Good Ideas, Simply Expressed

Like many people my age, I read a lot of Buckminster Fuller when I was young, and was seriously impressed by him.  I’m not sure any kids today still read him.  That’s partly because most kids today read nothing at all, and partly because he’s not current.  They still read Tolkien, and they still read Dahl, and maybe a couple other writers from that era, but Fuller is not that entertaining.

I revisited him a couple of years ago, and realized part of the reason.  He’s not really a great writer.

Yes, he had one brilliant, amazing idea, which I believe is absolutely true and the world would be an infinitely better place if more people accepted that idea.  (the  idea is that the world could be an absolute paradise, if we so chose.  We have the technology to make it so), but that doesn’t mean that people were riveted to the page, that his words resonated in their memories.  The idea resonated with a few people, but the exact words, not so much.
One of his flaws as a writer was his love of big words and long sentences.  He was a very smart man, who obviously wanted other people to know how smart he was.  Also, he pretty much never quoted anybody else, or cited other people’s  ideas.

I wonder if the world wouldn’t be a very different place if Fuller had been a better writer.  Or, if it would make any difference at all.  Maybe just not enough people are good readers.

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