"Synergetics is the system of holistic thinking which R. Buckminster Fuller introduced and began to formulate. Synergetics is multi-faceted: it involves geometric modeling, exploring inter-relationships in the facts of experience and the process of thinking. Synergetics endeavors to identify and understand the methods that Nature actually uses in coordinating Universe (both physically and metaphysically). Synergetics provides a method and a philosophy for problem-solving and design and therefore has applications in all areas of human endeavor."


  • 101.01 Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately.
  • 102.00 Synergy means behavior of integral, aggregate, whole systems unpredicted by behaviors of any of their components or subassemblies of their components taken separately from the whole.
  • 962.40 Synergetic geometry embraces all the qualities of experience, all aspects of being.

- R. Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics

"Synergetics, in the broadest terms, is the study of spatial complexity, and as such is an inherently comprehensive discipline. ... Experience with synergetics encourages a new way of approaching and solving problems. Its emphasis on visual and spatial phenomena combined with Fuller's holistic approach fosters the kind of lateral thinking which so often leads to creative breakthroughs."

- Amy Edmondson, A Fuller Explanation, 1987

E.J Applewhite on Synergetics

The following is excerpted from a past issue of BFI's newsletter, Trimtab.

In his efforts to clarify the meaning and importance of synergetics , E.J. Applewhite Jr. stands second to none - except, of course, Bucky himself.

Tensegrity - The Geometry of Thinking
Exhibition Catalog, Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, 1976

In 1976 Johnson Wax sponsored a comprehensive and visually stimulating exhibit on concepts behind synergetics at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. Bucky's own thoughts on the importance of synergetics were presented in the Exhibit Brochure.

Other Resources

Synergetics 1 and 2

Synergetics, according to E. J. Applewhite, was Fuller's name for the geometry he advanced based on the patterns of energy that he saw in nature. For Fuller, geometry was a laboratory science with the touch and feel of physical models--not rules out of a textbook. It gains its validity not from classic abstractions but from the results of individual physical experience.

Portfolio and Art News Annual, No. 4, 1961
Synergetics Dictionary: The Mind of Buckminster Fuller
Compiled and Edited by E.J. Applewhite
A Fuller Explanation
Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson clarifies Buckminster Fuller's synergetic geometry in conventional language and mathematics and illuminates his effort to employ synergetics as a strategy for human survival. Updated author Preface and new Foreword by J. Baldwin.

A Practical Guide to Tensegrity Design
Robert William Burkhardt Jr.