Vanity Fair’s James Wilcott: Beam Me Up, Bucky

Beam Me Up, Bucky

by James Wolcott September 15, 2010, 12:31 PM

How pleasing and inspiring it is to be able to watch two of my inspirational heroes, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Buckminster Fuller, engaging on stage in 1971, joined together in the spirit of optimism and mission in an orbital docking of East and West, ancient wisdom and modern science, Yankee know-how and Vedic holistics. The universality of their message is even more vital today, when so much of America wants to curl up in an angry fetal ball, resisting the future, denying global dynamics and evolving consciousness, reducing everything to Ayn Randian black-white oppositions, insisting on acting like the strutting top dog of the planet and civilization while throwing squalling tantrums over not getting its way. A quarter of this country thinks they deserve their own privileged cabin on Spaceship Earth, everyone else be damned or bombed into submission, and they’re going to end up in the cargo section if they don’t open their grizzled minds.

Such a contrast these two make: Bucky, in his professorial glasses and “second-rate bank clerk” wardrobe (his look a deliberate gambit to de-accentuate himself, as he explains here), parked behind a desk, and Maharishi, in his white robes, abundant, untamed hair, beads, sitting cross-legged on a bouquet-flanked platform. Bucky is usually thought of as “all brain,” a cosmic engineer of endless expounding, but his testimony here–about how the contemplation of suicide in 1927 pivotally turned his thought inward and then expansively outward–is quite moving and plainspoken. Those wishing to know more about Bucky and the work being conducted in his name and purpose can visit the Buckminster Fuller Institute. It’ll help spiral you above and beyond election cycles and the Wagnerian white noise of media chatter.

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