May 6th, 2008

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.”

Archimedes (287-212 BC)

There are three types of humans to be found in our present world. Which type you are depends on what you believe about how the world works.

Adversaries believe there is not enough for everyone and only the physically strong will survive. They believe humans are coercively dependent on others, and they best understand the language of force.

Neutralists believe there is enough for everyone, if only you work hard enough and take care of yourself. They believe humans are financially  independent and should be self-sufficient unless they are too lazy or defective. They best understand the language of money.

A new type of human is emerging called synergists. Synergists believe there is enough for everyone, but only if we work together and act responsibly. They believe humans are interdependent and can only obtain sufficiency by working together as community. Synergists best understand the language of love.

But, to be successful in our present world, the synergist must understand all three languages and know when to use them. Synergists must sometimes use the language of force, and sometimes the language of money, it depends on whom they are talking to. However, when synergists are seeking allieswhen synergists are seeking to build communitythey must speak the language of love.

Synergists are trying to heal the wounds inflected by those who don’t understand how the world could work. This then is the essential challenge to the synergists.

Can we work together and act responsibly in time to save our ourselves on this planet ?

Not without tools!


Timothy Wilken, MD

When I began searching for a better way for humankind, I new we would have to learn to do things in a different way. My goal was to find a safe path that humankind could follow to move from our adversary-neutral past to a synergic future.

I called this path SafePassage. This word was important to me and I even used it as the original title for my books on Synergic Science.  Before moving on it is important that the reader understand what is meant by synergic science. If you already understand this, skip down to the next section.

What is Synergic Science ?

Some of you may be familar with the term synergy. Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation—laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately.

R. Buckminster Fuller was a pioneer of synergic science —the science of working together— the science of whole systems, he considered the relationships between the parts that make up a system. He discovered that it is how these parts relate with one another that will absolutely determine the success of the whole system.

The dictionary defines synergy as the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. A simple example might be two muscles working together or two medications combined to treat a medical illness. R. Buckminster Fuller writing in 1975 explained it this way:

Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. 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. Synergy is the only word that means this. The fact that we humans are unfamiliar with the word means that we do not think there are behaviors of “wholes” unpredicted by the behavior of “parts”.

Synergy can best be illustrated I think, by chrome-nickel-steel — chromium, nickel, and iron. The most important characteristic of strength of a material is its ability to stay in one piece when it is pulled — this is called tensile strength, it is measured as pounds per square inch, PSI. The commercially available strength of iron at the very highest level is approximately sixty thousand PSI; of chromium about seventy thousand PSI; and of nickel about eighty thousand PSI. The weakest of the three is iron.

We all know the saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Well, experiment on chrome-nickel-steel, pull it apart, and you will find that it is much stronger than its weakest link of sixty thousand PSI. In fact it is much stronger than the eighty thousand PSI of its stronger link. Thus the saying that a chain is as strong as its weakest link doesn’t hold. So, let me say something that really sounds funny: Maybe a chain is as strong as the sum of the strength of all its links. Let’s add up the strengths of the components of chrome-nickel-steel and see. Sixty thousand PSI for iron and seventy thousand PSI for chromium and then and eighty thousand PSI for the nickel, that gives you two hundred and ten thousand PSI. If we add in the minor constituency of carbon and manganese we will add another forty thousand PSI giving us a total of two hundred and fifty thousand PSI.

Now the fact is that under testing, chrome-nickel-steel shows three hundred and fifty thousand PSI—or one hundred thousand PSI more than the combined strength of all the links.

This is typical of synergy, and it is the synergy of the various metal alloys that have enabled industry to do all kinds of things that man never knew would be able to be done based on the characteristic of the parts.

Another Synergic Science pioneer Edward Haskell taught us that when we apply synergic science to examining our human relationships, we discover:

ïrelationships can be adversary where either I lose or you lose or we both lose,

ïrelationships can be neutral where we don’t lose, but neither do we win,

ïor, relationships can be synergic — good for both of us — WIN-WIN.

Synergic system analysis reveals that efficiency within a system is a direct variable of the type of relationship. Win-win relationships maximize efficiency. Win-lose or lose-win relationships severely limit efficiency. And the lose-lose relationship allows no possibility of efficiency.

We can be more working together than we can be working separately. And, much more working together than we can be working against each other. This is just common sense.

Human synergy is working together by explicit intent. (1+1)>>2

Human neutrality is working separately and ignoring each other. (1+1)=2

Human adversity is working against each other.(1+1)<2

R. Buckminster Fuller and Edward Haskell’s achievements were in understanding how whole systems are created in physical Universe. They discovered that Nature always forms whole systems using win-win relationships. This results in the sum of the whole system being much more than the sum of the parts making up the system.

Nature was always seeking more for less — always seeking maximum efficiency in all that she did. Fuller called the principle of seeking more for less the “dymaxion” way. This is of course simply another way of stating the Principle of Least Action.

As I began to master synergic science—the science of working together, I began to realize that SafePassage would come from getting evermore humans using synergic process. How could I do that? I knew that most humans are motivated by making a profit. If I could show them how they could be more successful by acting synergically rather than adversarily or neutrally, they might seek co-Operation.

Synergic Systems — the cooperator’s reward

The most dymaxion principles always occur within wholes. Wholes — made up of parts having win-win relationships with each other. It is the win-win relationship that produces a profit for all of the parts. This is why the sum of the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Edward Haskell’s term for this more is the cooperator’s reward.

I was interested in synergic relationships not with atoms or molecules, but with human beings. I knew there was no law of Nature preventing humans from forming win-win relationships. If we humans could learn to organize synergically, we would also gain access to the co-operator’s reward.

By applying win-win strategy to human organizations, it would be possible to to synergize an organization so that the sum of the whole organization is much more than the sum of the talents, abilities, & resources of the individuals making up the organization.

Adversary Systems — the conflictor’s loss

However, today’s human organizations are at best neutral systems with much internal adversary process, or at worse adversary systems. Adversary process is characterized by losing relationships between the individuals of the system.

Adversary process is by definition conflict — the struggle to avoid loss. Within an adversary system, the sum of the whole organization is much less than the sum of the talents, abilities, & resources of the individuals making up that system. Haskell called this much less — the conflictor’s loss.

Conflict and losing relationships severely limit efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life. If we humans desire more for less, we must learn to organize without conflict. If we desire to avoid the conflictor’s loss, we must learn to organize without “losing”relationships.

Nature has succeeded in removing the conflict from between the cells of our bodies., Can we learn to remove the conflict from between the individuals within our human organizations? Nature has learned to produce win-win relationships between the cells and tissues, between the organs and systems of organs that comprise the human body. Can we humans now learn to produce win-win relationships between the individuals and departments, between the units and divisions that comprise our organizations?

I believed the very future of our species depended on finding the way. I knew the ideal system would be synergic, but as to what particular form it would take I was not sure. Then I realized I needed to make some synergic tools.

Tool Users and Tool Makers

Humans have been using tools from the days of our earliest history. Many Anthropology and Evolutionary Scientists define human as the tool maker and tool user.

Archimedes is generally credited with the first scientific description of a tool. It was called the law of the lever.

Tools—Physical Levers

Tools are physical levers of human action. It is any device or mechanism that provides the user with leverage—any device or mechanism that leverages human action. We are all familar with physical tools.

Our homes are full of tools. We all have a tool drawer that has our screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, scissors, needles, tape, etc., etc., etc.. These are all tools. These are all levers of human action. If we look around our house we find appliances, televisions, stereos, radios, and computers. These are also tools—levers of human action. If we look in our garage, we find our more tools, power drills, crowbars, skill saws, air pumps, lawnmowers, and automobiles.

Knowing—Metaphysical Levers

Levers are not always physical—not always tangible. Levers can also be procedures, formulas, or kitchen recipes. These are metaphysical levers. Buckminster Fuller explained that some of our most powerful levers are metaphysical—that means they have no weight or substance. They are simply patterns of advantage. Another term for these metaphysical levers—these patterns of advantage are “knowing”.

One of the earliest and most important patterns of advantage was the “knowing” of the sequence for starting fire. When a group of early humans had a member who could start fire, they held an enormous survival advantage. Knowing the sequence one must use to build a table for your kitchen or make a gourmet meal for your family are examples of metaphysical levers. These are patterns of advantage.

Learning to read is learning to understand sequence. The meaning of written words depend on the sequence of their letters and that is just as true for numbers.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The meaning of written sentences depend on the sequence of the words.

The quick red fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Synergic Levers for SafePassage

I would need to develop synergic levers that humans could use to solve the real problems in their lives. The synergic process itself would be embedded within these levers.

Read the full description of ORTEGRITY

Also see GIFTegrity

Comments are closed.