i would say he must at least read that book as it was way more popular back in those days as it is now.


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TIME - December 19, 1969

Rand analyzed this linked article, its predictions and old-cant-as-new. She quoted the prediction by Fuller, shown on the linked page. After appearance of his name, she inserted the parenthetical satire: “a bright young man of 75.” (The Left: Old and New, in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution.)

I’ve had the impression in the decades since then that Fuller’s geodesic dome form and the name chemists thereupon gave to their carbon-60 “buckyball” (and the name for subsequent pure-carbon inventions “fullerenes”) have been the salient traces of him in the public eye.

I don’t know if the fictional character Roark was talked about in the architecture school of the technological institute I attended in the early ’80’s. But in a professional ethics course I took as part of engineering, the professor had the class first spend three weeks reading The Fountainhead on their own. He then conducted his lectures using things that occur in the novel as well as in real history to make his points (dramatically, vividly).

Edited by Boydstun
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