There exists a realizable, evolutionary alternative to our being either atom-bombed into extinction or crowding ourselves off the planet.
The alternative is the computer-persuadable veering of big business from its weaponry fixation to accommodation of all humanity at an aerospace level of technology, with the vastly larger, far more enduringly profitable for all, entirely new World Livingry Service Industry.
It is statistically evident that the more advanced the living standard, the lower the birth rate.
It is essential that anyone reading this book know at the outset that the author is apolitical.
I was convinced in 1927 that humanity’s most fundamental survival problems could never be solved by politics.
Nineteen twentyseven was the year when a human first flew alone across an ocean in one day.
(In 1944, the DC-4 started flying secret war-ferryings across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In 1961, jet airliners put the ocean passenger ships out of business. In 1981, the world-around airlines flew over a billion and a half scheduled passenger miles and carried hundreds of millions of ton-miles of freight.)
This was the obvious beginning of the swift integration of all humanity, groups of whose members for all their previous millions of years on planet Earth had been so remotely deployed from one another that they existed as separate nations with ways of life approximately unknown to one another.
It was obvious that the integration would require enormous amounts of energy.
It was obvious that the fossil fuels were exhaustible.
It was obvious that a minority of selfish humans would organize themselves to exploit the majority’s transitional dilemmas.
I was convinced that within the twentieth century, all of humanity on our planet would enter a period of total crisis.
I could see that there was an alternative to politics and its ever more wasteful, warring, and inherently vain attempts to solve one-sidedly all humanity’s basic economic and social problems.
That alternative was through invention, development, and reduction to the physically working stages of massproduction prototypes of each member of a complete family of intercomplementary artifacts, structurally, mechanically, chemically, metallurgically, electromagnetically, and cybernetically designed to provide so much performance per each erg of energy, pound of material, and second of time invested as to make it eminently feasible and practicable to provide a sustainable standard of living for all humanity—more advanced, pleasing, and increasingly productive than any ever experienced or dreamed of by anyone in all history.
It was clear that this advanced level could be entirely sustained by the many derivatives of our daily income of Sun energy.
It was clear that it could be attained and maintained by artifacts that would emancipate humans from piped, wired, and metered exploitation of the many by the few.
This family of artifacts leading to such comprehensive human success I identified as livingry in contradistinction to politics’ weaponry.
I called it technologically reforming the environment instead of trying politically to reform the people. (I explain that concept in great detail in the latter part of this book. I also elucidated it in my book Critical Path, published in 1981 by St. Martin’s Press.)
我称其为通过技术进行环境改革，而不是试图在政治上改革人民。(我在本书的后半部分详细解释了这个概念。我也在圣马丁出版社(St. Martin’s Press) 1981年出版的《关键路径》(Critical Path)一书中对此进行了阐述。)
Equally important, I set about fifty-five years ago (1927) to see what a penniless, unknown human individual with a dependent wife and newborn child might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity in realistically developing such an alternative program.
Being human, I made all the mistakes there were to be made, but I learned to learn by realistic recognition of theconstituent facts of the mistake-making and attempted to understand what the uncovered truths were trying to teach me.
Very frequently I hear or read of my artifacts adjudged by critics as being “failures,” because I did not get them into mass-production and “make money with them.” Such money-making-ascriteria-of-success critics do not realize that money-making was never my goal.
I learned very early and painfully that you have to decide at the outset whether you are trying to make money or to make sense, as they are mutually exclusive.
I saw that nature has various categories of unique gestation lags between conception of something and its birth.
In humans, conception to birth is nine months. In electronics, it is two years between inventive conception and industrialized production.
In aeronautics, it is five years between invention and operating use. In automobiles, it is ten years between conception and mass-production. In railroading, the gestation is fifteen years. In big-city skyscraper construction, the gestational lag is twenty-five years. For instance, it was twenty-five years between the accidental falling of a steel bar into fresh cement and the practical use of steel-reinforced concrete in major buildings. Dependent on the size and situation, the period of gestation in the single-family residences varies between fifty and seventy-five years.
Because of these lags, the earlier I could introduce the conception model, the earlier its birth could take place. I assumed that the birth into everyday life of the livingry artifacts whose working conceptual prototypes I was producing would be governed by those respective-category gestation lags. I assumed my livingry inventions’ progressive adoptions by society would occur only in emergencies. I called this “emergence through emergency.” For all of humanity to begin to break away from its conditioned reflexes regarding living facilities (home customs and styles), allowing them to be advantaged by my livingry artifacts, would take at minimum a half century to get underway. Since this was clearly a half-to-three-quartersof-a-century undertaking, I saw at the outset that I best not attempt it if I was not content to go along with nature’s laws.
My first publication was in 1927, a bound, mimeographed book entitled 4-D, standing for “fourth dimension.” I put on the cover, “Two billion new homes will be required by humanity in the next eighty years.” Five years after I undertook the program in 1927, Fortune magazine in July 1932 featured my Dymaxion House in an article written by Archibald MacLeish on “The Industry Industry Missed: The Mass-Production Housing Industry.” They were not aware of the complexity of the development. They had not discovered the different gestation rates of industrial evolution’s diverse product categories. Fortune described clearly what had happened, but Fortune’s writers were completely unschooled in dealing with that which had not yet happened.
我的第一次出版是在1927年，一本装帧油印的书，题目是4-D，意思是“第四维空间”。我在封面上写着:“在未来的80年里，人类将需要20亿个新家园。”1927年，我开始做这个项目。五年后，1932年7月，《财富》杂志在一篇由阿奇博德·麦克利什撰写的题为《工业错过:大规模生产住宅工业》的文章中刊登了我的 Dymaxion 住宅。他们没有意识到事态发展的复杂性。他们没有发现工业演进的不同产品类别的不同建设周期。《财富》杂志清楚地描述了已经发生的事情，但《财富》的编辑们在处理尚未发生的事情方面完全没有受过教育。
undertook：to do or begin to do something, especially something that will take a longtime or be difficult（开始）做，承担，从事（尤指耗时或困难之事）
My 1927 Dymaxion House had excited many into trying to make money by being the first in the massproduction house industry, not knowing it would take a completely new prototype and a halfcentury before across-the-board evolution was ready for it.
我在1927年发明的 Dymaxion House 让许多人兴奋不已，他们试图成为大规模生产住宅行业的第一个吃螃蟹的人来赚钱，但他们并不知道这需要一个全新的原型，也不知道需要半个世纪的时间才能实现。
A group of prominent industrialists led by one of my young fans had incorporated “General Houses,” and that was all it took to get Fortune excited.
Thirteen years later, in 1945, Fortune again featured my scientific dwelling—the Fuller House prototype—only one of which I had produced, for the United States Air Force in Beech Aircraft’s Wichita, Kansas, plant.
13年后的1945年，《财富》杂志再次刊登了我的科学住宅——Fuller House 的原型——其中只有一个是我生产的，为美国空军在堪萨斯州威奇托的 Beech 飞机工厂生产。
Fortune and many others were sure that this was to be an immediate mass-production success and, more importantly to them, a “money-maker.”
《财富》杂志和其他许多人确信，它将立即大规模生产，更重要的是，Fuller House 能帮他们赚钱。