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random mutations of offbeat activities

from John Pfeiffer’s The Creative Explosion:

Think of the hundreds of thousands of useless things that are going on in the world somewhere right now. There seems to be no limit to what people will do, provided it is sufficiently off-beat and has never been done before. All the new games and experiments and assorted forms of dare-devilry, everything from double somersault ski-jumps, walking tightropes between skyscrapers, and setting the record for the most parachute jumps in a 24-hour period, to wrapping cliffs in cellophane, swallowing new drugs and combinations of drugs, playing Dungeons and Dragons, attempts at levitation, and on and on and on. Such activities represent the cutting edge of evolution, human-style. They are analogous to the random genetic mutations of organic evolution. The vast majority of mutations are harmful or useless, and so are the vast majority of offbeat activities. But someday as society changes at a mounting rate, one in a billion may payoff, and it’s impossible to predict which one.

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