Bucky suffered greatly early in his long life.
His daughter died of spinal meningitis before her fourth birthday.
He lost his job after his second daughter was born and couldn’t support his family.
One day during this difficult period, he walked along the shores of Lake Michigan, deep in thought. He considered drowning himself so his family could collect the life insurance.
Bucky later spoke of this incident often.
He described being suspended several feet above the ground, enclosed in a sphere of white light. A booming voice told him he didn’t have the right to take his life, because he belonged not to himself but to “Universe.”
(When speaking of “Universe,” Bucky omitted the word “the.”)
His life’s purpose and direction changed forever.
From that moment, he embarked on what he called “an experiment to find what a single individual could contribute to changing the world and benefiting all of humanity.”
He described this as his transformation into “Guinea Pig B,” an identity he lived for the next 56 years of his life.
He stopped working for money.
He devoted his intellect and energy to solving Earth’s biggest challenges.
He endeavored to “make the world work for 100% of humanity”—to ensure that everyone had sufficient food, shelter and energy and lived in peace.
(He believed we should focus on creating “livingry” instead of weaponry.)
While we might never make the kind of contributions Bucky did to fields like architecture, systems theory, design, philosophy and mechanical invention, the things we do matter.
Bucky knew this.
When he died, he had the words “Call Me Trimtab” engraved on his tombstone.
A trimtab, the tiny flap on a ship’s rudder or an airplane’s wing, ultimately has the effect of altering the course of the much bigger vehicle.
Bucky believed that anyone could be a trimtab for all of existence simply by exerting the subtlest of pressure in just the right place.
Being of service, even in seemingly small ways, can yield significant outcomes for all of humanity.
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