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Live and Evolution

Darwin's Finches, finches, evolution, darwin, charles darwin, wimb, war is my business

In this section, we will discuss one of the primary theories for how life could have developed on Earth, and how that life developed over time to survive in an inhospitable environment through the crucible of evolution. There is no doubt that the topic of life's creation on Earth is a difficult one to cover as humanity has developed a multitude of ideas of how the world, and its life, came to be. You have the various religious viewpoints that believe that our creation resulted from powers that reside outside our physical domain. You have a pseudoscientific perspective that is based on physical attributes of our universe, but either can't provide evidence to justify its beliefs or place their presuppositions in an unassailable position that can't be disproven. You have those uneasy scientific postulations that people don't necessarily believe, but are nevertheless could be true; such as our universe residing within an extensive computer simulation. Finally, you have the scientific community and its ever adapting theories of life's development through complex applications of fundamental forces. A theory that can change as new evidence, replicable results, and consensus, based on the employment of the scientific method shaping the community's understanding of the physical world. It is with this community that War Is My Business is aligned.

We bring this up now due to the contentious nature of the subject matter amongst these somewhat disparate perspectives. War Is My Business is about the science, study, and application of military principles and tenets, and using that as inspiration for business development. We have to focus on those aspects of conflict and business that we can actually analyze and measure to some extent. This means we have to reside solely in the physical domain, and avoid the metaphysical and unfathomable. That isn't to say that things like religion won't have a place within War Is My Business, but instead, its influence on people, their social dynamics, and subsequent courses of actions will be covered. We will later discuss how religion and other beliefs come to exist as a result of human cognition and social paradigms, and we would be remiss in failing to identify its importance in world conflict.

First, we must discuss life, and how it is understood to have manifested on Earth. It is easy to find it perplexing how a bunch of chemicals can spontaneously produce single-celled organisms; even when given millions of years to accomplish this. You will see that in reality there are more simple processes that are occurring through this change. Like everything else, though the development of life may seem like something insurmountably complex, in reality it is merely many simple fundamental interactions coming together to produce a more complex system of interactions which we call “life.” Let’s set the stage, and introduce our players.

Resources Used

war is my business, WIMB, A New History of Life
war is my business, wimb, Major Transitions in Evolution
war is my business, wimb, What Darwin Didn't Know

If you are interested in checking them out, I would suggest the Audible audiobooks.  If you don't have Audible, here is an option for a free trial, and you can get two audiobooks for free.

Welcome to Earth, a terrestrial planet formed in the aftermath of a supernova, and seeded with water from asteroids of the shattered disc at the edge of our solar system. Atoms are formed and decay because of the strong and weak nuclear forces. They bond to other various atoms into chemical compounds and transfer and convert energy creating interesting matter with unique properties and attributes; as a result of the electromagnetic force. All this occurs, or I should say it is allowed to occur, because the gravitational force brought all this together; literally, in a coalesced orbiting rock in space.

We have our world and now we need to link our understanding of what needs to occur in order for early life to form. Again, it can be a complicated concept to grasp, but first let's define life, or at least what the scientific community defines as life.

NASA's broad definition of life is stated as "a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution." From this definition, scientific truth is brought forth which is imperative to a Theory of Everything, and a presupposition for War Is My Business, and that truth is that living creatures are chemical systems, shaped by their environments. In other words, to bring it home, humans are merely chemicals with agency, with no other inherently unique characteristics except those imparted by the universe's fundamental forces. There are slight variations on how people define life, this definition, however, is being used by NASA as the benchmark for when humanity discovers what it may consider life in the cosmos. There may be things in the universe that we find that don't follow these particular requirements, yet we will call "life," but until then we act upon our current understanding of requisites for life that we have witnessed here on Earth. Let's look at those requisites.

Life is Self-Sustaining: All actions require energy, and since energy isn't created from nothing it has to come from somewhere else. Remember the conservation of energy from the First Law of Thermodynamics? This means that for activities such as movement, consumption, and reproduction, energy needs to be expended, and therefore, energy first needs to be acquired from a different source. Plants obtain much of their energy from the sun through photosynthesis, while animals acquire theirs through the consumption of other biological matter. Most importantly for self-sustainment is that life, in whatever mode it uses, seeks out this acquisition. Such as the production of chlorophyll in leaves to make photosynthesis more efficient, or various passive or active mechanisms to hunt other living beings.

In a way, self-replication is also a form of self-sustainment. Not only in the form of replacing old or damaged cells in multicellular organisms, but also in mitosis for single-celled ones, and sexual and asexual reproduction for more complex life. That life's attributes and characteristics, thereby, are carried forward. Our lives are sustained through our children, and so on through theirs.

Life is a Chemical System: A lifeform is made up of chemicals, and humanity is no exception. If life is to exist within the cosmos, as far as we can fathom, it must start out simply as inorganic chemicals. They inadvertently perform basic thermodynamic functions, such as bonding with other elements and chemicals to make more complex molecular compounds, and even breaking apart bonds and recombining with other chemical chains, such as through oxidation. If life is to form, it may have very well have started out initially as a simpler form of existing chemical reactions we see to this day, only carried to an extreme. Bonding leads to complex chains which lead to inorganic chemical replication, and functions that purposefully seek out useful sources of energy through consumption.

Life follows Darwinian Evolution: The only thing granted to life in this universe is that it will eventually die. Whether that occurs sooner rather than later is based on that organism’s ability to survive by keeping its systems functioning within the environment. It doesn’t need to be the best, just sufficient enough to survive those tribulations that it faces constantly; the constant effort to sustain itself.

The basic premise of Darwinian evolution is that those that can survive are fit enough to carry their characteristics to future generations while those that aren't die off. In times of scarcity, where sources of life-sustaining energy, or in the case of mating partners for sexual reproduction, are limited, then those organisms that are better suited for this competitive environment will win out over those that can't; even if they would have survived in more plentiful times. Organisms will change over time, under this dynamic. A critical element to evolution; if you are fit, you live, if you are not you die, and fitness has as much to do with the condition of your environment as it does with you. Dinosaurs were fit until an asteroid came and significantly altered the geosphere at which point those attributes that made them fit then made them unfit in the aftermath. So in this sense, evolution is as much about death as it is about life, but we will cover more about evolution following our discussion about the origins of life; especially about humanity's entrance into those dynamics.

What you will notice as we go through this section is that humanity is not new to struggle. We have fought and competed amongst other species as we evolved. Humanity has been tested in this crucible, and found fit enough to live through the harshest of times. Take note that all of us are more closely related than our physical appearances would have you believe. We are all descended from a population of survivors and fighters, and whose traits and characteristics we carry to this day.

The Beginning of Life

It is highly unlikely that life just popped into existence meeting the previously mentioned criteria. Far more likely that life early on started as merely a chemical component of the Earth's geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. These three systems when added to the biosphere make up the four interconnected and open-systems that make up all of Earth system sciences. Before life entered the scene there was no biosphere, obviously, so we focus on the thermodynamic interplay of the other three, and this is where early inorganic functions begin to set the conditions for life.

Abiogenesis, the concept that life arose from non-living matter, was supported by an important Russian scientist, Aleksandr Oparin. To quote Professor Stuart Sutherland from the University of British Columbia’s Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences on the topic of Oparin,

“as inorganic systems get complex, think of say - fundamental particles in an atom, protons in a nucleus then forming atoms, and atoms forming molecules they demonstrate increasingly more complex properties… what Oparin was suggesting is that perhaps life is just one extra level of chemical complexity of a system. These increasing layers of stuff demonstrating more complex behaviors ultimately leading into the most complex chemical organization, life itself.”

So, if life is merely the continuation of complex chemical relationships how did we get from a world of inorganic molecules to one in which organic molecules are created and available to be the building block of all organisms on Earth? Well, the answer to this has already been solved to a certain extent. Meaning that while we may not know what exactly occurred within Earth's history that allowed Earth systems to synthesize these organic molecules from inorganic ones, we have discovered methods that the Earth has that allow this to happen.

Miller-Urey Experiment, Organic Molecules, WIMB, War is my business

Diagram of the Miller-Urey Experiment; from Wikimedia Commons

One such method involved dynamics between the atmosphere and hydrosphere and was recreated in a laboratory setting by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey at the University of Chicago back in 1952. They created a closed system of glass vessels and tubes connected and filled with water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen. The vessels and pipes created a closed water circuit with a heated rod at the bottom and an electrical spark at the top. As water was heated, it evaporated up to the electrical source and was exposed to constant electrical charges before condensing back to the base only to be heated up again. The closed system was meant to simulate an early planet Earth. The heat represented not just heat from the Earth, but also radiant heat energy from the sun and the electric shocks represented lightning entering the system. After ten days this system was able to create both amino acids and sugars, basic building blocks for organisms. Miller and Urey made organic life molecules from non-life compounds in a system based on Earth dynamics, in only a few days.

Geothermal Vent, life, wimb, war is my business

Geothermal Vent

Another potential for the development of these life molecules we can see actively occurring today from underwater geothermal vents. Fissures along the boundaries of tectonic plates allow ocean water to enter both dissolving various minerals from within the crust as well as bringing them along with the superheated water back up to the surface into the colder ocean body. Of the minerals, the sulfides and metals brought into contact with the carbon dioxide within the water can, in turn, develop organic molecules used by early life. Right now we see this process occurring on the bottom of our oceans.

So, the Earth has systems that can produce amino acids, sugars, etc., but now the chemicals needed to form polymers, which long molecular chains, that will allow them to act as the proverbial backbone in which we can attach other molecules for even more complex chains. Certain energy catalysts provide the needed mechanisms, such as chemical reactivity of polyphosphates, the electromagnetic alignment created by polar molecules, and even radiation. Various arrangements of amino acids, nucleotides, and sugars, produce different types of proteins, and utilizing these catalyzers you see the construction of uniquely arranged molecular polymers important to life. Earth generated, in time, two types of these long chains, a single strand called “ribonucleic acid (RNA)” and later a double-strand called “deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).”

Most likely the world of life started solely as those single-stranded RNA chains. They were surrounded by a membrane made of phospholipids to protect it from a hostile environment. Enzymes within this cell could replicate the chain of chemicals that made up the RNA strand in order to make more copies of itself. These copies would split apart along with the membrane to create an identical version of itself, and this process would repeat based on the availability of material. So here we have a chemical system sustaining itself from available organic molecules within the ocean, and replicating itself accordingly, and these functions were brought about and further shaped into a more complex chemical system through evolutionary processes.

Voila, life! A self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. What then is evolution?

Darwinian Evolution

Known most aptly as Natural Selection, the process of evolution deals with the change of life over time as a result of a dynamic between those suited to life within the environment, and those lacking the ways and means to survive. That isn't to say that life has to survive, as in as far as the cosmos is concerned life, isn't a necessity. It is because of the tenets that Darwin put forth that, in the dynamic that is life and death, that life will continue to persist under great duress, and change in order to continue to persist. What do we mean by this persistence? We suggest to say that death is an ever-present thing for life and that there is a lot of it. Researching mass extinction events throughout Earth's history will ironically show you both the relative ease of killing off vast amounts of lifeforms, while simultaneously showing you how difficult it is to eradicate life altogether. Let's talk about tenets for a moment.

Survivability of Offspring: While death is an ever-present reality in life, some organisms can delay the inevitable long enough to replicate their chemical systems. For the earliest life, and contemporary single-celled organism; like bacteria, this is achieved through mitosis: The process of duplicating the genetic code and splitting one cell into two identical ones, then two to four, four to eight, and so on. For the most part, complex multicellular organisms replicate their chemical systems through sexual or asexual reproduction. In either way, what you have is the progeny of lifeforms that for one reason or another found some way not to die long enough to have more offspring. Because these progenies carry that coding forward so to do they have the propensity to survive in similar environmental conditions.

Variation within a Species: Except in the clear case of twins, and the like, it is natural for people to identify unique physical characteristics between individuals within a species. Taken as a whole we can classify individuals to be a part of a species since they generally share the same features and traits, but within that species, you can identify variations between members. The more complex the species is the more potential for variations you have. Even with offspring of multi-celled creatures, variations can occur through a random mutation that can alter how they appear and function, though any such change will be limited in scope of how it differs.

Some Traits Increase Survivability: The variations that do occur have the potential to improve or hinder that creature's ability to survive, and therefore reproduce and carry those variations forward. A creature may develop offspring with more effective camouflage to blend in with their environment. Some may develop a trait that allows them to have more offspring. Some may become stronger, and some may become wiser. Some may even develop appendages in such a way that it will enable them to manipulate objects in the environment. Basically, if it provides an advantage within the environment then there is an increased potential that offspring will be produced that will, in turn, have those traits and pass them on.

Species Diverge When Isolated: Within a species, they share their traits when conceiving offspring, at least in the case of organisms capable of sexual reproduction, they can evolve their traits together as the species continues its life and death struggle. When groups within a species become separated, however, they can begin to evolve along different paths. The reason is that those unique variations that develop between multiple groups can each provide advantages in different ways, and the groups change over time to optimize those advantages. Most importantly though, as groups become separated, they end up residing in different environments. These different environments impose different challenges to survival which may require different variations in order to survive.

Sexual Selection: Natural selection is merely the process of nature putting life through an ever-present life or death dynamic, and seeing which particular traits allow them to survive to replicate or reproduce later. Another form of selection available to sexual species is the process of sexual selection. In this process, members of a species can select potential mates for procreation, and as a result they can pick and choose particular traits they find appealing in a partner. While the most logical criteria for choosing a mate would be based on identifying features that would increase survival that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

The fanciful plumage of male peacocks perplexed Darwin. Under natural selection, such colorful feathers should offer no advantage to the survival of peacocks, and quite the opposite should disadvantage them since both predators and prey would benefit from passive camouflage that would have been offered by more subdued feathers; feathers that are present amongst the females of the species. Why is this? We know that females prefer more colorful plumages, and males purposely show off them in order to attract them. So as generations go by this preference leads to ever more colorful feathers. The females may make this selection, not because they think colorful feathers provide some advantage to survival, but that colorful feathers might be representative of some other benefits. They may see it as a manifestation of the male's health in which natural selection would then favor in offspring. In this way, sexual selection is a result of natural selection since a species that can utilize sexual selection would be more effective in having successful offspring since they can avoid having children that are disadvantaged.

Professors Anthony Martin, from Emory University, and John Hawks, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, take note of two different categories within evolution.

Microevolution: “Change within a species; more precisely, change in the relative proportions of genes over generations within a species.”

This covers though those small changes over time that result from advantaged offspring carrying those successful traits forward. Different groups within the species may evolve along different paths, but generally they are close enough to interbreed and produce offspring with a combination of traits. There isn’t necessarily a point at which microevolutions produce a macroevolution, but for our sake it can be that point in which subspecies within a genus, or greater taxonomic category, can no longer breed successfully.

Macroevolution: “Change from one species to another; more broadly understood as larger changes that occurred over many generations and resulted in major transitions.”

The effective culmination of many microevolutionary changes over time produce a distinctly separate species. As mentioned, it may be considered mainly by the inability of two groups to continue to breed, thus warranting a classification of two separate species. This definition, however, has a little wiggle room as homo sapiens were able to breed with Neanderthals and Denisovans, even though we consider them another subspecies of our genus, homo.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): The Blueprint of Species

AAll the culminating activities of life, those initial microevolutions, eventually led to life's most important macro-evolutionary step: the development of DNA. If life originated in a world of organisms built around single strand RNA it would provide an opportunity for those that could develop a more complex system a significant evolutionary advantage. This is because a double strand mechanism for protein development, like DNA, allows for more complex chemical systems to manifest from genetic mutations. If you remember, variety is an essential mechanism in natural selection and the evolution of species. The more variations in a chemical system that are available the more testable arrangements there are that can lead to more successful systems.

DNA, nucleotides, wimb, war in my business

DNA and Nucleotides; from Wikimedia Commons

Each strand of DNA starts with a backbone of phosphates and sugars. While the phosphate assists in the construction of the strand by bonding to adjacent sugars, the sugars, called "deoxyribose," make bonds with one of four nucleotide bases: Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine, or shorted to their first letters, ATGC for ease of reference. On the adjacent strand, you have the same setup, but instead of a duplicate nucleotide series, you have complementary nucleotides that are paired with them. Adenine will only ever be paired with Thymine, and Guanine will only ever be paired with Cytosine. So if one strand has a series of CTACCG, the other strand’s nucleotides will have a series that is bonded to it with GATGGC.

The bonds between the complementary nucleotides along the strands aren't permanent so that they can be separated, and a form of RNA can come and begin copying those series. By making an RNA version, it will be able to use enzymes to produce unique amino acids; which together make proteins that make cells, which can, therefore, make organs and whole organisms. Since we have a lot of copying involved, there is also the potential for mistakes. Mistakes that can lead to mutation which produce the variation amongst members of a species. A variation that will be tested by natural selection.

From the Origins of Life to Humanity

After Earth cooled from its Hadean Era magma-like world, oceans and volcanic landmasses made up the surface. The atmosphere was thick with greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide. Storm systems the size of continents ravaged the topside, while beneath the ocean surface, geothermal vents spewed superheated water filled with minerals and metals. As this superheated mineral water and atmospheric lighting systems engage with cooled oceans, many organic molecules were produced.

The organic molecules produced long and complex carbon-based chains that could build upon themselves from chemicals in their immediate vicinity. One such chain included phosphates and sugars that would bond together in ever-expanding polymers. The sugars themselves would bind to various nucleotides, and when paired with enzymes could replicate themselves from existing chemicals. This is RNA and begins the world of life on Earth.

In time, those RNA chains would double up on themselves into DNA, and RNA would resort to merely being a tool for translating and transcribing DNA for replication. With DNA as its blueprint, single-celled life experienced explosive growth everywhere along Earth's oceans where conditions were suitable. One particular organism, the first cyanobacteria, through natural selection, developed the ability to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars by using the sun's energy in a process called photosynthesis. The byproduct of photosynthesis was oxygen, and these cyanobacteria flooded the atmosphere with large quantities of it, fundamentally shaping life systems to this day.

Over time, these different organisms would continue to evolve in new and specialized ways to fill niches within the environment. Again, natural selection pushed organisms towards specific specializations to display certain attributes and characteristics, not because of any intentional effort, but instead mutations that drove those elements of species were advantageous. Single-celled life had organisms that would evolve to multicellular ones. Plants and animals would produce a multitude of diverse species, each falling under different categories with capabilities suited to their environments, but ultimately many more died as they were unable to survive and replicate themselves under such dangerous conditions. Bacteria, plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and many more would come and go, being put to this test. Many would fail in changing environments while others would migrate to new environments, and future generations would undergo new conditions in which they would be tested. Alas, we are jumping quickly through the tree of life, a visual display of Earth's life descending from today through the first microbes, but we need to get to the discussion of something most pertinent.

Towards the end of the dinosaurs, mammals were small, weak prey to them. With their demise, thanks to the severe change in the environment, instigated by a meteorite impact on the Yucatan, they were no longer able to survive effectively. They were big, and subsequently required a lot of energy to keep their bodies functioning. There was a massive dying-off of plant life from the impact since that caused large quantities of Earth to disperse throughout the atmosphere blocking necessary light for photosynthesis. Without large amounts of plant life, the big herbivores died. Without the big herbivores, the big carnivores died. For the time, therefore, being large was disadvantageous, and the small had their moment. This is where early primates would eventually come in, because chaos breeds opportunity.

As Professor Solomon states,

“Extinctions are an import part of evolution because, as the saying goes ‘nature abhors a vacuum.’ Extinction creates opportunity for other species to evolve to fill niches in an ecosystem.”

Primates are big-brained, social animals adept at tool manipulation due to their development of opposable thumbs. One such subspecies of primate was humanity and all our associated brethren. We are of the genus homo, descended from Australopithecus approximately two million years ago. Homo habilis, the first humans, originated on the African continent, and eventually evolved into homo sapiens, which is all modern humans, and spread throughout the world. They interbred with other subspecies within the homo genus, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. Those subspecies may be gone, but their genetic code resides in the genomes of human races that originated in Europe and Asia, respectively. Regardless, homo sapiens almost didn't make it themselves, and our ancestors' fitness was put to the test.

"The populations of many large mammals shrank some 70,000 years ago. The eruption of the Toba volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent enough ash into the atmosphere that it likely disrupted the Earth's climate for several years. Humans were among the many casualties, and we nearly became extinct. Comparison of modern human genomes shows that all humans living today appear to descend from a population bottleneck of only 10,000 individuals that lived about 70,000 years ago. So humans just barely avoided the sort of extinction vortex that wiped out a lot of other large animals, including all the other humans. We became the lone survivors, the only descendants from a widespread and diverse group, unlike anything that previously existed on Earth. Our closest relatives have all become extinct."

The resulting 70,000 years of human migration throughout the world was able to create only minor genetic divergence throughout our species. The many varied biomes throughout the world allowed for this divergence. Humans underwent many relatively small microevolutions as they adapted to their environments. Changes in skin color, the distribution of body hair, facial features, and some other attributes didn’t do much to diverge genomes of the many groups. When compared to chimpanzees, we appear to lack significant genetic diversity as a result of that bottleneck. Those primary ethnic differentiators, such as facial features and skin color, are therefore somewhat superficial; genetically speaking.

For example, gene SLC24A5 plays a significant part in whether you have an increase or decrease in your melanin index. While other genes can impact various melanin attributes, this one gene establishes the primary difference in the dark skin of Sub-Saharan Africans and the light skin of Europeans. You get this change by simply converting guanine to cytosine in that SLC24A5 gene. To put it into perspective, say you were to write the letters of the genome in its entirety, you would have a stack of double-sided paper, size 12, Times New Roman font, approximately 60m (200ft) tall. Around 600,000 pieces of paper with 2,622 words on each side and all you do is change a letter on one of those pages within the stack from a "G” to a “C” or vice-versa.

The reason for the mutation of the SLC24A5 gene, or the reason for why it was able to propagate in Northern European regions, is that it provided a distinct advantage in that environment over darker skin. The human body uses sunlight to break down folic acid within the skin in order to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which plays an important role in cell division among other things, is the only vitamin developed naturally by the body, and sun exposure is the primary method for getting it. Sunlight is important for human health, but too much ultraviolet light from the sun can also damage the DNA within your skin cells increasing the risk of cancer.

Humans developing in low sunlight areas would therefore benefit from a lower melanin index so that they could produce more Vitamin D. Humans developing in high sunlight areas would benefit from keeping dark skin since they already produce the necessary amount of Vitamin D while reducing risk of damage to skin cells. That isn’t to say that either can’t survive without that advantage, but they may not thrive when in competition with those that do. Additionally, human intelligence has help compensate for these disadvantages with the employment of clothing and sunscreen to block ultraviolet rays when the skin would receive too much sun, as well as Vitamin D supplements when receiving too little.

In another example of genetic mutation resulting in increased survival, we have the case of a change that isn’t necessarily good, but instead a lesser of two evils. In parts of Sub-Saharan Africa where malaria was prevalent, some humans developed a mutation to a gene that altered the shape of red blood cells. Within the 11th Chromosome of the human genome there is a gene called HHB, or beta globin, which deals with the construct of the protein within red blood cells. The gene itself is 438 nucleotide pairs long within the strand, and by changing a single nucleotide within it from an adenine to thymine, it alters the traditionally donut shape of the red blood cell to that of a sickle.

This sickle cell is more resistant to being infected by malaria since its tight shape prevents the parasite from developing effectively within it. The downside is that with two sickle cell alleles from both parents, the resultant condition called “Sickle Cell Disease” will cause an excess in these sickle shaped cells having difficulting flowing through the bloodstream which can lead to significant pain, damaged tissue, and death. Regardless, in a malaria-rich environment the sickle cell mutation increases survivability to a greater extent than it kills, meaning more people are able to live long enough to then pass on that trait when they have offspring.

Regardless of how we interpret modern human genetics one things is clear based on the story of our genomes. The truth is that humans, irrespective of where we look, lack significant genetic diversity. The biggest differences that we physically see: skin color, bone structure, hair thickness, eye shape, etc. can be summed up in the difference of a handful of nucleotide changes in various genes here or there. We are basically all the same, more so than other primates. Of the difference that societies of humans have about each other, they have less to do about what we are, and all to do about how we perceive it.

That perception is key to every endeavor a human being conducts; either as an individual or as a group. A human genomic links originating in Africa, Europe, Asia, or the Americas are all inherently linked further back to that group hailing from Africa. All homo sapiens descend from homo erectus at the very least, and some genomes of a few relatives still exist in humanity’s disparate ethnic groups. This means that how they perceive the world around them, and their place in it is based almost solely on external influencers.

Perception is an important topic to cover as everything we do in life is based upon how we perceive the results of our actions. In the subsequent section, we will discuss how the human brain functions, how it impacts our perception of our world, and how that shapes societal constructs and norms. It is these that shape human perception which in turn we act upon. We differentiate between threats and opportunities based on how we perceive them, and this leads to established principles and tenets for the conduct of conflict and partnership, war and business, but fundamentally they are the same thing. That fundamental thing is that all human endeavors seek to influence other humans, and their environment, for their benefit. Creating advantage so that they may thrive. But before we begin that discussion, we can discuss the implication that evolution has had on the development of these principles and tenets of warfare and business.

Implications of Evolution in War Is My Business

The scientific community has made great strides in mapping out the Earth's past. The number of Biologists, paleontologists, geologists, geneticists, and the wealth of other fields of scientists who have dedicated their entire adult lives in the pursuit of this knowledge is humbling. It is, however, still ongoing, and humanity may die before we can fully know. What we are saying is that War Is My Business can never do justice to the monumental effort. By showing how all of humanity's endeavors; such as warfare and business, are fundamentally linked because of our evolutionary history, then maybe that may provide you a new-found respect for their efforts and a desire to seek out their knowledge for yourself.

While evolution refers to the development of species over time it has been appropriated by other fields of knowledge, and in other sectors outside of academia. This is because the term of evolution, as simply progressive change over time, is very versatile. A few examples:

In regards to minerals, Professor Robert H. Hazen from George Mason University uses the term “mineral evolution” to describe the process in which environmental factors affect the presence of certain minerals. This includes not just the first few minerals produced by the fundamental forces, what are called “ur-minerals,” such as diamonds, but also from later events. Asteroid impacts create momentary instances of such heat and pressure that shock minerals are produced with a unique crystalline structure. Life processes also create new minerals, like from oxidation caused by cyanobacteria producing an oxygen-rich atmosphere leading to the rusting of iron which is an important element of Hematite. Or cubic zirconia, which is made by humans as a massed produced replacement for diamonds.

In regards to entertainment, the evolution of gaming was very much a niche field at the beginning, taking upside booths at the Consumer Electronics Show, and considered just a new type of children’s toy. In the late ’70s and early '80s, the niche was slowly dying off due to oversaturation of low-quality games. Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 with greater quality assurance on software that increased consumer enjoyment and essentially saved gaming as an entertainment medium. As the new industry grew, it opened up avenues for competitors to jump in and keep these companies innovating to maintain the advantage and survive. As technology improved, new niches were opened and filled; console, PC, and mobile gaming, as well as virtual and augmented reality. In the console market, the competition for consumers’ hard-earned money had even been labeled the “console war,” and while it is more of a cold war, since no one is actually dying, some companies did not survive.

In business, the models of many different types of businesses have evolved alongside humanity’s social and technical capabilities. To quote David Ingram’s article from the Houston Chronicle, “The Evolution of Business Models” he said,

“The business world has evolved over the centuries to take advantage of new trade opportunities, technologies, and consumer demands. The business models that entrepreneurs create have also changed. A business model is a strategic plan for earning a profit, the means of showing how income will exceed expenses.”

A business, to paraphrase NASA’s definition of life, is a self-sustaining economic system capable of adapting to economic conditions. Capital is the means for keeping the business alive and functioning. A for-profit business is designed to bring in more capital than it expends with the excess going to either the growth of the business or shareholders and stakeholders. A non-profit will seek to break even, but if profit is obtained may choose to save the capital for future times of scarcity or expand the scope of the organization. Regardless, money within a market is a finite resource. Businesses, therefore, must adapt their models to the economic environment in order to acquire advantages so as to secure that precious life-sustaining capital. A business that fails to do so, just like a lifeform failing to obtain sources of energy to compensate for its own energy expenditures, will be starved and eventually die off if not subsidized.

In warfare, the evolution of tactics, techniques, and procedures of organizations, the development of offensive and defensive weaponry, and passive and reactive countermeasures is not just a matter of life and death for those organizations and the states they serve, figuratively speaking, but for the lives of combatants and non-combatants, literally speaking. Through the use of effective tactical decisions, battles can be won and objectives achieved. Battlefield objectives, when aligned to operational objectives, can lead to a desired strategic end state. The annals of military history are filled with not just killing, but also death. Even for the victorious, the loss of life is to be expected, but just like our bodies willing to sacrifice its cells to fight infections, the more effective and adaptive a military organization is to change in environmental conditions, the less loss they will have to endure. By studying how these organizations are able to fight effectively, how they adapt their principles and tenets to the reality of conditions they experience, we can find parallels that we can translate for our business models. Simply put, War Is My Business is about looking at warfare, how humans seek to survive in conflict, and applying it to business. We are learning from those experiences, teaching it to others, and applying it in new ways through critical thought. Indeed, a powerful evolutionary adaptation for humanity!

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Complex Applications

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The Human Domain

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