The following is move towards a formalization of a system of strategic standards, as discussed on top of a small mountain in Big Sur, California, in mid November and over email with one M. Vassar Arc. This is my assessment and extension of his model, which he notes was inspired partially by remarks made by Ayn Rand in various of her writings, and Machiavelli in Discourses on Livy. Additionally, if I was not in Rome with C. McKenzie and A. Gourley, I don't think I'd be able to think clearly on this subject at all.
A strategic standard is a requirement for the "success" of a given evolutionary strategy. This is measured in the level of intergenerational stability that the strategy is able to couple to the type of agency that the strategy is able to reap from the practice of the strategy. To build on the ideas I noticed in Butler's Parable of the Sower and combining them with a rather heterodox interpretation of Ricardo's Iron Law of Wages, it is necessary to understand that the practice of a long-term evolutionary strategy requires that one integrates the means and ends of a given strategy, so that the achievable of a desired end bolsters the means for achieving that end again. Further remarks on the way that strategic standards must be integrated are here.
Substandard: Firstly, we must understand that there is a failure to meet any of the standards at all. There are many behaviors that cease the life of the individual who undertake them, leaving them infertile in one way or another. While there are of course many reasons to remove the fertile capacities of individual organisms for the sake of a collective whole, it is also clear that the capacities of the collective must be enhanced in such a way as to pay for the sacrifice of those individuals fertility, otherwise the collective will run an overall population deficit and decline unto extinction.
Standard of Life: Secondly, we have the Standard of Life, wherein the organism is able to reproduce but not dictate and of the circumstances of life of itself or its descendants. It is adaptable enough to be brought into the world without fear for its safety. It may live a debased existence. It may move entirely through the immanence of reflex, and thus be easily conditioned to serve. Yet, if the organism comes from a line that has met the standard of life it does not need to be afraid that it, itself, will fail to adapt to circumstance. Life finds a way, after all. The transformation may be the most brutish trial and error, but it will be accomplished in sufficient time to reproduce and allow their young to try their hand at meeting the standard of life as well.
Standard of History: Building on the Standard of Life, we have the Standard of History, where the organism in question is able to dictate some of the circumstances of life by being able to control its environment, rather than simply react to its environment in an effective fashion. This is to say, meeting the standard of history is the capacity of making precedent with one's life. One is not able to necessarily define what precedent is made, but individuals who investigated the life of the person that met the standard of history could direct their life according to the precedent set. The Standard of Mythology seems to be a hazy and poorly remembered version of the Standard of History, where no convenient Herodotus is available to begin the process of interpretation, contextualization, and argument derived from biography. By meeting the Standard of History, by doing it their way and saying the things they truly feel, and not the words of one who kneels, they become a life in the record of lives, such that other lives can define themselves in rebellion or immitation.
(As an aside, it seems as though there's a general level of confusion regarding the nature of the Standard of History in the post-Napoleonic period, as Napoleon was only shooting for the Standard of History, and individuals shooting for higher standards are compared as though inferior to Napoleon, when in fact very many of them have done better. The Emperor knew that the only reason to have an emperor was to serve as a vanishing point, something that his few betters knew well. Napoleon was an expression of the fashions of the age, rather than attempting to exceed or direct them. His great genius was to know that the best he himself could do was to live within his means, something that, for instance, Meiji decided to disregard to glorious effect.)
Standard of If: Taken from the Rudyard Kipling poem cited in the title-link. The Standard of History constitutes participation, but not production, of a Hegelian Dialectic. The form of the dialectic itself seems to have to be produced by something other than this standard, something greater than and external to history. The will to name is distinct from the will to embody, for the will to name can name a great many identities that it might be sensible to play, given the circumstance. The Standard of If, then, is the ability to rise to meet circumstance, and to choose which circumstances one might choose to meet, as similar to the wisdom of Cyrus cited at the end of this post. The Standard of If is a sort of extensible, unbounded adaptive capacity. Wheres meeting the Standard of History requires one to fit into circumstance, the Standard of If requires one to shift circumstance by what is demanded by universals.
Standards of Asymptotically Limitless Agency: This is the realm of science fiction, including periods of fairly recent history in which humanity has indeed lived up to its potential by being able to execute on the Standard of If in collectives, rather than simply as individuals. The Manhattan Project, the Moonshot, and the Internet all effectively are remnant artifacts of methods of social organization stronger than If. The keen utopianism of any idealist kid trends towards this, as when one is a child one presumes that one's level of good faith collaboration and labor is likely normative for the whole of an individual's life, rather than normative only for the mind before it is broken by violations of trust. A positive singularity driven by friendly artificial intelligence are the limit as the standard approaches infinity.