Diversity arising from the functioning of the generalized adaptive process.
- As stated, the generalized adaptive strategy is to mediate the relationship between the relatively fixed organism, and whatever form of environmental fluctuation happens to be occurring.
The level of diversity in strategy must correlate to some extent with the level of environmental fluctuation present within reality, since strategies are the forming of relatedness with fluctuation.
A major portion of this environmental fluctuation is produced by the informationally organized components of reality (organisms) themselves, in the course of performing their various activities of “self”.
Therefor the resultant strategic realities not to mention possibilities must be enormously diverse.
We do not find it surprising that dissimilar fluids can form immensely intricate and convoluted patterns along the boundary between them: The shape which one fluid can assume at this boundary can only occur and match perfectly with that made by the other (it’s “environment”) since they are two aspects of one reality.
It is only this which makes the sheer diversity of relatedness between “organism” and “environment” explainable – all aspects of one reality are compelled to comply with each others “movements” in cause effect patterns of relatedness.
The practical limits to the forms of relatedness possible between “self” and “environment” are unknown, however “fractals” demonstrate that infinitely detailed boundary layers can exist.
Since the future of “self” “environmental” relationship looks set more and more to be relationship directed by minds, this may not be as far fetched as it sounds.
The nature of the relationship between “environmental variability” and “self” is comparable with the ripples made by raindrops on a rock in a pond. Continuous, and continuously variable in mode (e.g. cyclical or random) and magnitude as well as the direction in which adaptive pressure acts upon design elements.
(The intended meaning of “direction” is as follows: Environmental fluctuation produces adaptive pressure, which can be thought of as a force, pulling in a direction. For example high temperature as an environmental fluctuation produces a “pull” on the organism to provide methods of relating successfully to a high temperature environment. Low temperature creates a pull to relate to this environment. For this reason they can be thought of as pulling in an opposite “direction”.)
For example the adaptive response to high temperature is to move heat from the body outwards, while the response to low temperature is to retain it inside the body. In other words, these particular responses, or “design optimizations”, are mutually exclusive but act largely upon the same design elements.
Temperature can cycle rapidly from one extreme to the other, yet the mutual exclusivity means an organism cannot possibly express both strategies in an “always on” state, but only in response to fluctuation as it occurs.
In consequence, many responses which are highly optimal for relating to a given environmental state, are sub optimal or detrimental in regards to another set of conditions, and must be specifically excluded.
Since environmental fluctuation is highly diverse, continuous and highly variable in mode, magnitude and direction of origin, the organisms strategy to relate to this fluctuation must also be highly diverse in mode, magnitude and direction of action.
Aside from this, the maintenance of a functioning response to every form of environmental fluctuation to which the genetic code is capable of response, would require a lot of resources.
This in itself represents poor strategy since one of the most basic problems in maintaining the relationship between the organism and a fluctuating reality is access to limited resources.
As a result, the organism ends up suspended in a complex web of possible strategies for relating to reality. These continually cycle and interchange in the fluid process of providing relatedness between the DNA expressed organism and the fluctuations of everything else.
This further erodes the notion of the “selfness” of the organism, since if these strategies have no stability from one moment to the next, and if the “self” is merely a collection of relational strategy, then in this sense self too has a comparable lack of stability.
There are also cases where a single design element is limited in it’s ability to respond to environmental fluctuation, which in turn limits the ability of the organism to relate successfully with reality.
An example is body hair on animals. This single design element must relate to an environment of heat during the day and cold at night. The resultant coat is the net balance of pressures driven by heat which favors less hair cover, vs the cold of night, which favors more.
The two adaptive pressures both act upon the single design element. The resultant adaptive responses are mutually exclusive yet are forced to “coexist” – suspended in a tug of war between the two adaptive pressures.
Increasing the flexibility of the design element in order for it to respond to fluctuation as it happens frees the organism to relate more easily with the extremes the fluctuation creates.
In the case of humans, the combined effect of clothing, shelter, mobility, fire, ability to predict weather, general intelligence and so on have enabled the human organism to better meet the extreme fluctuation of cold using strategies other than the design element of hair cover, thereby freeing this particular design element to respond to the adaptive pressures applied by the environmental extreme of heat.
The result is a decrease in body hair.
Such efforts, especially if taken to an extreme (which may conceivably occur as a result of the adaptive pressures applied by “intelligent selection”) may however represent a proportionate reduction in the stability of “selfness” accorded by more stable relational strategy.
In addition, the feedback loop produced by the adaptation to environment / environmental fluctuation equivalence means that a proportion of the environmental fluctuation eliciting response will be entirely emergent.
This is a form of environmental fluctuation to which, practically speaking the informational content of reality must attempt relational response, however there is a very long history of it having to do so.
The self adaptation / environmental fluctuation equivalence has driven the adaptive process itself from one which was a response to “natural” selection, through to include the other forms of selection: Sexual and Intelligent, as well as group selection and strategy.
This effectively represents the evolution of the process of evolution itself. Every step represents a reduction to it’s randomness and an increase in the manner in which it is informationally directed.
Environmental fluctuation produces emergent self-environment relational strategy which equates to novel environmental fluctuation thereby stimulating further novel relational strategy.
This makes pinning the generalized adaptive relational strategy between self and environment down to any set of “rules” very difficult, if not impossible, especially as they are predictable into the future.
Possibly the most accurate definition might be: that which works.
Copyright © 2013 Peter Sillifant