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Friday, April 9, 2010

Devaluing Survival

The goal of evolution is not survival. Rocks survive much better, longer, and more consistently than biological entities. This should be patently obvious. Survival is a tailing of evolution and achieves a level of false importance probably because those of us doing the observation are so short lived and thus value survival above almost everything else.

In biology as in any other system, evolution is not concerned with nor particularly interested in individual instanciations of a scheme. A being is but a carrier of scheme. And even that is unimportant to THE scheme which can only be one thing – the race towards ever faster and more complete degradation of structure and energy.

To this (or any other) universal end, schemes carry competitive advantage simply and only as a function of their ability to "pay attention to", to abstract, the actual physical grammatical causal structure of the universe. And why is this important? Because a scheme will always have a greater effect on the future of the universe if it "knows" more about the future of the universe. Knowing is a compression exercise. Knowing is two things. 1. acquiring a description of the whole system of which one is a part, and 2. the ability to compress that description to its absolute minimum. A system that does these things better than another system has a greater chance of out-competing its rivals and inserting its "knowledge" into future versions of THE (not "its") scheme. To the extent that an entity pays more attention to its survival (or any other self-centered goal) than to THE scheme, is the extent to which another entity will be able to out-compete it.

Darwin was a great man with an even greater idea (his grandfather Erasmus even more so). But neither had the chops or the context to see evolution at a scope larger than individual living entities or the "species" within which they were grouped competing amongst each other over resources. There was very little understanding of the concept "resources" during his lifetime – certainly not at the meta or generalized level made possible by today's understanding of information and thermodynamics and as a result of Einstein's work its liberation of the symmetry that separated energy, time, distance, and matter. However, Darwin's historically forgivable myopia has out lasted its contextual ignorance and seems instead to be a natural attribute or grand attractor of the human mind. His sophomoric views are repeated ad nauseum to this day.

Randall Reetz

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