Evolution is a cyclic feedback process of intent. Form follows function, albeit often with a twist of creative ingenuity. Traits are created or modified to enhance performance. The incitement to adapt is efficiency or productivity.
Aesthetic enhancement is common: either to attract a mate, better communicate, or avoid being eaten, among other good reasons. Plant secondary metabolites to avert herbivory are aesthetic in nature: not to taste good. The amazing creative diversity of life is a fulsome testimony to Nature as an aesthetic adventure.
That evolution is teleological – adaptation proceeding with intent – is obvious, as innumerable specimens testify. There is no sensible reason to think otherwise.
So little is known about the evolution process because all that is on display are phenotypic and the nearly inscrutable labyrinth of molecular artifacts labeled genetic. Behind the appearances are localized forces of energetic coherence which conduct an intricate orchestration of translating what a living entity perceives in its mind and physically encounters in its environment into impressions that form the basis for incremental change. Organs and cells have minds of their own, so the translation process forms a tensor network of interactive relations between cells, organs, bodily systems, and the whole organism.
Physiologically, the vestiges from living are encoded within genetic material in a process that cannot be fully understood because it is an energetic activity, leaving only artifacts of outcome. As with encoding, expressions of genetics also involve invisible energetics which only manifest with tangible outcomes called traits.
Evolution is conventionally thought of as a process involving generations of organisms. Instead, evolution is continuous. Life stages are phases of organitypic evolution. Living is itself an evolutionary process, with offspring as snapshots of what’s next.
The most significant evolution is not of the body, but of consciousness and how the mind functions. This process, which we appreciate within ourselves, applies to all those organic bits (e.g., cells and proteins) which have their own life cycles. The organization of it all enshrouds an intricacy beyond ken.