5.1 Equilibrium-seeking dynamics

The success of this evolutionary strategy is clear. Even profoundly disabling traits may be hard to eliminate from the human gene pool by natural selection alone. At the time of writing, genetic engineering holds the strongest prospect of effecting irreversible change on the human gene pool, though it is unclear whether gene-focused therapy will eliminate maladaptive traits altogether, or provide better palliative care that will hide them from natural selection more effectively.

If we were to generalise this equilibrium-seeking model of fitness from genes to organisms, then the fittest offspring would be those that could cope with the challenges their parents' genes and their environment threw at them. The fittest parents would be those that facilitated these coping strategies in their own infants. Our upright stance, browless skulls, short arms, weak teeth, hairless bodies, extended period of infant dependence and feet so straightened that they can neither grasp nor climb effectively may not have been adaptive in the heroic sense of the word. Some of these traits could instead have arisen through symmetry-breaking events that flushed unexpressed genes out of hiding, triggering a dramatic loss of fitness.

These upwellings of genetic diversity would accelerate selective winnowing, flipping the system from a synergetic to a heroic dynamic that would further destabilise the gene-pool. This epic tale of tragic death and heroic survival would continue up to the point where viable coping strategies emerged. Only then could synergetic multipliers come into play that would allow organisms to negotiate new ways of being fit. A new dynamic attractor would have been located, with a new processual conjuncture, deep-time structure and ontology.