Evolution = Exchange


André de Vinck


Darwin’s theory of natural selection raises two critical questions: What is ultimately being selected? Why is it inevitably being innovative? In response, the five key theories of evolution begin with species, genes, organisms, systems, processes. And they lead to a sixth key theory that begins with exchange. Specifically, I re-configure Darwin-Peirce-Einstein’s special theories of evolution-semiosis-relativity in a radical theory of exchangesignificationvalue. In this context I suggest that the relative signifying relations of exchange are both exuberantly innovative and restrictively selective and they drive the process of evolution. Instead of beginning with a post hoc theory of restrictive selection, therefore, I begin with an ad hoc theory of exuberant innovation. Every so-called thing in this so-called universe is actually no-thing more and no-thing less than a co-incidental articulation of the long evolutionary history of the relative signifying relations of exchange—beginning with energymass  massenergy. In fact, time itself can be understood as the rhythmic syntax of exchange. While some recent general theories of evolutionary history begin with energy flows, quantum bits, emergent complexities, etc., I suggest that the dynamic of exchange evolves nature, the practice of exchange evolves culture, the syntax of exchange evolves history. Here we arrive at the proof that is to be demonstrated: Evolution = Exchange.