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The Extended Phenotype

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There's an interesting idea called an "extended phenotype."

The genotype is the actual genes that tell our proteins how to build us.

The phenotype is the resulting structure.

The genes that make your eye color, as they exist on your DNA, is the genotype.

The actual color of your eyes is the phenotype.

One way of looking at some animals is that they have an extended phenotype.

Meaning they have genes that program them to build thing OUTSIDE of their bodies.

Like beavers, for example.

They are programmed to build dams.

Just like bees are programmed to build hives, and ants are programmed to build ant hills.

These are all "first order" structures.

Beavers always build the same dams.

Over and over and over.

They are programmed to find the right river, the right branches and then they get to work.

Same with bees and hives and ants and anthills.

Same structure over and over.

Humans, however, build "meta structures."

Not just meta structures, but meta ideas.

We build based on whatever exists.

It's like we have a gene (or collection of genes) that says, "Look out into the world, find something cool, and make something better."

Or maybe, "Find some interesting ideas, and make them even better."

The entire story of human history is one of advancement.

Every generation people look out into the world, see what's there, and improve on it.

They tell us that our mind-body systems is more or less the same as it was fifty thousand years ago.

Which meant those ancient humans looked out into the world with the SAME level of understanding.

But the stuff and the ideas they saw were much more primitive.

And for a while, human advancement was very, very slow.

Until something happened.

Then the stuff, (and the ideas) EXPLODED.

What happened?

Money was invented.

Think about life BEFORE money was invented.

The stuff you could do, and the stuff you could get, was limited.

They idea of working really hard and then taking it easy just wasn't possible.

Without money (and the ability to save it) you could only last as long as your food supply.

But once money was invented, as a storage of human potential, that's when people's creativity exploded.

No longer were people constrained to do the same boring tasks every day to get the same basic stuff.

The amount of things people could do to GET money, and the amount of stuff they could buy WITH money (including long periods of rest) EXPLODED.

And the game's been going ever since.

Get In And Get Some:

Wealth Tuning

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