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How Do We Know What We Know

A friend was telling me recently about visiting the Monarch Butterfly “landing spot” (my weak term, not theirs) in Mexico recently.  These Monarchs fly 2,500 miles from Canada to a small plot of land in Mexico, but apparently they spend three generations in Mexico before heading back to Canada, where they return to the same tree their great-grandparents came from.

Seriously, wtf.  This blows up essentially every memory framework out there, as it implies that memory is passed down through genes.  

As long as Monarchs are a unique case in this incredible world, then…sure?  But then I learned that Suboscine birds (flycatchers etc, apparently…I’m not much of a bird guy despite deep admiration), when they are raised in sound-proof isolation, can still recite the complex songs that others in their species seemingly learn by exposure.

Still totally isolated and unique, right?  (I have to admit, every now and then I see a plant or animal either in person or online (unfortunately mostly the latter) that I say, “that shit doesn’t belong here, on earth”).  But just as Judaism teaches us that we should learn from every human with whom we come into contact with, I think we have something to learn from every creature we touch.

So, bottom line – Is there room to believe that humans have a genetic memory?

Can you find it possible, even fathomable, that some of the experiences of your closest ancestors are innate in you?  (or, perhaps easier socio-semantically, “instinctual” in you?)


There are so many amazing launching points from there that I decided to…. leave it there for now.  🙂