Mutations and experiences

In the classical genetic model, you get genes from mom and dad, and they got them from their parents, and those genes stay almost identical from generation to generation — with the exception of a few random mutations here and there. Inheritance is mostly a solid and unchangeable thing. But epigenetic inheritance suggests that a person’s experiences could lead to directed molecular changes on top of his or her genes in very specific places. And those molecular changes could, in turn, get passed on. It suggests that someone can inherit experiences. Epigenetic inheritance is an extra layer suggesting that someone’s experiences may affect how his or her children and grandchildren use their genes. That clashes with everything that has been understood about inheritance since Darwin and Mendel.

Susannah Locke

bentImage by Josep Stuefer on flickr


Mysterious Motivation

While most people see their own lives as having meaning, they also find it easy to see lives different from theirs are empty and meaningless, without motivation. Teens often see this about most adult lives, and adults often see retired folks this way. Many see the lives of those with careers that don’t appeal to them, such as accounting, as empty and meaningless. Artists see non-artists this way. City dwellers often see those who live in suburbia this way, and many rural folks see city folks this way. Many modern people see the lives of most everyone before the industrial era as empty. We even sometimes see our own lives as meaningless, when our lives seem different enough from the lives we once had, or hoped to have.

Robin Hanson


The word “mysticism” is used in very different senses; for instance, in the sense of a certain kind of theory or teaching. According to a not uncommon dictionary interpretation, the word “mysticism” includes all those teachings and beliefs concerning life beyond the grave, the soul, spirits, hidden forces in man. Divinity, which do not enter into the ordinary and recognised religious teachings.

But the use of this word in such a sense is quite wrong, since its fundamental meaning is thus destroyed. Consequently, in this book the word ” mysticism ” will from now on be used only in its psychological sense, that is, in the sense of special states of consciousness, and ideas and conceptions of the world directly resulting from these states. And if it is mentioned in another sense, i.e. in the sense of certain theories, the fact will be specially noted.

P. D. Ouspensky in A New Model Of The Universe

Silhouette in the Lonely World by Easa Shamih (iZZo) | P.h.o.t.o.g.r.a.p.h.y, on FlickrImage by Easa Shamih (iZZo) | P.h.o.t.o.g.r.a.p.h.y on flickr

Myth and conciousness

MOYERS: How do we transform our consciousness?
CAMPBELL: That’s a matter of what you are disposed to think about. And that’s what meditation is for. All of life is a meditation, most of it unintentional. A lot of people spend most of life in meditating on where their money is coming from and where it’s going to go. If you have a family to bring up, you’re concerned for the family. These are all very important concerns, but they have to do with physical conditions, mostly. But how are you going to communicate spiritual consciousness to the children if you don’t have it yourself? How do you get that? What the myths are for is to bring us into a level of consciousness that is spiritual.

Joseph Campbell, Bill D. Moyers, Betty S. Flowers in The Power of Myth

Swamp Foxtail seedsImage by John Tann on Flickr

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