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EP Today – Making society better by ignoring the top shelf?

I recall sitting in a gym writing my final exam for sociological theory. It was an undergraduate course but the professor was waaay above average. He covered the “Big Three” classical sociological theorists (Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim) along with some lesser lights and the cultural climate in which they all lived.

So this morning I remember what it might be called when someone confuses spirituality with social effervescence. Durkheim came up with the term effervescence:¹

According to Durkheim, a religion comes into being and is legitimated through moments of what he calls “collective effervescence.” Collective effervescence refers to moments in societal life when the group of individuals that makes up a society comes together in order to perform a religious ritual. During these moments, the group comes together and communicates in the same thought and participates in the same action, which serves to unify a group of individuals. When individuals come into close contact with one another and when they are assembled in such a fashion, a certain “electricity” is created and released, leading participants to a high degree of collective emotional excitement or delirium. This impersonal, extra-individual force, which is a core element of religion, transports the individuals into a new, ideal realm, lifts them up outside of themselves, and makes them feel as if they are in contact with an extraordinary energy.²

Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim (Wikipedia)

Durkheim, as innovative as he was (in 1897 he was the first to use statistics and method to try to understand and improve society),³ is guilty of vulgarizing spirituality. Spirituality is not some kind of electric force generated by bodies in close proximity. It comes from above and brings a higher purpose to life.

Spirituality may permeate bodies but to confuse social excitement with spirituality is, imo, sadly inadequate. It’s like chimps trying to figure out algebra. It just won’t happen.

¹ Durkkheim wrote in French. See this discussion about two different French terms for power, puissance and pouvoir.

² http://www.iep.utm.edu/durkheim

³ As far back as the ancient Romans, census data was collected but this was to facilitate ruling and tax collection. In his 1897 work Suicide, Durkheim tries to link social data with four different types of suicide. Something like a doctor of society, he tries to “diagnose” social problems rather than using stats for ruling and taxation.

 Protests, Parties, and Sports Games All Fill the Same Human Need (nymag.com)

 marx’s ideas keep coming back with a vengeance (3quarksdaily.com)

 Politics as an opium of the masses (rappler.com)

 New Depeche Mode Video: Where’s The Revolution (wxrt.cbslocal.com)


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Humans and Neanderthals – forever apart


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Scientists Finally Admit There Is a Second, Secret DNA Code Which Controls Genes – The Mind Unleashed

English: The human genome, categorized by func...

The human genome, categorized by function of each gene product, given both as number of genes and as percentage of all genes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is something I’ve heard about in different online discussions. Nice to see a good, clear article on the topic!

Scientists Finally Admit There Is a Second, Secret DNA Code Which Controls Genes – The Mind Unleashed.


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Deep DNA memory theories: Can we remember our ancestors’ lives?

DNA originally uploaded by gravitywave at Flickr

DNA originally uploaded by gravitywave at Flickr

By Steve Hammons

Research into the nature of DNA has revealed that this material within each cell of our bodies has important implications for who each one of us is, on many levels.

In addition to determining our physical characteristics, our vulnerabilities to certain diseases, and maybe even our personality, is it possible that the DNA helix holds some of the important memories of our ancestors?

Theories that suggest that we can tap into the deep nature of DNA to uncover ancient memories are not new. In the 1960s, some psychological researchers claimed that there may be keys that unlock our DNA, revealing experiences of generations of our relatives who lived long before our present time.

In the 1988 movie ALTERED STATES starring William Hurt, the main character, a research scientist (Hurt) dives deep into his consciousness and genetic roots. In the film, he not only relives ancient experiences of his ancestors, he actually changes on the biological level.

This film was reportedly based on the real-life research of prominent psychologists and medical researchers of the 1960s and ‘70s who used isolation tanks and pharmacological triggers to access deep DNA memories and experiences, which they claimed were real.

These ideas are similar in a way to the concepts of past lives and reincarnation. However, this DNA-related line of thinking focuses on the previous lives within us that are based on genetic memories, encoded on the DNA helix within us.

BLUEPRINT, MEMORY BANK, INNER SPACE

The DNA within all living things is the blueprint for what each organism becomes, subject to the environmental influences that can also have significant effects.

For humans, recent discoveries about DNA are rapidly changing our views about the importance of this material. DNA may affect us much more significantly than we imagined. And, it may hold keys to further discoveries.

It has long been known that our physical appearance is determined by the combination of DNA from our mother and father. Now, researchers are confirming that certain diseases and disorders have direct links to our DNA. Our health may be programmed to some degree by our genetic history.

Our IQ and aptitudes, musical skills, athletic ability, even our psychological and emotional traits may be significantly affected by the DNA within us.

It has been demonstrated that experiences necessary for survival of a species are learned and that this knowledge is passed on to subsequent generations. In some cases this is mostly likely at least partially through DNA and the unconscious “instinct” that results. Even tiny and simple organisms learn crucial survival skills and pass these on.

For humans, with our relatively complex brain, feelings and memories, what other kinds of experiences might be saved in our DNA over the many thousands of years when our ancestors were born, lived and died? And, can they be accessed by us here and now?

OUR ANCESTORS WITHIN US

Because learning about situations that are necessary for survival of a species are probably saved as a kind of unconscious genetic memory, those fundamental human experiences could be deep down in our DNA somewhere.

Let’s say you have always had a significant fear of bears since you were a child. Even Smokey the Bear and other friendly Hollywood bears could not convince you to regard bears with anything but anxiety and fearful feelings.

Maybe it is possible that deep, deep within your DNA memory banks, your great-great-great-great-grandmother or great-great-great-great-grandfather had a very bad experience with a bear two hundred years ago. Maybe they saw someone be killed by a bear. Maybe they had to climb a tree to save themselves from being eaten by a bear.

Would a life-changing experience like this, resulting in knowledge very useful for survival, possibly be encoded in the DNA and passed on to future generations and you?

If there were a way to go deep down into your mind and consciousness, and into your genetic history, maybe through some kind of altered state like a dream or through some kind of trigger, could you recall and experience that event?

Could you relive and re-experience in some way great-great-great-great grandma’s or grandpa’s harrowing and hair-raising close encounter with a hungry bear two hundred years ago?

What about some similar “peak experience” or life-changing event of an ancient relative five hundred years ago? What about five thousand years ago? After all, we know that at least some part of that history is inside all of us, right in the DNA in every cell of our body, right now.

WHAT WE KNOW AND DON’T KNOW

Scientific researchers are gradually uncovering the secrets of our DNA. They have identified the functions of and relationships between some of this material. Many genes remain a mystery and their purpose is unknown.

Sometimes, these mystery genes are called “junk DNA.” According to some researchers, this may be an inaccurate label. Because the purpose and nature of this DNA material is not understood, it certainly does not mean it is useless junk.

As is often the case in scientific discovery, the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Each question answered can raise many new questions.

For some, our human overconfidence and even arrogance can sometimes trick us into believing that we know all of the answers.

However, in the field of genetics research, there seems to be so much that is not known, that for an open-minded person, these kinds of theories about deep DNA memories cannot be ruled-out.

To conduct our own personal research and to find out for ourselves, maybe all we need to do is listen to our inner DNA.

Listen to the voices, feelings, sights and experiences of our ancestors. Their lives, joys and fears are within us. In that way, they are with us always.

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.