Synopsis: Accessorised evolution is the human difference.
Evolution relies on the possibility of offspring differing from the parent(s). Evolution has led not only to survival of ever fitter species, but also survival of ever fitter mechanisms of evolution. First there was mitosis, then sexual reproduction, then complex cellular sexual reproduction, and then the latest step, accessorised evolution, which results in rapidly evolving accessorised species.
Not only have life evolved, Life has not only evolved, but even evolved n navigation disruption as accessorised humans outgrow one finite planet As life has evolved, species have evolved new ways to evolve and provide their offspring with improved ways to differ from their parents. Sexual reproduction took evolution to a more agile second level, complex multicellular organisms took evolution to a third level, and now the human ability to independently evolve tools or accessories unlock a third level of even faster mechanism for evolution of the accessorised offspring.
So far, only humans experience this new level of evolution, and it has allowed humans to have more impact on the planet in such a short time than any species have ever had before.
People have long sought to identify the key difference between humans and other species. We have a soul, or our intelligence makes us different. The more we learn about other species, the less clear some of those distinctions become. However, there is one clear difference: we not only use tools, but we also pass on and improve those tools from generation to generation, allowing the tools to evolve.
Since human existence is so intertwined with our tools, they become our accessories that change our capabilities as these accessories evolve.
Bees have their hives as accessory and beavers have dams. But neither of these accessories evolves independently. These accessories are ‘hardwired’ into the behaviour of the bees or beavers, and only evolve as the bees or beavers evolve, and is thus limited to evolution at the speed of the host, as enabled by sexual reproduction.
The principle of evolution is “survival of the fittest”. For a species to grow in population relative to other species, that species must evolve to acquire greater “fitness” for the environment. A look at human history reveals that the invention of agriculture led to increased population. Even before the population explosion, the human population was growing over the long term, which basic population principles suggest requires humans to have been evolving.
From the Victorian era, the evolution of our “accessories” had reached the level that meant animals which previously inspired fear became unfair targets for ‘”game hunters“. A human with accessories no longer required a group to be the apex predator.
The population explosion of the industrial age may have been in response to the dramatic decrease in child mortality, but without a parallel increased rate of further evolution, such an increase would have resulted in horrific mass starvation. Humanity may have borrowed from future generations to avoid such starvation, but the rate of progress was still undeniable.
Clearly, human society has evolved, and this has supported this rise in population and even has arguably taken human domination of the planet to the level that has given rise to the Anthropocene epoch.
Further, it is also clear that no other species has demonstrated such a clear evolution of their societies, or of the appearance of individuals within their societies.
Other species use tools. The clear difference between humans and other species is that so far, no other species has developed evolution of their tools, where the tools themselves experience improvements from generation to generation. Other species have intelligence, can be self-aware and use tools, and in these characteristics humans old differ in the extent of intelligence, or self-awareness or use of tools. But the evolution of tools, is unique to humans.
A human will almost always be seen together wish some accessories. Almost always clothes, and increasingly, almost always with a portable communications/computing/camera/torch device. Very often with a backpack or other bag for even more tools. Almost all humans will have access to a home that houses a further variety of tools, and over 1 in 4 adults will have a car, motorcycle or moped.
This presence of accessories makes a human of today immediately distinguishable from a human of 50,000 years ago, while almost every other species is indistinguishable from one of 50,000 years ago.
The result is that almost every human on Earth will now normally be seen with tools: as an accessorised human.
Evolution of evolution: from mitosis to accessorised evolution.
Because evolution initially slow and little happened for 1.5 billion years.
When you look at the complete history of life on Earth, life began very early but then evolved extremely slowly.
Despite life beginning so soon after the Earth formed, there was little variety with life very much restricted to single cell organisms without a nucleus called procaryotes, and everything remained quite simplistic for over 1.5 million years, with an almost fixed population of life for a large portion of this phase.
Evolution requires change, and with procaryotes that reproduce solely as “clones”, while mutations can occur, there is not mechanism for combining of mutations.
Evolution Phase 2: The nucleus, sex, and a 1.5-billion-year step to complex life.
As can be seen from the rapid increase in total biomass, the introduction of life with a nucleus extended the total amount of life that was possible by allowing life to adapt to a greater range of environments, itself in part due to the first phase of the great oxygenation event allowing animals to exist.
Once sexual reproduction began it took over and now it is estimated “that over 99.99% of eukaryotes do it, meaning that these organisms reproduce sexually“.
The first eukaryotes to engage in sex were single-celled protists that appeared approximately 2 billion years ago, over 1.3 billion years before development of the first animals with neurons capable of assessing pleasure. These bacteria (as well as their modern counterparts) engaged in genetic exchange via processes such as conjugation, transformation, and transduction, all of which fall under the umbrella of parasexuality.Sexual Reproduction and the Evolution of Sex
Whilst asexual reproduction can result is variances, it is the genetic variances best able to produce species Darwin describes as “the fittest”.
Evolution phase 3: Complex multicellular life.
The great oxygenation meant oxygen had now reached a level that reduced radiation on the surface to acceptable levels, making life on land now possible and the Earth a larger environment for life.
Multicellular quickly displaced much of the original stage 1 procaryote life and became not only a significant proportion of all life, but most of the life that we see in the environment.
the life that we see prolife quickly took over as a large portion of life on Earth.
The share of the biosphere allocated to complex life has been maintained during these last 500 million years which have seen the total biomass on Earth decline back to a total level similar to that reached prior to complex life evolving. The reduction is biosphere being a result of the falling CO2 levels required to compensate for rising levels of heat from the Sun resulting in less photosynthesis, and thus less food for life on Earth.
Evolution phase 4: Accessorised evolution of hybrid of biology + accessories.
Humans have become an accessories species, with clothes and other technology that can define us.
There is debate as to whether the biological human body component of accessorised humans is still evolving, but the overall, it is clear the combination of humanity + accessories and human societies are now evolving faster than ever.
Just as every previous phase of evolution has dramatically changed the planet, humans as the first species to achieve accessorised evolution have transformed the planet at a rate never seen before, and to a level warranting a new epoch: The Anthropocene.
It turns out, humans societies, have developed successful intergeneration transfer which allows a form of Lamarckian inheritance, and thus evolution of the society, without genetic evolution of the individuals. No other species has achieved this Lamarckian inheritance, or evolution with genetic evolution, because no other species has managed a mechanism of intergenerational memory, where the next generation can learn study what was leant by previous generations. This is what makes humans different.Why Humans Are Different: The Evolution Of Tools And Societies That Use Them.
Evolution phase 5: Will accessories take over?
Many predict and fear that the evolution from biological life to humans as a species extended by the technology of our accessories may move on to another step where the technology can exist without the constraints of the biology.
What is not clear is if the motivation to reproduce that is essential to the propagation of life would ever exist in the technology alone, or why such motivation would create an appetite for AI robots to want to eliminate humans.
Accessories are now integral to being human.
What is a Tool? Answer: An accessory that provides enhanced capabilities.
A tool can be considered equipment that enhances abilities.
OK, these days ‘tool’ can be a derogatory term for a person as in: “I went to the store today and I saw they had a tool section. I just had to look, and sure enough there were several tools there, all standing around looking lustfully at products that they don’t need”.
But seriously, this just demonstrates meanings change. In fact the narrower definition of ‘tools’ being a section of the hardware store is itself a very narrow use of the word tool. The first stone tools, did not fit this narrower description of ‘tool’, and when researching animals ability to use ‘tools’ it can include an octopus using a coconut for shelter, or even a dolphin using a sponge. The reality tools are not just products sold as tools, and unlike that narrow definition, tools are not predominantly from domains that in a sexist world are mostly male. Not only is the label ‘tool’ used for ‘kitchen tools’, but the term ‘tool’ also describes mixers, blenders, and a whole host of kitchen appliances used equally by both genders. The are cameras and lenses as tools of photography, of sewing machines and more as tools for sewing, and tools for science. For almost any human activity, we have tools to enhance our abilities, and give us superpowers.
Humans Gain New Superpowers through tools and technologies.
Every new technology starts off like a toy, as an idea that doesn’t really work yet, but over time, many progress to become useful tools.
From the first stone tools, through to mobile devices, humanity has progressed and been transformed by the tools available at the time. Humanity before the inventions of tools have such primitive capabilities in comparison with humanity today, that it seems hard to recognise both the old and new as the same species. A human equipped with a full array of the tools of todays technology would appear to a human from just a few thousand years earlier to be like a god or an alien in possession of superpowers.
It is the development of tools that has rewritten time and time again the competitiveness of humans vs other species, that has resulted in the population we see today, compared to the population of humans 100,000 years ago. The reason humans in the first 200,000 thousand years did not grow to a population of billions like we have in the last 10,000 years, is that we did not have the superpowers that we have today.
Given that the development of tools has made humans the successful species that we are today, the humans who did not love toos all died out.
Tools provide superpowers. Not just for Batman and Ironman, but potentially for everyone, or they would if the tools of Batman and Ironman were real and not just toys.
Why Everyone Loves Tools: Capability, Identity, & Fulfillment.
There is a the narrow definition of ‘tools’ from the hardware store, but the more fundamental definition includes clothes, eating utensils, and anything we make part of our life that the first humans did not have.
Everybody likes tools as they give us superpowers to get things done, pursue hobbies, and even leisure activities far better than without them. It is only the use of the word that has been more gender aligned.
Adopting and using tools is considered a key characteristic of being human. With tools we can have capabilities beyond those provided by our physiology. Early humans used tools to enable them increase their abilities to hunt, to build homes, and to prepare food. The dictionary makes specific reference to ‘a handheld device that aids in the accomplishment of a task’, but when visiting the ‘garden tools’ section, it can be seen that even a ride on mower, can be classified as a tool, despite not being handheld. Most people would also agree that even desktop computers can be regarded as tools, or at least an ‘office tool’, but we don’t normally think of a car as tool. This suggests the idea of a tool already extends beyond handheld.
The definition I choose to work with is:
tool: a device that aids in accomplishing an outcome.
Tools Extend An Enhance Human Abilities.
Tools extend the capabilities of the person with the tool. The owner of a tool has extended capabilities. Just as superheros Batman and Ironman gain extra powers through their suits and accessories, a person with a motor vehicle is capable of amazing feats.
Each task a tool enables gives new powers to the person with the tool. The ability to accomplish these tasks allows people to see themselves differently, and thus changes their sense of self and how they are perceived by others.
It has become part of human to have tools that can enable accomplishing many tasks. Possessing tools changes a persons identity to a person enable people to do more than before. From someone who can’t tackle a task, to someone who can tackle that task.
Use of tools is what has enabled humans to be so successful as a species, and as a key to success as a species, we have evolved to feel rewarded and fulfilled, by the capabilities our tools provide and scope of tasks they allow us to accomplish.
Homes and Other Possessions Are Forms Of Tools.
Everything we own becomes an accessory to who we are and a part our identity.
Tools Vs Technology.
The terms ‘technology’ and ‘tools’ can be used somewhat interchangeably.
However, it can be interpreted that the underlying technology is what makes the tools possible, and a tool is created when an embodiment of technologies enables doing something useful. When technology results in products that give people the ability to either do things they could not do before, or to do things faster or with less effort than previously.
To focus on the technology is to focus on the technical specifications, while to focus on the tool is to look at what we can achieve when using the technology, and to highlight how the technology allows us to achieve things. A technology review of a robot vacuum looks at how it works and how it compares with others, while considering the perspective of a tool might focus more on how much better having the robot vacuum, is better than using a conventional vacuum.
Toys Vs Tools.
I use the term ‘toy’ for a technology that has not yet achieved ‘tool’ status. An example would be my first robot vacuum cleaner, which did manage to vacuum, but as vacuuming still required preparation and supervision the benefit over a conventional vacuum cleaner was questionable.
I sometimes write evaluations of products I have experience with that represent different classes of “accessories”, but as I don’t try all equivalent products, the focus is usually about is whether this type of product is a ‘toy’ that achieves little that could be achieved without it, or a true ‘tool’ that allows a person to do more.
Grokking humans being an accessorised species.
A concept with many layers and implications.
My experience is that it took me some time for fully “grok“, or fully “understand it so thoroughly that you merge with it and it merges with you” the implications of humans being an accessorised species.
Conceptually this means that the clothes, the mobile phones, and even our society wide accessories such as transport systems, libraries and even governments are part of who we are, in a similar way that the majority of cells in our body that are not from out DNA or even human cells are part of who we are.
A modern human is different from an ancient Greek human, or even a stone age human, almost entirely not because our own cells and DNA are different, but because the overall “us” which includes our accessories and our society, and its accessories, are different.
This concept defines our identity, which makes the evolution of our accessories rather important.
Accessorised evolution and population.
Humans evolving through an improved mechanism makes the Anthropocene and human population reaching levels that put pressuring organisms competing withing the environment but with only cellular evolution an inevitability.
It also makes the risk of the human population increasing to levels that result in the extinction of species critical to our environment very real, since evolution under previous mechanisms has not prepared nature for this risk.
Accessorised evolution and racism.
It can be argued that racism stems from confusions between evolution of accessories and biological evolution. Many developments that resulted in evolution of accessories occurred within the largely continuous land mass of the Europe the Middle East and Asia, but were delayed in reaching Africa, the Americas and Australia and the Pacific. This allowed a period of time when evolution of accessorised evolution progress faster in Europe the Middle East and Asia which became apparent when new methods of travel results travellers arriving to Africa, the Americas, Australasia and the Pacific. Without an understanding of accessorised evolution, the “travellers” and then often colonisers, wrongly assumed that they were now biologically more evolved than the locals in these “new territories”, when in fact, only their accessories were more evolved.