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Amy C. Edmondson
A Fuller Explanation
Chapter 14, Cosmic Railroad Tracks: Great Circles
pages 228 through 229

Great-Circle Railroad Tracks of Energy

Chapter 8 examined the closest packing of spheres. The next question in Fuller's investigation is how "energy" will navigate through these clusters. The idea that closepacked spheres present a sort of conceptual model of physical Universe is at the root of Fuller's great-circle studies. As a space-filling array of discrete systems, whose omnisymmetrical qualities recommend them as a general representation of eternally spinning energy-event systems, close-packed spheres do provide a tantalizing model. Chapter 8 described the closest packing, which places every sphere in contact with twelve others, and this chapter mapped out the complete network of shortest-distance paths around a spherical system described by these twelve contact points. The "cosmic railroad tracks" thus described were the 25 great circles of the VE:

      The 12 points of tangency of unit-radius spheres in closest packing, such as is employed by any given chenucal element, are important because energies traveling over the surface of spheres must follow the most economical spherical surface routes, which are inherently great circle routes, and in order to travel over a series of spheres, they could pass from one sphere to another only at the 12 points of tangency of any one sphere with its closest-packed neighboring uniform-radius sphere." (452.01)

In an effort to describe a symbolic model of atomic and molecular activity, Fuller allows the omnisymmetrical (or perhaps "omni-spin-nable" is more appropriate) form of spheres to represent atoms and explains that energy, or charge, can only travel from system to system through points of tangency. (Fuller is also quick to point out that tangency is actually "extremely close proximity", for in physical reality nothing "touches.") Energy is thus found either in finite local circuits (bowties) on one system, or jumping over to a neighboring system through VE vertices:

      These four great-circle sets of the vector equilibrium [i.e. sets of 3, 4, 6, and 12] demonstrate all the shortest, most economical railroad "routes" between all the points in Universe, traveling either convexly or concavely. The physical-energy travel patterns can either follow the great-circle routes from sphere to sphere or go around in local holding patterns of figure eights on one sphere. Either is permitted and accommodated." (455.05)

These "universal railroad tracks" are specifically along the 25 great circles because of the relationship of vector equilibrium to the cosmically significant closepacked spheres.

Icosahedron as Local Shunting Circuit

"The vector equilibrium railroad tracks are trans-Universe, but the icosahedron is a locally operative system" (458.12). This distinction, introduced by the jitterbug transformation, has particular significance in Fuller's great-circle theories. The VE is integral to our space-filling network of equivalent vectors; however, once the VE contracts into the icosahedron with its slightly shorter radius, it is disconnected from that universal IVM network. It loses its contacts. "Energy" is free to travel endlessly throughout the railroad tracks of Universe, sliding from sphere to sphere along the economic great-circle paths, until it runs into an icosahedron. The icosahedral 31 great circles are not "trans-Universe" lines of supply; their function is to disconnect energy from the closest-packing railroad tracks and direct it into local orbits. The icosahedron throws the switch:

      The icosahedron's function in Universe may be to throw the switch of cosmic energy into a local shunting circuit. In the icosahedron energy gets itself locked up even more by the six great circles-which may explain why electrons are borrowable and independent of the proton-neutron group. 458.11

Fuller suggests that there might be a meaningful connection between the icosahedron and the electron, because the tiny negative charge is readily transferred from atom to atom in molecules and crystals. The icosahedron's independent role, in Fuller's view, "shunting" energy into local circuits (that is, able to disconnect energy charges from a bigger matrix) is suggestive of the electron's role:

      458.05 The energy charge of the electron is easy to discharge from the surfaces of systems. Our 25 great circles could lock up a whole lot of energy to be discharged. The spark could jump over at this point... . If we assume that the vertexes are points of discharge, then we see how the six great circles of the icosahedron-which never get near its own vertexes-may represent the way the residual charge will always remain bold on the surface of the icosahedron.

Lacking contact points, the icosahedron is a free-floating unit in Universe; so is the electron. The suggestion of a relationship remains just that, a tantalizing parallel, seeds perhaps of future investigation, but certainly among Fuller's more abstruse parallels.

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