The conventional wisdom that human growth is optimal when adequate amounts of all nutrients, minimal infection, and adequate psychosocial stimulation are available is too simplistic. The extensive interacting networks of material, biological, social, and ideological variables that comprise human life give rise to a hugely complicated matrix of factors that shape human phenotypes. There is no single optimal pattern of growth. There are ranges of possibilities with a multitude of local optima within the developmental matrix. The importance of social-economic-political-emotional (SEPE) factors is discussed in relation to new hypotheses of community effects and strategic growth adjustments on human development.