I’ve been tracking down dead relatives for the better part of 20 years now. Understanding my ancestors — who they are, how they lived, and what happened to them — has provided me with many insights into the choices and character of my family and others like us. What has really been driving my persistent obsession with the past, however, is the deep sense that we all carry with us remnants of the experiences of those who have gone before us. My thinking is that if we know about our ancestors’ experiences, and the reactions and choices that followed, it will enable us to better comprehend not only why things are the way they are now but also how we might already be uniquely equipped (or handicapped) when it comes to crafting our own lives. As it turns out, I may well be right. Recent research (mice) indicates that DNA memory does exist and experience is inherited. From the article DNA Memory Exists and Keeps Our Ancestors Experiences by Anna LeMind, which was recently published on Learning Mind:
There is no explanation for this phenomenon yet. There is only a hypothesis that the transfer of experience involves epigenetic mechanisms, which depend on the degree of methylation of certain DNA fragments. This in turn leads to the changes in the structure of neurons in the particular areas of the brain. Their new configuration is the one to provide a particular reaction to events.
This means if your grandfather almost died in a fire, that traumatic experience will change the structure of neurons in his brain. and the new configuration will be recorded in the DNA passed to your father and subsequently to you, leading you both to be afraid of fire, even though neither you or your father directly experienced the event. Interestingly, the experience is passed only through the DNA of the male, which I assume means while both sexes receive the memories, the male passes the memory of experiences onto the next generation. In following posts, I’ll introduce you to the men whose experiences may have transferred to me an acute sense of intuition, an inalienable need to create my own destiny, and an inexplicable and instant panic response when venturing into a salty sea past my knees.