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View other events for the week of 10/28/2014
The Emerging Holistic Worldview of Complex Systems
Date Tuesday October 28
Time 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Location Details
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
uptown Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway
Event Type Meeting
EmailHumanistHall [at]


with David Oertel

We will revisit complex systems. I must say at the outset that the Earth is a complex system, a hella complex system! I will do my best to answer the following questions about complex systems: to begin with, what IS a complex system? What are some common examples? System science, the science of complex systems, is headed to supersede classical science. What is the classical Cartesian worldview of mechanistic reductionism and how does that contrast with the modern view of holistic complex systems? How does mechanistic reductionism fail — why do we need a new scientific, holistic worldview?

To understand how complex systems work, we need to follow energy flows through the systems. This brings us to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, a reformulation of classical thermodynamics, which describes the modern concept of dissipative systems. What is a dissipative system? Dissipative systems reconcile the paradox of the formation of life with the second law of thermodynamics. In other words, the modern conception of thermodynamics — non-equilibrium thermodynamics — allows for both entropy and life to coexist. The formation of life actually preserves the second law of thermodynamics and defeats the progression of matter toward high entropy (disorder). New entities and new living beings are always emerging, while adhering to the second law of therodynamics, which states that matter disintegrates over time! What is emergence? How is this possible? There is much to discuss!

I will be drawing material from Fritjof Capra’s book, The Systems View of Life, A Unifying Vision, and Dorion Sagan’s book, “Into the Cool.” Join us and participate in discussions of the holistic complex systems worldview!

"The Systems View of Life"
by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

"Into the Cool"
by Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan

Humanist Hall is wheelchair accessible around the corner at 411 28th Street

$5 donations are requested

Added to the calendar on Monday Oct 20th, 2014 12:16 AM
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