Fuller arrived at this concept in 1922 (see Reader, p.16) and devotes a chapter to it in Nine Chains. The term denotes:
"the principle of doing ever more with ever less weight, time and energy per each given level of functional performance". (Synergetics 2, 792.52)
Critical Path (p.232) defines it as:
"the invisible chemical, metallurgical, and electronic production of ever-more-efficient and satisfyingly effective performance with the investment of ever-less weight and volume of materials per unit function formed or performed".
Ephemeralization is a fruit of synergy. (N.B., it has nothing to do with the production of ephemera, as Pawley (p.174) imagines: in one sentence this author manages to misconstrue both of the above key concepts.)
It is an important principle for Fuller because of his concern with performance and resources. Ephemeralization also underlies Fuller's conception of Change Curves, which form a part of his discussions of history.
Computers are obvious exemplifications of ephemeralization. Today's pocketful of computing power was a roomful not long ago. The extreme case of all this is that of Quantum Devices.
THE FULLER MAP
© Paul Taylor 2001