R. Buckminster Fuller’s Soul Contract with his world

Richard Buckminster Fuller was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller and Caroline Wolcott Andrews, and also the grandnephew of the American Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller

As a young child he loved to create from things he found in the nearby woods.  He even made some of his own tools.  One of his creations was a human propulsion system for small boats.  As an adult, reflecting back on those years, he expressed feelings that this was the birth of his love of design and familiarity with materials he would commonly use throughout his life’s work.

As a young adult Buckminster earned a machinist’s certification.

He was expelled from Harvard twice.  The first time for spending all his money partying and again for what was termed his “irresponsibility and lack of interest”.  By his own account, he was a non-conforming misfit in the fraternity environment.

Between sessions at Harvard, he worked in Canada as a mechanic in a textile mill, and later as a labourer for the meat-packing industry. He also served in the U.S. Navy in World War I, as a shipboard radio operator, as an editor of a publication, and as a crash-boat commander.

In 1917, he married Anne Hewlett.

During the early 1920s, he and his father-in-law developed the Stockade Building System for producing light-weight, weatherproof, and fireproof housing.  The company failed.

In 1922, his 4 year old daughter Alexandra died of complications from polio and spinal meningitis.  His coping skills at that time were hard work and hard drinking. 

In 1927, at the age of 32, Buckminster decided to seriously consider suicide.  This was not simply a despondent reaction to a hard life, it was something to be weighed carefully and decided consciously. 

He was aware that he could not live with the system he had been taught.  It just didn’t make sense to him.  So he decided that if he could not make his life work based on his own observations and choices, rather than those considered right by his society, that his family would be better off without him and he would take his own life. 

The first step he took along this journey, which lasted the remaining 61 years of his life, was to arrange with his wife that she do all the talking for the family for 2 years.  He went almost completely silent for that time in an effort to rid himself of stupid, meaningless uses of language that had been programmed into him.

His second daughter Allegra was born in 1929 and it was about that time that he began speaking again, his words were more carefully chosen than most and would remain so for the rest of his life.

As he continued to weigh his observations against what was expected of him, he determined that animals and plants do not have jobs and yet they always have enough.  So he worked out a theory that stated: if you fully and courageously follow your nature, nature will take care of you.

He clearly had married the right person, his wife backed him up on this and they devoted their energies to exploring and living their truest natures.  This led him to embark on a life-long experiment, to find what a single individual could contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.

R. Buckminster Fuller was a man of strong faith, he once stated “there is no free will without God.”  His faith was not a dogmatic one, he applied the same rigorous standards of observation to his faith that he applied to his works.  He was not at all afraid to say “I don’t know” in fact he coined the phrase “Dare to be naïve.” To illustrate the power of living in the question.

His faith included the belief that life is not physical, but rather metaphysical and has no weight.  He stated that he had no opinion on the subject of reincarnation.  He scoffed at the Garden of Eden story and many others that simply made no sense to him.  He also held that woman was of absolute necessity in the survival of humankind, while man could be disposable once he had sufficiently planted his seed. 

His observations led him to be one of the early environmental activists.  He recognized that the natural resources of Earth were finite and that we were using them carelessly.  Doing more with less was the basis of his work.

Buckminster Fuller was one of the first to propagate a systemic worldview, he explored principles of efficiency in architecture, engineering and design.  He was a pioneer of wholistic thinking.

He defined wealth of knowledge, as the “technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life”.

By the 1970’s he had come to believe that the accumulation of relevant knowledge and the quantities of recyclable resources already extracted from the earth had reached a critical level.  He believed we were now beyond the need for competition.  Cooperation was the key to survival now.  He stated “Selfishness is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable…. War is obsolete.” He also believed that for such a Utopian life to succeed it had to be planetwide.

During his life’s work R. Buckminster Fuller filed 28 patents, published 28 books and received 47 honorary degrees for his works to improve the quality of human life.

In his 1970 book I Seem To Be a Verb, he wrote: “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.”

There were many efforts to deify the man, to hold him up as an example of what a person should be.  He shunned publicity and refused any potential followers cold.  He believed such hierarchical thinking would dilute the message and might even keep people from striving for their own inner genius; which he held, everyone has.

So, what was Richard Buckminster Fuller’s Soul Contract with the world?

He grew up knowing that he was unusually intelligent, and as a child he never really felt challenged by the world around him.  Throughout his childhood, adults would say to him “We don’t care what you think, shut up and listen.  We’re trying to teach you something.”  This rang so completely false to him that he never forgot it.

He never lost touch with his need to make a difference in his world either.  This simple, fundamental desire common to all humans and so frequently compromised into non-existence was, in Buckminster Fuller, a beacon of hope that would one day illuminate his purpose.

He had huge failures.  The death of a daughter, his first business gone bankrupt, his revolutionary car design never given a real chance to affect the world as he knew it could have; for some time he took to drink and over-work to cope with disappointments.

He had a singular moment, the near suicide at age 32, when his life turned completely around.

He had huge successes.  His 65 year marriage, their second daughter followed in his footsteps, his decision to make a significant difference in the world based in his own observations; Clearly Buckminster had devotion and clarity of purpose very much at heart from the beginning.

He is still affecting the world.  His Geodesic Domes dot the planet and are still recognized as the essence of getting more from less.  The Buckminster Fuller Institute still supports independent thinking in design, engineering and social responsibility.  His concept of Earth as a Space Ship changed, not only the public’s understanding of our planet, but also the scientific world-view.

He eschewed publicity in the knowledge that he could become a guru and that would not serve humanity or him.

Let’s look at the highlights. 

He knew he was smarter than most and never lost touch with his desire to make his world a better place; he was a leader.

His disappointments and successes were all large-scale; he put his whole self into his efforts.

His works, words and perspectives all outlived him and will continue for generations to come; he truly spoke to the needs of his world.

He did not want to have a following because he knew that the message would get lost and the message was the most important thing he had to leave humanity; he truly cared and never lost focus.

R. Buckminster Fuller was a Christ.  Had someone called him that in his lifetime he might have argued the point, but his priorities, his trials and transcendences and the effect he had and still has all point to one whose total life centered on the divine message he was sent here with.

As further evidence; his greatest message to humanity was: Everything I have done could have been done by anyone.  I just happened to do it.  There is genius in everyone if they will access it. 

There was another Christ who said something very similar about 2000 years ago.  A religion has been based in his reputation and his works.  His greatest message was: “This you can do, and more”.

I believe people like R. Buckminster Fuller come here to show us that when Jesus said that, he meant it. 

To learn more about Soul Contracts, and what yours might look like visit my website at www.curtisfolts.com

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Elton John’s Soul Contract with his public.

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, to Stanley and Sheila Eileen (née Harris) Dwight. 

Elton came by his love of music honestly, both parents were avid listeners and they frequently bought records.  From birth he was enjoying music and has recalled memories of falling in love with rock and roll at about age 9 when he heard his mother play Elvis Presley and Bill Haley records.

Elton was 3 when he started playing the piano and by age 4 his mother heard him picking out “The Skater’s Waltz” by ear.  He started taking formal lessons at age 7.  He was writing music and earning a strong reputation for his musicianship when at age 11 he won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.  One of his instructors said he played a four-page piece by Handel like a “gramophone record” after hearing it once.

Although some instructors remember him as an exemplary student, Elton says of himself “I was one of those children who could just about get away without practicing and still pass, scrape through the grades.”

When Elton expressed interest in a career in music, his father, a part time musician himself, tried to steer him toward a more conventional career, such as banking.  Mr. Dwight was often absent from the home and showed little overall interest in his son, so Elton’s mother and maternal grandmother were his primary influences in the home.  His parents divorced when Elton was 15.

Elton’s step father, Fred Farebrother, was a loving influence.  Elton remained living with his mother and step-father well into the start of his career.

Elton and Bernie Taupin began working together in 1967.  Bernie would write lyrics, hand them to Elton and he would add the music.  It was a rapid process and over 40 years later they are still working hand-in-glove creating musical masterpieces with an effort that could be the envy of artists the world over.

It was around this time that Reginald Kenneth Dwight changed his name to Elton John in honor of Elton Dean, the saxophonist from his former group Bluesology and Long John Baldry, for whom Bluesology played backup.

In the mid 70’s Elton came out as bisexual, expressing a belief that everyone is bisexual to a degree.  In 1984 he married Renate Blauel and four years later they divorced with Elton telling Rolling Stone that he was comfortable being gay.

He met David Furnish in 1993 and they have been together since; as of Christmas day 2010 they have a son together.

Elton works tirelessly to raise awareness and money to help AIDS patients and to find the cure.  He uses the power of his fame and his music to draw attention to gender identity and the social dysfunctions that need to be addressed. 

Elton’s charitable work earned him Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 1995 and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.

His unique and genius talents have earned Elton a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, induction into the Songwriters Hall of fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor and a Disney Legends Award.  The list of awards and recognitions for his musicianship, artistry, skills and talents as well as his compassion and personal genius is long and impressive.

With such an amazing life and career, Elton still had time for troubles; drug and alcohol dependency, bulimia and attempted suicide among them. 

So, what is Elton John’s Soul Contract with his public?

A boy born into post-war Britain where scared parents, churches, governmental and educational systems were trying to keep their children safe by getting them to “fit in” somewhere and make a nice low profile life as they rebuilt their nation.  A boy with innate genius that could not be tamed, or trumped; young Reg was a maverick at heart.

He was a musical prodigy who couldn’t hear the words “fit in”.  Everywhere the boy went he set new standards for excellence.  Not by working his little tail off, but by following his heart and his truth no matter the cost.

His father failed to have any use for him when he realized that he could not control his son’s destiny.  He was afraid of an unknown future for his progeny.  So he abandoned him.

Elton grew into a young man who honed his musical skills and talents with fellow geniuses and created life-long friendships that have notably blessed two generations of music lovers, and are still blessing this world today.

He became a self-denying adult who turned to drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and random sexual encounters to avoid facing the world-wide rejection he came to expect after experiencing world-wide adulation.

As he began to remove the self-imposed obstacles to his fulfillment, he began to express who he truly was and became a pioneer in western culture as one of the first shining stars to declare and own his sexuality before his public. 

His coming out process lasted 12 years before the public and by the time he was completely out to his public there was the added, though inaccurate, stigma of AIDS.  By this time it didn’t matter.  Elton John was established to his public as a gay man and from the looks of things most of them didn’t care.

Not long after he came out, he began losing friends to AIDS and it affected him so strongly that, as he put it “I’ve dodged so many bullets.  Not just because of unsafe sex, but because of the amount of drugs I did, the amount of alcohol, the amount of work I was doing.  I started the Elton John AIDS Foundation because I got so lucky.”

Elton John has spent the past two decades and more raising public awareness to gender identity issues and raising enormous amounts of money for AIDS research.  He has become a voice in the political world for humanity and the human condition; he speaks compassion.

He has also given himself the gift of true love, of supporting other musicians and entertainers in their works and most recently the gift of a child of his own.  Elton John has, after so many years of fighting with himself, allowed himself to be happy.

But if you look at his early years, and his single-minded pursuit of his passions it’s easy to see that all he had to do was live long enough and he would allow himself to be happy.  Happiness is born in passion and nurtured in its pursuit.

For all of us who came after, Elton John is a shining example of the power of perseverance in passion.  When you are bound and determined to accomplish something in your life because you know that you can do no other, you have an idea of what young Reginald Kenneth Dwight must have known and what Sir Elton John has given us for over 40 years now.

To learn more about Soul Contracts, and what yours might look like visit my website at www.curtisfolts.com

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Julian Assange’s Soul Contract with the world

Julian Assange was born in 1971, his mother Christine was alone. About a year later she married Brett Assange who gave young Julian his last name. In 1979 his mother remarried, shortly thereafter had another son and not much later left that husband and lived in hiding with her boys for 5 years. According to Assange they were hiding from a cult. This turbulent childhood saw young Julian studying at as many as 37 schools with home-schooling between them.

By age 16 Julian was one of the “International Subversives” a group of young hackers who accessed computer files from all over the world via modem. He wrote the first rules of the hacker subculture. They were:

1. Don’t damage computer systems you break into.
2. Don’t change the information in those systems, other than altering logs to cover your tracks.
3. Share information.

In 1992 he was convicted of hacking and had to pay a fine. The prosecutor said there was no evidence of anything other than intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to surf through these various computers.

In 1993 he was part of the group that started one of the first Internet Service Providers in Australia.

In college he studied Physics, Math, Philosophy and Neuroscience.

In 2006 he founded Wikileaks with the stated purpose of helping to replace secretive tyrannies with open and communicative governances. The 2007 Kenyan elections saw the ouster of every politician named in corruption documents released by Wikileaks for 20 days prior to the elections. Recently Wikileaks released documents showing that British Petroleum has a history of mis-managed wells and explosions.

Assange is a self-described scrapper who sees his role as nurturing victims by policing aggressors.

In 2009 Amnesty International gave Julian and Wikileaks a media award for their publication of “The Cry of Blood: Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances.”

In 2010 Julian received the Sam Adams Award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. This is a group of retired CIA operatives who give the award, annually, to any intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. He was voted the award unanimously.

Some believe he is a loose cannon. Others see him as a modern day Robin Hood of information. Whatever your feelings regarding Julian Assange there’s no denying that he has changed the world irrevocably.

So, what is this man’s Soul Contract with the world?

Clearly he was born with a strong sense of right and wrong and a need to fight for what he sees as right. His youth prepared him to stand up for others and for himself, and his fights over the years have given him far greater self-confidence than most.

Julian is setting an example in his response to the rape charge leveled against him. He is cooperating with the law and with investigations while aggressively maintaining his legal protections and he has told the world that these charges are unfounded and politically motivated. He is showing himself to be a fighter and to have passion for diligent and open due process.

His history indicates that he is always curious and willing to do whatever it takes to get his questions answered. It also shows that he is not afraid of blatantly breaking a law that he disagrees with. Nor is he afraid of the consequences.

This slight built intensely focused man sees a world that is mired in secrecy, tyranny and lies all in the name of money, power or both; and he is determined to turn that around. Through his skills, connections and sheer chutzpah he has affected national election results in Kenya, brought to light the depth of deceit that British Petroleum, and other companies have stooped to, and played a significant role in the rewriting of journalistic integrity and protection laws in Iceland; now a haven for investigative journalism.

Julian Assange did not come to earth just to show us what was being done wrong. He came here to show the power-mongers that their greed cannot survive the light of day.

He is also here as a beacon. It is his work, and that of his partners at Wikileaks, that have inspired a surge of investigative journalists, and whistleblowers. And while there are still tyrannies galore to be brought to account, now there is a growing community of people with the courage and the know-how to do something about it.

For over 50 years people have been talking about somehow shedding light on the shenanigans of politicians and big business. That conversation was a wish in the making. Now Julian Assange came to do just that and he brought an informal but highly dedicated army with him.

One of the greatest hindrances to humanity’s growth has been large scale secrecy. We are now living in the pivotal moments of change from which that will no longer be possible.

Do you remember the story called The Mouse That Roared? Julian Assange is not the mouse, he is the roar.

His Soul Contract with the world? To teach us how to shed light on large scale secrecy, to inspire us all to look more carefully at what we are living with and accepting from our governments and large businesses, and to be the pivot-point of change that forever alters the direction of humanity.

To learn more about Soul Contracts, and what yours might look like visit my website at www.curtisfolts.com

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