Making a Living through PrecessionFebruary 28, 2013
In 1927, R. Buckminster Fuller committed himself and his family to working as he saw nature working. He documents this process, and the spiritual experience he had that started it, in his book Critical Path (1981), along with ideas like global power sharing, the origins of man, and much more.
“How do you obtain the money to live with and to acquire the materials and tools with which to work? The answer was “precession.”"
“Precession is the effect of bodies in motion on other bodies in motion.” It operates at 90 degrees (right angle) from the force. For example, the sun’s gravity causes us to orbit around it at right-angles to the gravitational pull.
“The successful regeneration of life growth on our planet Earth is ecologically accomplished always and only as the precessional—right-angled—”side effect” of the biological species’… preoccupations.” For example, the honey bee enters a flower in search of nectar to make honey. Inadvertently, it collects pollen at right angles to its nectar-seeking efforts and goes on to pollinate other flowers. The bees activity supports its own species and unintentionally, the flowers that feed it.
“Humans, as honey-money-seeking bees, do many of nature’s required tasks only inadvertently.” Our side-effects must be nature’s intended effects. He gives the example of weapons-making inadvertently developing performance-enhancing technology that “can provide a sustainable high standard of living for all humanity, which accomplished fact makes war and all weaponry obsolete.” We’ve been a little slow to recognize this threshold has been reached.
“…since precession governs the interbehaviors of all bodies in motion, and since human bodies are usually in motion, precession must govern all socioeconomic behaviors.”
“In 1927 I reasoned that if humans’ experiences gave them insights into what nature’s main objectives might be, and if humans committed themselves… toward direct, efficient, and expeditious realization of any of nature’s comprehensive evolutionary objectives, nature might realistically support such a main precessional commitment and all the ramifications of the individual’s developmental needs…”
He notes that the effort has to be unique as nature doesn’t support competition or redundancy. It does however support “several angularly nonredundant forces at a given time.” Or, I notice, similar efforts that are distributed in other locations. Cooperatively networked is another of natures modalities.
His particular direction was to raise peoples awareness by improving their designed environment. Something quite attuned to his skills. “Since nature was clearly intent on making humans successful in support of the integrity of eternally regenerative Universe, it seemed clear that if I undertook ever more humanly favorable physical-environment-producing artifact developments that in fact did improve the chances of all humanity’s successful development, it was quite possible that nature would support my efforts…”
“I must so commit myself and must depend upon nature providing the physical means of realization of my invented environment-advantaging artifacts.” He notes that no other human could validate the choices but it would instead require close attention to feedback from nature – what was supported and what not.
“I assumed that nature would “evaluate” my work as I went along. If I was doing what nature wanted done, and if I was doing it in promising ways, permitted by nature’s principles, I would find my work being economically sustained — and vice versa, in which latter negative case I must quickly cease doing what I had been doing and seek logically alternative courses until I found the new course that nature signified her approval of by providing for its physical support.” I referred to this as Nature’s Support here.
He then details the commitment he made, including “paid no attention to “earning a living”" and “found my family’s and my own life’s needs being unsolicitedly provided for by seemingly pure happenstance and always only “in the nick of time,” and “only coincidentally.” He spoke only when asked, never tried to persuade, and committed unreservedly.
“…only the “impossible” continued to happen…” He mentions intuition, frequent course correction, and paying attention to what was evolving. This is not something we attune to once but rather is an ongoing tuning to the shifting flow of life.
For the devotional, this is the same as allowing God to work through oneself. Nature is but the expression of God. St. Francis of Assisi comes to mind.
This does require a significant change in how we look at work roles, the economy and so forth. We cannot understand precession by looking at usual models of human activity or labour nor at personal desires or goals. We have to learn to look at what nature is organizing around us and how our actions seem to be in tune (supported) or not by this. We often have to break through our established, habitual roles and reactions and be willing to let go of various shoulds, musts and expectations. Sometimes, we may even be pushed into circumstances that require a reevaluation. Of course, all this is immensely helped by spiritual evolution.
If you think this is difficult, the reverse is actually the case. It’s actually much easier to work with nature than with artificial economic systems. If you’re doing the right thing now, life is smoother and feels better. But you do have to learn new “listening” skills. You probably already know people living like this, though you may not have framed it that way. The form may even appear as a business, but one that succeeds with little effort. And then there are those people who haven’t had anything resembling a job or income in years but live very comfortably. What they need or the means just shows up. From wherever it is now, as one teacher said.
However, it’s important to recognize the difference between someone working with nature or the divine and someone living off their accrued credits or good karma. The trust account kid who never grows up would not be a good example of the first. But even they will be unintentionally seeding what is needed. This is the nature of living in the field. The idea here is to start doing it consciously so we’re more effective and much happier. As Joseph Campbell famously said, follow your bliss.