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Survival of the fittest at wikipedia

The survival of the best and its distribution is the key to survival of business, of species and of ideas. What are the underlying principles that determine how new things are generated, how they are selected and how they are amplified? These ideas have been explored by Adam Smith, Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin, in the form of business and living things but now we are in an era of information where the Google search is based on similar concepts and of Wikis of which Wikipedia is currently the most prominent. How do business actions and intellectual materials combine in a way that  simulates sexual interactions in biological systems that broaden their offspring’s potential responses? If we look at the underlying principles perhaps other things can be found which will be amenable to the same evolutionary analysis. Some other things are probably already so controlled and just not yet identified as such or defined in such a way. But if such processes are identified a better understanding would result and more rapid improvements of adaptation to their respective environments would ensue.

If something works it gets done. There is rigidity in the working system that develops when something works and there is repetition of that process. There is inevitable error in how it is done; sometimes the error works better and that new way, originally based on error, becomes the new standard. This new way of operating conflicts with the old way; there is repression by the existing powers for a while until new beings not based on the not so successful old ways die out.

Examples of things which might have positive feedback processes:

  1. “survivors survive, reproduce and therefore propagate any heritable characters which have affected their survival and reproductive success” but what are heritable characters and how do non-living things reproduce and foster these heritable characteristics?
  2. There is a lot of ivory tower brain power expended on what is called the is/ought problem which was defined by David Hume in A Treatise of Human Nature and they generally come up short after some blurry reasoning. But if one takes artificial selection as a point of departure, of these properties as being defined by our ancestors, mostly women, as the source of these qualities then the human definition of good, moral, desirable and the rest of the long list of human seemingly undefinable qualities are instantly and easily resolved. Simply, we have these qualities because our hereditary ancestors bred them into the evolving human genome. Why? Because they valued people who had those qualities and bred more frequently with them than they did with other potential mates who lacked them. We have those qualities because our ancestral mothers valued them.  If they had consistently wanted what would appear as a tattoo of a cross on our chest we would have one by now after a hundred thousand years of artificial selection.
  3. Because of these selective processes we ought to be moral because that is a quality which has been bred into us. We also ought to have color vision because that too has been bred into us. However, both of these desirable qualities have not yet received a perfect genetic coding and so we still have some colorblind people and some unethical people (sometimes called sociopaths). Hume complains that there is a subtle move from some copulation of propositions which propagate some bastard oughts and ought nots but in my argument above there is an instant unhesitating step. The oughts are derived directly from our ancestral grandmothers defining what is and is not right so that’s the way it is with our species. Beginning, middle and end of the argument.
  4. Business – that which produces a product which is acceptable at a lower price is the driving force so a business should aim to keep the price of its products at the level that just permits them to exist. If they raise their price above that minimum level there will be competitors who will step into the interstices and drive them out of that business.
  5. Ideas – that which is most in agreement with current practice and public whim are the ones which will be supported and prosper. When another idea is closer to the current ideal it will soon oust the old idea.
  6. Science – which is the search for accurate explanations of natural phenomena based on verifiable tests is always being ousted by new explanations which more accurately describe the phenomenon. In this field that is considered a good thing.
  7. Morality – is a set of social norms that helps our group survive and can vary from one group to another based on various historical accidents but most of it still comes back to helping give our social group a cohesiveness which helps it survive.
  8. Life – genome – survival of that which is most fit to the totality of its environment. That environment can vary in an infinity of ways and the living individuals are the product of this vast interplay of forces, some of which are in direct conflict.
  9. Societies – are larger groups of individuals which interact and struggle to survive. In the case of the United States the President takes an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Note, that this is not to protect and defend the people of the United States and is a clear statement that the Constitution of laws is intended to be around long after the individual people are dead and gone.
  10. Books – that get promoted and appeal to a public take on a sort of life and those which are successful are quickly copied in alternate formats which are as similar as possible to the original successful copy. This is very apparent in the current trend of the series titled “Something Or Other … For Dummies” which spun off a large number of in-house copies. And soon competitors in the same vein, Title “…for the  Complete Idiot.”
  11. Movies – that which gets promoted in a similar way to books in its appeals to a public. Hollywood operates on a very profitable Hero’s Journey theme that once you see and understand it can predict almost to the minute what will be done in the movie.
  12. Memes – are brief ideas which stick in the group mind. They usually have some basic truth with a cute twist that makes them seem to take on a general applicability. Some of them like Murphy’s Law (If something can go wrong it will go wrong) has such a wide applicability that it spawned a whole industry of creating these kinds of statements.
  13. Beauty – is usually thought of as visions that are considered appealing because of symmetry and proportions which somehow approach some sort of ideal. The dog show explores this kind of beauty in a formalized way to a point some people would consider obscene.
  14. Music – sounds that are felt to be attractive and meaningful and explores many themes into strange and wonderful directions. These musical excursions are rather like evolution in progress.