Hereditary Fears

Genetic memory figures significantly in this particular blog (you can read more about it at Wiki or through this short BBC report) but for a real quick & dirty version – genetic memory is the concept that some events can alter your genes and then you pass this altered copy to your progeny. Your kids, despite having no personal negative experiences with Cherry Blossom trees, could feel a strong but undeniable fear when confronted with the smell of Cherry Blossom trees (your gene altering event). Now, a little more background …
Jan Jansen, a gnome from the computer game Baulder’s Gate, would sometimes ask the all important question “What? Is there a griffon about?” Because, as you know, if you are familiar with both gnomes and griffons there is quite a size difference and well … gnomes are probably tasty to griffons. Plus the concept of a large flying predator snatching up small things without warning and eating them is, to put it simply, a terrifying yet fairly common idea. To further support that claim: I once overheard a diminutive yet articulate six-year-old explaining a nature show in great detail to an much larger and easily impressed 5-year-old. He concluded his synopsis of the show with the comment that “Eagles eat mice … and leprechauns.” He said it with conviction and no one tried to dissuade him from his belief in leprechauns or their caloric benefit to eagles. Now, to the point of my post …
A few years ago my wife and I were in the car, she was driving and I was in the passenger seat looking out the side window. I turned my attention back to the road in front of us just in time to see a long sinewy shadow surf across the macadam. And in that instant, my blood ran cold. It was only the second time in my whole life that I had ever felt heart clenching fear. It was then that I realized that my ancestors had been gnomes … or leprechauns.  

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