The study of living things is essential for the comprehension of Spaceship Earth. Papanek (1971, p.176) sees biology as a rich source of ideas for design, and Fuller includes it in his Design Disciplines. For an excellent introduction to this field see Vogel.

Fuller calls energy intertransforming and exchanging "metabolics". The human organism is seen as an "interior and exterior metabolic system" (Critical Path, p.250), although he notes elsewhere that:

"The metabolic flow that passes through a man is not the man. He is an abstract pattern integrity that is sustained through all his physical changes and processing, a knot through which pass the swift strands of concurrent ecological cycles - recycling transformations of solar energy". (Synergetics 506.20)

More on metabolics can be found in these sources:

"The energy-conversion efficiency of human and animal metabolism is typically about 25 percent." (Tennekes, p.37)
"For many mammals the energy required for daily living is about double the basal metabolic energy requirement." (Golley, p.149)

The exterior metabolic system is in the domain of Mechanical Extensions and Ecology. Since the metabolic systems on Spaceship Earth all require energy, there also arises the question of resources.

Boyden (p.5) uses the terms, bio- and technometabolism.




Paul Taylor 2001