Complexity 101

Beginning in April in Dexter Maine!

Complexity (Systems) 101 is the first of five introductory courses, collectively called Earth 101, the portal to Ermah Ge’s Earth Studies Program.

Complexity 101 is Ermah Ge’s flagship introductory course.  Alder Stone has taught some version of it many times since 2001.  We are now in the process of making it available as an online course, based on videos of each lesson, with optional Q&A/discussion available by email and Ermah Ge’s online learning community forum, which will be unveiled later in summer.

Topics of the course:

  • science as a way of knowing
  • two competing scientific paradigms (mechanism v complexity)
  • networks and systems, & the importance of links
  • attractors (system states), critical thresholds (tipping points) and phase transitions
  • self-organization science (aka non-equilibrium thermodynamics, or NET)
  • emergence theory (“the whole is greater than a sum of its parts”)
  • nonlinearity: order, chaos, edge of chaos, fractals & power laws (characteristics of edge of chaos)
  • Stephen Wolfram’s computational systems

A short summary of these concepts can be found in this essay by Alder Stone.