Should humans be born with ancestors’ experiences?

Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   This is a crazy idea that came to my mind thanks to MyPower 24/7’s comment at yesterday’s Question of the Day. I assume most of you would like your younger you to know the things you know now. What if we were born with the experience our parents had at that point? What if we already had skills and ideas that could help us model our life?

   You probably might think we already do have that thanks to our parents’ advices or things like that, but it’s not the same thing. It’s one thing to hear about a situation and it’s a totally different thing to get through one. In this SF scenario, being born with certain skills and ideas would be the same thing as acquiring them through experience and hard work.

   Honestly, I’m not sure how helpful would that be. It’s like buying a laptop with certain tools already installed. It would be easier to follow the paths already drawn by our parents and that leaves little room for finding and following our own path. Or maybe I see this the wrong way. Maybe it would be easier to have a predefined path instead of searching for our own place in this big good world.

   I guess this differs from one person to another. Whilst some want and try to find their own path, others would like to have everything prepared. Having a predefined plan could be helpful because if everything falls apart, there is something that should work, but looking at how scared people get thinking about the unknown, many dreams wouldn’t exist in the first place because the familiar path is easier and safer to follow compared to diving head first in the unknown.

   Of course, there are parents that have strong skills in certain areas whilst others have none. But we already know life isn’t fair. Being born without skills (I’m not talking about natural talents) somehow makes all of us a little more equal regarding our potential compared to having strong or no skills “thanks” to our ancestors.

   What do you think about people being born with predefined skills borrowed from their ancestors?

21 thoughts on “Should humans be born with ancestors’ experiences?

  1. I think it would be nice. Just because you have the same skill as your parents doesn’t mean you are limited to what you’ll become. If your mom’s a dancer, and you have the same dance skills as your mom when you’re born, you don’t necessarily have to be a dancer. You could gain another skill from your own experiences and interests such as singing. Now, you’ll have more choices to choose from, and you just gotta choose what you really like the most.

  2. This idea is known as Lamarckism after a french thinker and soldier Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who lived at the same time as Darwin. He proposed skills were inheritable. His ideas didn’t stand scrutiny and Darwin’s model of random mutations became the model of evolution we know.

    I recently read an article in the BBC, yesterday I think it was, that reported some recent findings in studies of gene mutation. They seem to think there’re evidence that the effects of traumatic events are inheritable from father to son. They noted several conditions brought on by events in POW camps stayed in the family in the following generations. Maybe Lamarckism will get a comeback in one form or another.

    Apart from genetic heritage, you do inherit skills from your parents, don’t you, by the familiarity with them and the confidence it gives to know you parents can do it. I think so at least.

  3. That’s an interesting concept as we would know a lot but it might progress as we may not want to learn anymore. If people inherit money they don’t always have the drive to work for it.

  4. I haver discovered alot regarding my own past and coming future endeavoures with the archetypal methologys and his concept regarding the collectivce mind.

  5. This reminds me of the Earth Children series, where there are people of the clan (Neanderthal like) and people of the others (more like people are now). The clan people have what they call memories, which are very similar to what you describe. They have the knowledge and experience of their ancestors as far back as they can go, but the knowledge is very limiting and ends up being the reason they no longer exist. They cannot make connections between what is and what could be. They can’t invent new tools and have no knowledge outside of their very limited gender roles. The series is pretty fascinating. I still think the idea of ancestor “memories” very interesting.

  6. This is an interesting question. We have a three-generation household. The skills that allowed our parents to “make it” were different that what my husband and I needed and seem like a different world from what our teen daughters will need. Faith, morality, work ethic and the like can be inter-generational constants, but a whole lot of day-to-day survival skills are no longer transferring.

    1. Since our day-to-day life is changing so rapidly, it is crucial to develop new skills in order to keep up with the change, don’t you thing?

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