Site updates

  • Ermah Ge in 2015 : blog post coming soon …
  • 10.01.14 (updated 12.18.14: New blog post: Nature, Earth & Life:
    A Lecture Series at Lincoln Street Center, Rockland ME

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“The only certain thing about this coming century is it’s immense uncertainty. The great temptation of our time will be the impulse to flee from this uncertainty.  Given the black-and-white propensity of Western minds, it will take conscious effort to resist taking refuge either in despair – in the conviction that ‘it’s too late’ – or in the alternative, to bask in groundless, sunny optimism that ‘we’ll figure out something, because science always does.’  I have heard a great deal said about the importance of hope as the human prospect has grown darker, but hope will sustain us only if it is clear-eyed.  In reflecting about cultural traps that have made past societies incapable of meeting the challenge of changing  circumstances, the anthropologist Paul Bohannan asks, ‘Have they at least figured out some of the things they should not do? Or are they running on blind hope?  That kind of hope kills.’  I don’t think we have figured it out.   I fear blind hope as much as despair … In times of danger, bitter truths serve us better than sweet lies.”

– Diane Dumanoski  - The End of the Long Summer :
Why We Must Remake Civilization to Live on a Volatile Earth

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“What, in this situation, needs to be done first?  This is a question about priorities.  And the key to it is perhaps clearest in the image that I used earlier of an ocean liner which is beginning to sink – only (as we explain) not at our end…. Of course it is understandable that we do not see the planetary danger.  Other, more immediate evils constantly demand our attention.  Conditions on the terrestrial ship are bad in a thousand ways and endless things need to be done about them.  But if the ship sinks, curing those evils will not be much help.  The message is not that we should value the health of the earth above human needs.  It is that these are not alternatives.  Without a healthy earth, humans cannot survive anyway.”

– Mary Midgley, Gaia: The Next Big Idea

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Introduction

This site – which includes evolving pages and a blog – describes the educational program developed by Alder Stone and his educational collective, Ermah Ge, about system or complexity sciences, including Earth System Science or geophysiology.

The complexity sciences are a set of principles offering a deep understanding of complex, dynamical networks or systems on scales from molecular and cellular to organisms and societies to Earth’s metabolism and homeostasis, what some – notably James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Dianne Dumanoski and Mary Midgley – call Gaia.

This site is about science, not religion nor new age mysticism.  Yet these are not the ‘mechanistic’ sciences of the last 300 years that portrayed nature as a ‘machine’ to be controlled for human benefit.  Instead, they are new sciences that have emerged via the work of leading scientists, including Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium thermodynamics, Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry, Edward Lorenz’s butterfly effects, Stephen Wolfram’s new kind of science, theories of emergence and autopoiesis, Lynn Margulis’s symbiogenesis, and James Lovelock’s Gaia theory.   They offer simple yet elegant and awe-inspiring insights into nature, Earth and life.

These are writings to help you understand these concepts, and to begin to replace our outdated mechanistic world views with new ones grounded in the complexity sciences.

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