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The Universal Law of Happenstance

  • Many organs of biological organisms originally had a different function and only later acquired the current function because they proved to be more useful/important for that new function and evolved consequently.
  • Sometimes an action yields a result that was not planned but that turns out to be even more important/useful than the one originally intended, and sets in motion a new course of action.
  • During a research a new piece of knowledge often spawns a different idea than the one originally investigated, and starts a new train of thoughts.
  • The political and economic history of the human race is full of cases in which a new status created conditions that were not intended and that started political and economic revolutions that ended up prevailing over the evolution that the new status was meant to produce.
  • Evolution (both biological and cultural) is not only driven by natural selection and variation but also by the malleability and flexibility of the nervous system, that is capable of using what organs it has for what purposes it needs to satisfy.
  • Feedback is not the only process to determine the usefulness of a biological function and to fine-tune it. There is also a law of opportunism that it at work all the time, almost as if a hidden process was constantly checking for opportunities created by any new status.
  • Feedback per se would only refine the function of an organ, not generate a new function for that organ.
  • An organism continuously tries to use all of its organs for all possible functions, not just for the one that caused the organ to emerge and evolve in the first place.
  • A biological organism adapts to the environment in a manner that leaves degrees of freedom so that the environment can select additional functions besides the current ones.
  • Human creativity in the arts and sciences is simply a manifestation of this general law that guides all biological organisms.
  • Hence it is difficult to reconstruct the history of living beings or the history of human civilization if using a purely deductive rational approach because sometimes B was not an inevitable consequence of A but an accidental detour of C, not quite an irrational event but one whose rationality differs in degrees of freedom from simple direct causality and deduction.
  • By the same token it is virtually impossible to predict the future because of the infinite "unpredictable" ways in which events can branch out.