[personal profile] oakenguy
I'm very dubious about reincarnation and past lives, but I'm willing to believe that there's some sort of ancestral memory, little instincts hard-wired into the brain after centuries of experience. I'm willing to believe it because I can't see a bucolic foxhunt scene on tv without some wee part of the back of my brain waking up and going "Oh crap. RUN!"

If it is an ancestral memory, then my ancestors seem to have spent a lot of time trespassing on upper-class property and trying not to get caught by their dogs.

Needless to say, this adds an interesting twist to the experience of watching Downton Abbey.

Date: 2013-02-17 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] that.livejournal.com
Ever read Call of the Wild? Jack London wrote it well before Jung suggested there was archetypal memory. The book is about a dog that reverts to a wild state. As he looses his human bonds and becomes increasingly immersed in the wild, he has dream memories of life with proto-humans... huddled around fires, afraid of predators, still themselves half animal. Powerful stuff.

Date: 2013-02-17 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] st-andrews-girl.livejournal.com
Genetic memory has kind of fallen out of favor in the anthropology communities, but there is the concept of a "lizard brain" is still pretty well-accepted. The idea is that there are things that every member of a species (specifically humans here) shouldn't have to invest any time or thought into evaluating whether or not to be afraid of it. Being chased by howling Canidae is probably one of those things.

Date: 2013-02-17 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sepdet.livejournal.com
FWIW, Jung usually didn't suggest that specific myths or memories were hardwired. Rather, he said that there were certain universal patterns in our lives — motherhood, old age, death, getting burned by fire, getting warmed by fire — that are so ancient and so prevalent in human experience that our minds have evolved to synch with, understand, and create symbols that communicate those patterns.

For example, genetics doesn't hardwire us to revere Gaia or Lakshmi, but mother goddess figures are a byproduct of collective psychology, because it's a slight evolutionary advantage to listen to Mom and treat mothers well enough that they reproduce.

So the "lizard brain" concept is basically what he's talking about, except that he's arguing that it may include some adaptations favorable to patterns of human life and community, not just animal-survival information like "that's poisonous" or "use Milky Way as compass when sun is down" (which I'm delighted to learn is hardwired into Egyptian dung beetles).

Date: 2013-02-18 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] temperlj.livejournal.com
I have little to add but that I think all mammals share some core brain parts-that sadly in many cases, humans have "overcome" I think, to their detriment.

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