May 4th, 2012
Call me Trimtab

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trimtab.
It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trimtab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.
So I said, call me Trimtab.
-Buckminster Fuller

May 4 2012
5:05 pm
Karen writes:

just last week I was standing in Mt. Auburn cemetery in Cambridge MA, and stumbled upon Buckminster Fuller’s grave – which reads “call me Trimtab” and I wondered what the heck it meant, and fully intended to go home and look it up, but forgot. and now a few days later your post pops up in my news feed. I love when stuff like that happens. and I love what “call me Trimtab” means even more.

May 5 2012
6:20 am
Sean Shimmel writes:

And meet Trimtab’s cousins, those little guys that make such big things happen:

1. Grain of sand (find her in an oyster… or an eye)

2. Paper cut

3. Splinter

May 6 2012
6:24 am
folkscallmejonny writes:

thanks, Sean. Didn’t Leonardo (not the Teenage Mutant Turtle – the other one) say something along the lines of being able to move the world, if you have a lever long enough and somewhere to stand . If we’re stuck in a creative rut we don’t have to change what we are doing, we could try changing the context.

May 6 2012
9:41 pm
mollie writes:

Jonny. (and Keri of course) My dad always quoted Archimedes: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Makes me laugh actually, because he’s a 68 year old car mechanic who has always moved and lifted engines by himself… he also says he embraces the Green Movement because he “repurposes” vintage vehicles. Thoughts?

May 7 2012
3:29 am
folkscallmejonny writes:

Mollie, you’re right. It was Archimedes not Leonardo. The point is that you need both the lever (creativity) and the place (context). Your Dad sounds great. I’m sure his vehicles reflect all the time and care he puts into them, so he not only “walks his talk” but drives it as well.

May 8 2012
10:45 am
Elizabeth writes:

Ah, yes, one of my favorites.

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