Nate Hagens just released a new video course titled “Reality 101” that he produced for honors freshman at the University of Minnesota where he teaches.
The course is backed by 15 years of research by Nate into our overshoot predicament created by the interaction of human behavior, energy, economy, and ecology, and distills his 45 hour university course of the same name into 4 hours of video.
I’ve followed Nate for many years and have posted some of his work here. Nate is a rare multidisciplinary dot connector, and has one of the best big picture understandings of our predicament.
Nate differs from others doing similar research in that he retains hope and offers positive advice to young people for how they might help make the future a more desirable place to live.
I suspect this new video course will become a go-to resource for people seeking enlightenment on vitally important topics that are usually ignored, and when occasionally broached, are almost always misunderstood or denied by most educators, leaders, and news sources.
Nate’s Facebook announcement of the video course:
I’ll be putting the entire Reality 101 course content (two 500 page books co-written w DJ White plus related content and videos) online for free this spring. In the meantime, the Honors Program at U of Minnesota asked for a ‘hologram’ of that material that could be watched in 4-5 hours (instead of ~150 hours of the course) for the Nexus One experience for all freshmen. They’ll watch this in 3 pieces: 1) Brain/behavior 2) Energy/economy and 3) Ecology/Earth systems/what to do/how to live during these times. The Energy videos (link below) are ‘finished’ (with a bunch of small errors to fix when I get time), The 12 videos are 1 hour 45 minutes total – as usual both too long for most peoples attn spans but too short to really get into some important nuances. Our culture is energy blind. This new choreography outlines the story of humans, growth, energy and the future in the most comprehensive way I could envision for a short(ish) summary. (thanks to Katie Fischer and Keegan L Robinson for tireless help and suggestions and to Katie for doing great work on the tech side)
Reality 101 full course description:
How is the economy like a hurricane? Where does money come from? Will economic growth last forever? What is wealth? How many hours would it take you to generate the same amount of energy in a gallon of gasoline? Why are you so confident in your own beliefs? Why do you spend so much time on social media? Why do we want “more” than our neighbors? What do all of these questions have to do with the environment? With your future? And what if our most popular societal beliefs about these issues turn out to be myths?
Reality 101 will delve into these questions and unify them as they apply to the major challenges humanity faces this century, among them: slow economic growth, poverty, inequality, addiction, pollution, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, and war. The seminar will provide students with broad exposure to the foundational principles central to addressing these interrelated issues. The readings and lectures will cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole. Such a systems overview is necessary to view the opportunities and constraints relevant to our future from a realistic starting point. Though the hard science relating to sustainability will be surveyed, few answers will be presented and it is hoped that creativity and group dialogue will lead to emergent ideas on how these big themes fit together. While the class material is daunting and intense (reflecting our world situation), the course itself will be enlightening and deeply informative, with an open, engaging, and entertaining class atmosphere.
Dr. Nathan John Hagens worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers and closed his own hedge fund in 2003 to pursue interdisciplinary knowledge about the bigger picture of modern society. Nate was the lead editor of the online web portal theoildrum.com, and is currently President of the Bottleneck Foundation and on the Boards of the Post Carbon Institute, Institute for Energy and Our Future, and IIER.
Section 1 – Brain & Behavior
Click here to play all 10 parts in sequence.
Part 1: Evolution, Natural Selection, and the Agenda of the Gene
Part 2: Sexual Selection and Social Status
Part 3: Dopamine, Supernormal Stimuli and Consumerism, Part 1
Part 4: Dopamine, Supernormal Stimuli and Consumerism, Part 2
Part 5: Our Social Natures, Part 1 (Groups and Tribes)
Part 6: Our Social Natures, Part 2 (The Superorganism and Culture)
Part 7: Self-Blindness, Part 1 (Cognitive Biases)
Part 8: Self-Blindness, Part 2 (Cognitive Biases)
Part 9: Time Biases
Part 10: From Self Blindness to Self Awareness
Section 2 – Energy & Economy
Click here to play all 16 parts in sequence.
Part 1: Energy Blindness
Part 2: Energy Surplus
3 – Energy Benefits
Part 4: Energy Scale
Part 5: Energy Impacts
Part 6: Energy Primacy, Part 1
Part 7: Energy Primacy, Part 2
Part 8: Energy Primacy, Part 3
Part 9: Energy Primacy, Part 4
Part 10: Energy Primacy, Part 5
Part 11: Energy Remoteness
Part 12: Energy Depletion
Part 13: Energy Fungibility
Part 14: Energy Transitions
Part 15: Energy and Happiness
Part 16: Energy and Our Future
Section 3 – The Big Picture
Click here to play all 8 parts in sequence.
Part 1: Intro
Part 2: Ecology and Systems
Part 3: Externalities, Part 1: Intro
Part 4: Externalities, Part 2: Heating and Oceans
Part 5: Externalities, Part 3: The Web of Life
Part 6: The Superorganism (short version)
Part 7: 8 Great Questions for our Time
Part 8: What to Do? (short list)