I think therefore I think. I think too much. Egad! I can’t stop thinking.
Today we are talking about adaptation. First, a necessary adaptation in the form of a question. I have to establish common ground to pursue the talk on. What is adaptation?
Changing to suit a new environment?
Change or adjustment suitable to the circumstances.
Novelty itself is not automatically necessary in identifying adaptation. All traits possessed by any person or being that serve to support its viability in an environment are adaptive. The flexibility itself is a variable outside of adaptation itself.
Life is change, so adaptation is constant? Yes. How do we know when adaptation is successful?
We don’t die?
Adaptation is always context sensitive. The degree of success in adaptation can be assessed by a point by point analysis of the creatures traits in the context of the situation they are found in, and there are many creatures on this planet who do not fully conform to all the possible requirements their environment might subject them to, like say tree sloths.
You have the ability to see because the behavior of organic chemistry allowed for the production of a light sensitive organ. This is a simplified statement but hopefully makes the point adequately clear. But the value of vision is dependent on the correlation between the function of the visual process and the information present in the field that we might possibly need to see. This can be compared to a mathematical isomorphism. The eye has to reflect the behavior of light in its structure and function well enough to allow vision. So in a narrow range, what’s true of light is true of the eye. They both draw from the principles of optics perhaps.
Well, adaptation is like this on all levels. The truth, of what needs to change and why, is neither in the creature or the condition the creature is in, but exists as a relationship between the creature and the environment. I am loath to speak of my own condition, but suffice it to say I know very well what it is like to be a fringe case, not very in touch with the context that I live in, not adequately mirroring that.
Is adaptation also evolution? Evolution is a product of entropy. Adaptation is more a product of symmetry.
Adaptation is more stability making? Yes. Evolution comes about in the fullness of time when the full range of a beings capacities reach full expression. With that fullness of expression you get a self-referential shift in the environment. This is what has happened with humans. To state this more clearly, environments reach a critical point where the adapted creature and its presence and activity change the environment itself, which of course requires new adaptation on the part of the creature. This is perhaps the basis of the pattern observed in nature known as punctuated equilibrium.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.