Tensegrityis the pattern that results when push and pull have a win-win relationship
with each other. The pull is continuousand the push is discontinuous. The continuous
pullis balancedby the discontinuous pushproducing an integrity of tension –
think little of these forces. Most of us assume they are simple opposites. In and out. Back
and forth. Force directed in one direction or its opposite.
that could always be found together. He further explained that pushis divergentwhile
pull is convergent.
pencil. The ball would always roll away from the direction of the push, first rolling one
way then the other. Push is divergent.Now imagine the difference, if you attach a string
to the ping pong ball with tape, and pull it toward you. No matter how other forces might
influence the ball to roll away from you, the string would always bring it to you more and
more directly. Pull is convergent.
car. When I am driving uphill, I am pulling against gravity. The trailer converges nicely
behind my car. If the trailer begins to sway, I can dampen it by increasing pull– simply
increasing my acceleration. Now if I am driving downhill, the trailer may begin to push.
This produces a strong side to side force – divergence. My trailer will begin to sway from
side to side. Push is divergent. When the trailer begins to push us, experts advise us to
accelerate our car in order to re-establish pull. Pull is convergent. The trailer will
straighten out and we can congratulate ourselves for being good drivers. These then are
the two always co-existing fundamentals of Universe– Push and Pull – Compression and
Tension – Repulsion and Attraction.
A more common example of atensegrityis a child's balloon. When we examine an inflated
balloon as a system, we find that the rubber skin of the balloon continuously pullswhile
the individual molecules of air are discontinuously pushingagainst the inside of the
balloon keeping it inflated. All external forces striking the external surface are
immediately and continuously distributed over the entire system. This makes the balloon
very strong. We all know how hard it is to break a good balloon with a blunt blow.
against the continuously
pulling rubber skin of the
continuous pull and
humankind. And few of us are aware that it is a tensegrity. It is the power of tensegrity in
each tire that protects us from failure and blowout despite high speeds and long miles.
balanced by discontinuous push. When these two forces are in balance a stabilized
system results that is maximallystrong. The larger the system the stronger the system.
geodesic domes are themselves tensegrities:
compression and omnicontinuous tension. Tensegrity is a contraction of tensional
tension-islanded compression differentiations are visible to the observer or
not.Tensegrity geodesic spheres do what they do because they have the
properties of hydraulically or pneumatically inflated structures."2
tensegrity the stronger it is. Theoretically there is no limitation to the size of a tensegrity.
Cities could be covered with geodesic domes
materials and the degree of our technologies. As Harvard physician and scientist Donald
Snelson's sculptures – map out the shortest paths between adjacent members (and
are therefore, by definition, arranged geodesically) Tensional forces naturally
transmit themselves over the shortest distance between two points, so the
members of a tensegrity structure are precisely positioned to best withstand
stress. For this reason, tensegrity structures offer a maximum amount of strength
New York, Macmillan Publishing Co, 1975, 1979
My own search for tensegrities began in 1980. As a trained physician, my attention first
turned to the human body.
skeletal systemis atensegrityof muscle and bone, the muscle provides continuous pull,
the bonesdiscontinuous push.The forces between the bones and muscles are held in
constant balance. This forms the basis for all of our physical mobility.
tensegrity of sensory neurons and motor neurons. The sensory neurons always sensing
information – continuously pullingand the motor neurons only occasionally involved in
some motor action – discontinuously pushing.
However, my focus was above the cellular level. I wanted to understand how individual
organisms related to each other and again I expected that the concept of tensegrity would
help us understand.
and Humans as Energy-binders, Space-binders, and Time-binders. (Read Korzybski's
continuous pullingas they collect solar energy from the sky, but with the rotation of the
earth and changes in the weather the sun only discontinuously pushesits radiation on to
two roles either as prey or as predator. The prey animals are continuous pulling
predators to them. While the predators are only occasionally hungry. They
discontinuously pushout seeking the occasional kill. Prey and predator must be in
balance to stabilize the ecosystem. The larger the ecosystem the more stable it is.
Female and Male operate as a tensegrity. The femalewas continuouslymaking herself
attractiveto pull on her male, but the malewas only occasionally interested and
discontinually pushingtowards her for attention.
through education. The two roles of humans can then be seen to be Student and Teacher. I
am continuously learning – continuously pullingin new information, but I am only
occasionally teaching – discontinuously pushingout information to someone else.
other, we can see that:
ignoreeach other and form no tensegrity.
form an adversary tensegritywhere the prey is continuously at risk of being hurtand the
predator is discontinuously hurting other.
We can form a synergic tensegritywhere we are continuously being helpedand