Inpired by the Laser theory and founded by Hermann Haken and Arne Wunderlin, Synergetics is an interdisciplinary science explaining the formation and self-organization of patterns and structures in 'open' systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Self-organization requires a 'macroscopic' system, consisting of many nonlinearly interacting subsystems. Depending on the external control parameters (environment, energy-fluxes) self-organization takes place. Essential in Synergetics is the order-parameter concept which was originally introduced in the Ginzburg-Landau theory in order to describe phase-transitions in thermodynamics.
The order parameter concept is generalized by Haken to the 'enslaving-principle' saying that the dynamics of fast-relaxing (stable) modes is completely determined by the 'slow' dynamics of as a rule only a few 'order-parameters' (unstable modes). The order parameters can be interpreted as the amplitudes of the unstable modes determining the macroscopic pattern. As a consequence, self-organization means an enormous reduction of degrees of freedom (entropy) of the system which macroscopically reveals as increase of 'order' (pattern-formation). This far-reaching macroscopic order is independent on the details of the microscopic interactions of the subsystems. This is why Synergetics explains the self-organization of patterns in so many different systems in physics, chemistry, biology and even social systems.