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On average it is not the strongest who survive to reproduce, nor the biggest, nor the smallest, nor any of the definable peripheral members of a species. It is the healthiest near average individuals that are the most likely to survive in the current local situation.

Health includes

  1. Biological near average physical qualities because that is what the past experience of the species’ multitude of stressors allowed to be brought forward into the present situation. Unique qualities might serve well for some particular situation, but they always have some negative aspects; for example, being bigger means needing more food, which sometimes is scarce; being stronger means more physical challenges that must be met and sometimes a bit of bad luck catches up with the very best.
  2. The psychological wisdom of foresight that is based on real-world personal experience. That quality is a great preserver of health and of longevity but it also brings on feelings of world-sorrow and ennui.
  3. Group identity and group acceptance help to create health because that creates physical and psychological support in times of personal stress.
  4. Socially derived priorities of actions based on the group’s social experience of what has functioned well in the past will be a good general guide to what works well in the local environment. And, the groups’ past experience with rare situations will guide an individual away from attractive pitfalls.
  5. Individual ability to see and adapt appropriately and in a timely way to existing always labile situations. That is an ability that can be cultivated with appropriate education and skill training.
  6. Individual ability to see what exists and to foresee what is likely to exist in the near future. The habit of observing situations carefully and thinking ahead to foresee options can be cultivated. This is routinized in group meetings where planning for future events is postulated by attendees and battered about seeking good options for action.
  7. Ability to see difficult situations and the people who are likely to be unable to adapt and who create an inability of others to respond quickly to change. This is a problem that experienced group leaders have mentioned and have said the best thing is to avoid the whole situation by excluding these types from participation.
  8. The avoidance of basing real-world decisions on poor information and poor habits. There are many people, perhaps most, who will make poor long-term beneficial decisions in favor of short-term pleasures.

Some abstract thoughts on how can we generally live longer and prosper.