Evolution. By which I mean evolution by means of natural or artificial selection. In other words Charles Darwin’s conceptual breakthrough, that those specimens which are poorly suited to an environment will struggle and perish while those that prosper survive and thrive. This phenomenon is usually associated with the diversification and adaptation of organisms and species, but it is not confined to the realm of biology. It is universal, and it’s as inevitable as gravity.
In its simplest form, evolution can be summarised in just two words: stability persists. That which is robust lasts. That which is strong survives. The good will out. This principle is reinforced if there is a process of reproduction and variation. This leads to successful forms being replicated, and with a little of the magic ingredient: time, they can adapt and improve.
Thus we go from an initial set of conditions to a dynamic and exquisite ecosystem.
Now, this process applies not just to the origin of species but to any and every environment in which different entities compete for resources.
Those entities which are more successful at being reproduced will become more commonplace.
Darwin’s famous disciple, Richard Dawkins himself coined the term meme to refer to the basic unit of cognitive reproduction. This represents an idea, which can be replicated, varied, propagated and adapted.
Other realms in which the same process manifests itself are design, computing, the human mind, investment markets, business models, entertainment, society, politics, astronomy, sport, geology, economics and even cosmology.
Consequently in all these domains we see patterns of behaviour replicated. One form echoes another and we see history repeated. There is a tension between the familiar being reiterated and innovations which aim to build on the past with improvements and new ideas.
The tried and trusted processes and solutions have been honed by past experiences of failure and success, but the status quo is never permanent and will always succumb to the relentless onslaught of the new. Nothing ever lasts forever. Nothing ever ends.