Is a species' abundance determined solely by its ability to survive and spread? Almost but not quite (I claim). There is a third requirement: it must come to exist in the first place! Furthermore, spontaneous formation alone can suffice with very poor surviving & spreading.

Example 1: verrry early life in the soup was probably better at randomly being created than it was at surviving or spreading.

Example 2: photons aren't much good at surviving or spreading but hey I can see in here

Example 3: some ideas are popular because they get rediscovered all the time (rather than spreading from the original source) — eg good ways to wipe your butt. Oh and crabs!

I think these three directives are necessary and sufficient. In other words, abundance is determined by how long you survive, how fast you spread, how often you pop up out of nowhere, and nothing else. (Am I wrong?)

What would (or did) someone call this third thing? Would be nice if it fits "survive & spread & ___". 'Convergent evolution' isn't the right fit... 'reachability'? 'naturalness'? 'inevitability'?

(While we're at it, does anyone have a term for 'natural selection' when you're not just talking about plants & animals etc? Don't really like dragging that term up to such a broad level. A "general theory of abundance" or something¿)

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Carl Feynman


Originate. Works better with the slogan in a different order: Originate, survive and spread.

For alliteration, I like "start" from @interstice: start, survive, and spread. 

Nathan Helm-Burger


My first thought was Arise. I also like the previously mentioned Originate and Start.

James Camacho


Perhaps "fit", from the Latin fio (come about) + English fit (fit). An object must fit, survive, and spread.



Subsist? Sustain? Self-actualize? Start?

Gesild Muka


Emerge, survive and proliferate?



Survive & Spread & Compete?

Mateusz Bagiński


survive & spread & "let internal and external processes be such that they reliably maintain/sustain/recreate your current form"?

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Example 4: cancer.  (Well, I guess you already mentioned carcinization. :-P)

Example 5: sociopathy, defection—what you might call cancerous behavior.

In general, when some system is abundant, versions of the system with broken parts will exist in proportionate numbers.

versions of the system with broken parts will exist in proportionate numbers.

Proportional to the abundance of the original system and the simplicity of the change. Many psychopaths; many people with cancer; relatively few psychopaths with cancer (two independent changes).

In other words, the recipe for coming to existence is "be very similar to something abundant, or compensate for the distance with extreme luck".

how often you pop up out of nowhere

Or evolve from something else. (which you clearly intended based, e.g. on your mention of crabs, but didn't make clear in that sentence)