Bit of a left field post this one.
Had a bit of insomnia last night, and while staring at the ceiling got thinking about something that wouldn't let go. No, not the naughty slave girls from the planet Playtex, but something that started with Larry Niven the science fiction author's imaginary second stage humans called protectors.
If you fancy a good old space opera, and some grand sweeps of history, space, and so on, Niven is hard to beat, and Protector is no exception. Anyway, for those not familiar with the book, I need to explain somethings to make this one work. His thought was that there is a second stage of human growth, when the fertile adult, "the breeder" turns into a neuter "protector" stage that has some interesting characteristics.
It is vastly more intelligent than the breeder stage.
It is very long lived, thousands of years
It has a very strong compunction to protect its own bloodline, in the form of its descendants
I got to thinking about how this would really work, and came to some interesting conclusions about how such a society would turn out.
In the first instance, we assume that there are male and female breeders, and they have children, which will be of mixed genetic descent, half father and half mother. The breeders then hit the second stage, and we have two neuter protectors who are each going look after the children, but the father/protector is looking effectively after the male descended genes in the offspring, and the mother/protector is looking after the female descended genes in the children.
That seems OK to me, as both have an equal stake in the game, but what then began to puzzle me was what would happen in the successive generations. Basically in order to breed, the offspring have to mate with gene lines that are not their own. That means that each successive generation has less and less of the original protectors genetic make up in them, and so the original protectors have less and less incentive to protect them.
After a couple of generations there is only a sixteenth of the genetic make-up of the protector in the breeders, and fifteen other involved, smart long lived clever, and ruthless individuals who may or may not decide to take an interest. In the meantime, the more recent generations of breeders who have turned to protector will have a higher incentive to protect certain groups, and so will fight the older protectors, who have lost the same interest.
There are two ways that I could see this working. Protectors protect the interests of not just the breeding population with the same genes, but also the other protectors of the same blood-line. Then the inter-generational conflict is less marked.
The other thing to do would be to do what happens in many societies anyway, which is to keep the gene pool small, e.g. cousin marriages, and in extreme cases, incest. Bloodline is clear(er) and this might work, although it would involve more inbreeding than a Kentucky Hill Farm.
But then I had another thought, and this is what kept me thinking. Why would a super-intelligent creature have to put up with any of this. The logical extension is for the females to breed by parthenogenesis, e.g. from splitting of the ovum to form a viable clone effectively of the mother. This way the infant is not just half of the mothers bloodline, but essentially her identical twin.
Bingo, suddenly every generation is interesting, it's 100 percent you all the time.
Short vicious war to kill off the males, who at this point become a contaminant and threat, and then there is a female / protector only culture.
Anyway, that's what a bout of insomnia gets you. Then I started to think about more of the Niven canon as it were, and one of the things that he talks about is the idea of lucky humans, as though it were something that could be bred for. (Who knows?)
Then I started to think about what luck is. Really, it is the ability to beat the odds, and to know more about what is going to happen next than anyone else? So that set of another thought process. How do we know what is going to happen next? Two of the models of the world involve either everything happening in a completely deterministic fashion, e.g. as the first particles bumped into each other after the big bang, everything that has happened is a cascade of inevitable events that cannot be changed. The other option is that everything that could happen, does happen, but in a kind of splitting cascades of multiple parallel worlds.
So in the first, the universe is a kind of fixed four dimensional sculpture, and we are sliding along its (fixed contours) and we perceive this to be our life. In the second, everything that could happen, does happen. In either case, the only difference is how we perceive reality. In fact there is good evidence that consciousness post-dates action and thought, and not the other way round.
So, if these three thing are true, then what would luck be? In the case of the superdeterministic universe it would more or less be meaningless. There are no probabilities to influence. In the case of the many-world universe, where everything is happening, is it just a case of being able to retroactively assess events to say to yourself that you beat the odds.
This despite that fact that all outcomes happened, you are continuously luckily only as much as the post reporting of your world to your piggy backing mind lets you know that your individual consciousness is still statistically speaking in the sweet spot of the multiple worlds. Keep it up for more than one generation, and in some of the worlds, you have effectively multi-generational luck.
So to breed for this would be an illusion, but a powerful one.
If however, there is only one timeline, and it is variable, and events are random, then maybe the ability to perceive, however it arrives, the collapsing events, and either deduce or influence them might be luck.