In this article we will continue our discussion of DNA, focusing now on the topics of genetic determinism, heredity and free will.
We have been discussing how consciousness affects reality all throughout Cosmic Core. These concepts can continue right on through to the topic of genetics and heredity.
Human beings do not have to be victims to their genes. They have far more power to alter what is activated in their genetic code than they have previously believed.
Learning the truth about how consciousness affects reality can have huge positive impacts on the life, growth and evolution of humanity, individually and as a whole.
Genetic determinism (or biological determinism) is defined as “the belief that human behavior is controlled by an individual’s genes or some component of their physiology, generally at the expense of the role of the environment, whether in embryonic development or in learning.”
To quote the Council for Responsible Genetics: “Biologists have known for a long time that gene expression is complex and DNA does not determine biology, let alone other characteristics of physical and mental health, behavior and intelligence. Nevertheless, over the years, the deterministic model that genes alone define biology has become enshrined as the prevailing paradigm. This dogma was manifested on a large scale in the pursuit of the Human Genome Project. Why do scientists, with the full knowledge that various aspects of the cellular machinery and the environment work in cohort, continue to apply and propagate the DNA mantra? The motivations may be many, but chief among them is the simplicity of the “DNA is everything” model, and the outside commercial and scientific incentives available for such a focus. The application of DNA ideology has led to a problematic construction of race, sexuality, and intelligence, as seen through a lens of genetic determinism and has fostered the belief that for each of us our physical and mental well-being are pre-programmed and reflect the composition of our individual DNA. This scientific interpretation enhances a sense of inevitability and forecloses efforts at promoting social justice by presenting them as futile.”1
The Mechanistic Theory of DNA
“Generally speaking, science still views our genetic systems in mechanical, deterministic, and reductionistic terms, and will continue to do so for a long time.
“A number of scientists — biologists, zoologists, and psychologists, among others — have recently published highly praised books in which they claim to show how our genes manipulate our individual behavior with only their own genetic survival at stake, even when we think we are displaying subjective qualities like altruism.
The idea of such self-centered genetic behavior is much too limited, simple, and “mechanistic”.
The idea of selfish genes also implies a plan on the part of such entities — and so comes dangerously close to contradicting several basic tenets of science itself: among them that life arose by chance, that it perpetuates itself through random mutations and the struggle for existence (or natural selection), and that basically life has no meaning.
As I occasionally do, I’m anthropomorphizing “science” by casting a multifaceted discipline in simple human or individual terms.
But now it seems that when science claims to understand the workings of a molecule of DNA, for example — the “master molecule” of life, as it’s often called — science then states that it’s stripped away the mystery of DNA and reduced our functions to easily understood mechanistic ones.
Grasping the marvelous workings of DNA should instead increase our sense of the wonder and mystery of life.
The DNA lies exposed in all of its parts, but the questions about the life within it remain unanswered.
Why does science want us to live thinking that we’re creatures programmed only for the survival of our selfish genes?
Even the biologists (and other scientists) who insist upon our mechanistic bases do so with feeling!”2
Consciousness forms the genes, and not the other way around!
Heredity, Character & Personality
“Heredity plays far less a part in the so-called formation of character than is generally supposed.
For that matter, [the same is true of] environment, as it is usually understood.
Your cultural beliefs predispose you to interpret experience in terms of heredity and environment, however, so that you focus primarily upon them as prime causes of behavior.
This in turn results in much more structured experience than necessary.
You do not concentrate upon the exceptions — the children who do not seem to fit the patterns of their families or environments, so of course no attempts are made to view those kinds of unofficial behavior.
Because of this, large organized patterns behind human activity often escape your notice almost completely.
You read constantly of people who seem to have been most affected by fictional characters, for example, or by personalities from the past, or by complete strangers, more than they have been affected by their own families. Such situations are considered oddities.
The human personality is far more open to all kinds of stimuli than is supposed.
If information is thought to come to the self only through physical means, then of course heredity and environment must be seen behind human motivation.
When you realize that the personality can and does have access to other kinds of information than physical, then you must begin to wonder what effects those data have on the formation of character and individual growth.
Children do already possess character at birth, and the entire probable intent of their lives exists then as surely as does the probable plan for the adult body they will later possess.”3
Children and Heredity
“Consciousness forms the genes, and not the other way around, and the about-to-be-born infant is the agency that adds new material through the chromosomal structure.
The child is from birth far more aware of all kinds of physical events than is realized also.
But beside that, the child uses the early years to explore — particularly in the dream state — other kinds of material that suit its own fancies and intents, and it constantly receives a stream of information that is not at all dependent upon its heredity or environment.”4
Free Will & Determinism
“Free will is the philosophical doctrine that the individual has the freedom to choose, without coercion, some actions consistent with his or her particular morals and ideals.
Determinism is the opposing doctrine that everything, even the individual’s course of action, is determined by conditions outside one’s will.
Through the centuries philosophical and religious thinkers have created numerous complicated variations of ideas involving free will and determinism, so that neither thesis is as simple as it first appears to be.
Man related the concept of free will long ago to the question of whether he could deliberately choose evil, for example.
He still does. And he still struggles with questions about his freedom before God’s omnipotence and foreknowledge, and whether those qualities cause events, or can cause them, and whether they involve predestination.
Opposing determinism is the idea that man has always fought for his personal responsibility—that instead of being controlled entirely by his heritage, he’s capable of forming new syntheses of thought and action based upon the complicated patterns of his own history.”5
Free Will & the Neurological Structure
“Man possesses free will, but that free will operates only within man’s degree—that is, his free will is somewhat contained by the frameworks of time and space.
He has free will to make any decisions that he is able to make [within the realm of being human and being in present in the specific time and place he finds himself in].
This means that his free will is contained, given meaning, focused, and framed by his neurological structure.”6
Free Will & Fulfilling Potentials
“Each species is characterized by basic impulses so that it is guided toward choices that best fulfill its own potentials for development while adding to the overall good of the entire world consciousness.
This does not curtail free will any more than man’s free will is curtailed because he must grow from a fetus into an adult instead of the other way around.”7
Genetic Structure, Free Will & Determinism
“The genetic system is a far more open one than is usually supposed. It not only contains and conveys information, but it also reacts to information from the physical and cultural worlds.
Free will must of course function in accordance with genetic integrity.
Genetic structure makes possible physical organisms through which life is to be experienced, and to a large extent that structure must determine the kind of action possible in the world, and the way or ways in which volition can be effectively expressed.
The beaver is not free to make a spider web.
In human beings the genetic structure largely determines physical characteristics such as height, color of eyes, color of hair, color of skin—and, of course, more importantly, the number of fingers and toes, and the other specific physical attributes of your species-hood.
So physically, and on his physical attributes alone, a man cannot use his free will to fly like a bird, or to perform physical acts for which the human body is not equipped.”8
But within the realm of being human, a person is able to make any choices they wish to make.
Genetic Structure, Anxiety and a Meaningful Life
“Over-anxiety can confuse the genetic system, and in a variety of ways.
The existence of each of the species is dependent upon trust, indeed a biological optimism, in which each species feels the freedom to develop the potentials of its members in relative safety, within the natural frameworks of existence.
Each species comes into being not merely feeling a natural built-in trust in its own validity, but is literally propelled by exuberance in its ability to cope with its environment.
People have a biologically built-in knowledge that life has meaning.
They share that biologically ingrained trust with all other living creatures.
A belief in life’s meaning is a necessity on the part of your species.
It is vital for the proper workings of genetic systems.
It is a prerequisite for individual health and for the overall vitality of any given ‘stock’.”9
Animals, Genetic Structure & Free Will
“Animals also possess independent volition, and while I am emphasizing animals here, the same applies to any creature, large or small: insect, bird, fish, or worm; to plant life; to cells,atoms, or electrons.
They possess free will in relationship to the conditions of their existence.
The conditions of existence are largely determined by genetic structure.”10
Genetic Information & Probabilities
“The principle of uncertainty must operate genetically, or you would have been locked into overspecialization as a species.
You have genetic systems carrying information that is literally incalculable.
The information you receive from your culture, from your arts, sciences, fields of economics, is all translated, decoded, turned into cellular information.
Certain genetic diseases, for example, may be activated or not activated according to the cultural climate at any given time, as the relative safety or lack of it in that climate is interpreted through private experience.
In one way or another, the living genetic system has an effect upon your cultural reality, and the reverse also applies.
The body is equipped to perform far better, in a variety of ways, than you give it credit for, —but the fact remains that the genetic structure focuses volition.
The genetic apparatus and the chromosomal messages actually contain far more information than is ever used.
That genetic information can, for example, be put together in an infinite number of ways.
The species cares for itself in the event of any possible circumstance, so that the genetic messages also carry an endless number of triggers that will change genetic combinations if this becomes necessary.
Beyond that, however, genetic messages are coded in such a way that there is a constant give- and-take between those messages and the present experience of any given individual.
That is, no genetic event is inevitable.”11
Thoughts & Beliefs Modify the Genetic Structure
“Given the genetic makeup that you now have, your conscious intents and purposes act as the triggers that activate whatever genetic or reincarnational aspects that you need.
At microscopic levels, no one fits any norm, and there is no way to predict with complete certainty the development of any genetic element.
Your thoughts, feelings, desires and intents, your reincarnational knowledge as well, modify that structure, bring certain latent characteristics into actualization, minimize others, as through the experience of your life you use your free will and constantly make new decisions.
The genetic system is not closed.
The genes do not simply hold information without any reference to the body’s living system.
It does not exist, then – the genetic structure – like some highly complicated mechanism already programmed, started and functioning “blindly,” so that once it is set into operation there is no chance for modification.
Genetic events are not irrefutable in a deterministic fashion.
They represent strong inclinations toward certain bodily or mental activity, certain biological preferences.
We are speaking of chromosomal messages.
The information and the chromosomes are a living unit.
The information is alive.
The very physical structures of the cells contain all of the knowledge needed to form a physical body – to form themselves.
In one way or another each living cell is united with each other living cell through a system of inner communication.
“Programmed” genetic activity can be altered by conditions in the environment.
Your genetic structure reacts to each thought that you have, to the state of your emotions, to your psychological climate.
You choose your genetic structure so that it suits the challenges and potentials that you have chosen.”12
Reincarnational History vs. Genetic Structure
“Besides the physical genetic structure, there is an inner bank of psychic information that in your terms would contain the “past” history —the reincarnational history—of the individual.
This provides an overall reservoir of psychic characteristics, leanings, abilities, knowledge, that is as much a part of the individual’s heritage as the genetic structure is a part of the physical heritage.
A person of great intelligence may be born from a family of idiots, for example, because of that reincarnational structure.
Musical ability may thus appear complete with great technical facility, regardless of family background, genetically speaking, and again, the reincarnational bank of characteristics accounts for such events.
That inner reincarnational psychic structure is also responsible for triggering certain genetic messages while ignoring others, or for triggering certain combinations of genetic messages.
In actuality, of course, all time is simultaneous, and so all reincarnational lives occur at once.
In the greater framework of reincarnational existences you choose your roles, or your lives, but the lines that you speak, the situations that you meet, are not predetermined.
“You” live or exist in a larger framework of activity even while you live your life, and there is a rambunctious interplay between the ‘yous’ in time and the ‘you’ outside of time.”13
Free Will, Determinism & the Reasoning Mind
“Any real discussion of genetic heritage must also bring up questions involving free will and determinism, and to some extent those issues must also lead to questions concerning the nature of the reasoning mind itself.
Reasoning, as you are familiar with it, is the result of mental or psychic processes functioning in a space-time context, and in a particular fashion.
To some extent, then, reasoning—again, as you are familiar with it—is the result of a lack of available knowledge.
You try to “reason things out,” because the answer is not in front of you. If it were, you would “know,” and hence have no need to question.
The reasoning mind is a uniquely human and physical phenomenon.
It depends upon conscious thinking, problem-solving methods, and it is a natural human blossoming, a spectacular mental development in its own framework of activity.
Your technology is one of the results of that reasoning mind.
That “reasoning” is necessary, however, because of the lack of a larger, immediately held knowledge.
You reason out your position.
Otherwise your free will would have no meaning in a physical framework, for the number of choices available would be so multitudinous that you could not make up your mind to act within time.
With all the opportunities of creativity, and with your own greater knowledge instantly available, you would be swamped by so many stimuli that you literally could not physically respond, and so your particular kinds of civilization and science and art could not have been accomplished—and regardless of their flaws they are magnificent accomplishments, unique products of the reasoning mind.
Without the reasoning mind the artist would have no need to paint, for the immediacy of his mental vision would be so instant and blinding, so mentally accomplished, that there would be no need to try any physical rendition of it.
You have, however, become so specialized in its use, so prejudiced in its favor, that your tendency is to examine all other kinds of consciousness using the reasoning mind as the only yardstick by which to judge intelligent life.
You are surrounded everywhere by other kinds of consciousness whose validity you have largely ignored, whose psychic brotherhood you have dismissed.”14
And now on to an important topic that needs to be stressed in our modern culture. Racism and corruption are two major scourges of our society. Both of these things need to be pulled up by the roots. Racism stems from a feeling of racial supremacy – most commonly in our history and culture: white supremacy – however there are also supremacies of other kinds lurking in the minds of many.
There is no genetic master race! This cannot be stressed enough. It is high time for this to be recognized and reconciled within the minds of each and every person.
Racism and bigotry – of ALL kinds – destroy everything and everyone they come in contact with – not only those who are discriminated against, but those doing the discriminating.
Racism and supremacy issues destroy humanity. It is high time for these false dogmas to die away once and for all and for humanity to step forward as brothers and sisters of a greater family – not only a planetary family, but a cosmic family – for the greatest good of all.
There is No Genetic Master Race
“You cannot improve the quality of your own lives by destroying the quality of any other kinds of life.
There is no genetic master race.
The very classification of the species into races to begin with is based upon distinctions that are ridiculously minute in the overall picture of the similarities.
The genetic system is an inner, biological, “universal” language.
The cataloging of separate races led you to over-exaggerate the differences between groups, and to minimize man’s biological unity.
Science seems to be of the opinion that the individual is important only insofar as he or she serves the purposes of the species’ survival.
I am saying that the existence of each individual is important to the value fulfillment of the species.
The value fulfillment of the individual and the species go hand in hand.”15
Genetic Determinism & Eugenics
The danger, on the extreme end, of genetic determinism, leads to the idea of Eugenics and Fascism.
Eugenics is defined as “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.”
The word was coined by Sir Francis Galton in the 1880s.
“Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.”16
Early proponents believed that human beings should direct their own evolution through selective breeding. Of course they believed in the genetic superiority of the Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples. They also supported the forced sterilization of the poor. They were Fascists indeed.
Eugenics played an important role in the United States many years before Nazi Germany began Eugenics programs. In fact, Germany’s work was inspired by and based on previous work in the U.S.
In actual fact, the Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.17
Please note, “The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.”18
Other staunch eugenicists were J.H. Kellogg, Charles B. Davenport, Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, Madison Grant, Alexander Graham Bell, David Starr Jordan, and Luther Burbank.
It is quite telling to realize that eugenics had wide support from many different types of groups.
“As in other countries, mild forms of eugenics had wide support, all across the political spectrum. In Norway, eugenic proposals were somewhat more moderate than in Germany but were supported by members of the Norwegian Labor Party, the Liberals, and the Conservatives. ‘Most of them were what we can call Social Democrats in a broad sense…and they were committed to the construction of a social welfare state.’
It may seem paradoxical from our retrospective vantage point that one who thought Hitler a psychopath nonetheless supported a fairly strong form of sterilization – from a liberal, even ‘socialist’ perspective. That is why it is worth reiterating that one of the most important things historians have shown about the eugenics movement was that it had broad appeal to and support from all across the political spectrum, in the service of a wide range of different agendas.
In the United States, for example, eugenics seemed a good idea to capitalist robber barons, the Ku Klux Klan, organized labor, Protestant ministers and temperance reformers, Harvard genetics professors, Progressive Era social reformers, and many more. Scientists were not – at least not all – passive bystanders, wringing their hands over ‘social misuse of oversimplified scientific ideas’. Many of them, such as Charles Davenport in the United States, were leaders of the movement.”19
This white superiority complex had deep roots in the United States and applied to all of its citizens, Northerners and Southerners alike. Even amongst abolitionists who campaigned for an end to slavery, this white superiority complex ran rampant.
“By 1772, color prejudice against blacks was more entrenched than slavery in the 13 original colonies. Even someone like Benjamin Franklin, who would preside over Philadelphia’s antislavery society, placed blacks low on the chain of humanity that people then thought ascended from beast to angel.
After the revolution – and despite its ideas – this careless, almost oblivious white prejudice against blacks began to harden into an aggressive racist ideology.
In the midst of a long passage on black people in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson proposed that black inferiority – ‘in the endowment of both body and mind’ – might be an unchangeable law of nature.
Jefferson’s musing on blacks became a founding document in a new race science that reached its poisonous fruition in the decade before the Civil War. Famed in its heyday as the ‘American School of Ethnology’ its reigning geniuses came from the North, or enjoyed the prestige bestowed on them by elite Northern colleges.
Previously, throughout history, slaves came in all colors and also had the hope of rising out of bondage. In America, however, being black meant being a slave for life, with almost no chance or freedom – even for one’s children. This unbroken circle turned for generations: black equaled slave equaled black.
In the nineteenth century, the race scientists made the circle even more vicious: black equaled slave equaled biologically subhuman.
Types of Mankind, a 700-page book written by white supremacist race scientists George Gliddon and Josiah Clark Nott, confirmed what Jefferson had dared only to speculate in his 1781 Notes. Its rational science supported nineteenth-century America’s confident white supremacist view of itself. Even the heroes of abolition thought whites deserved the status of master race.
In 1857, the Reverend Theodore Parker of Boston, one of the few who would back John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry, wrote in a letter, ‘I look with great pride on the Anglo-Saxon people. It has many faults, but I think it is the best specimen of mankind which has ever attained great power in the world.’
The following year, in one of his debates with Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln observed that whites and blacks were too different ever to live together as equals. ‘I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race,’ Lincoln said.”20
As we have discussed above, genetic determinism is bunk. Not only is it bunk, it is a highly dangerous way of thinking that encourages elitism, racism, sexism, disrespect of life and violence against others.
Wilhelm Reich, for example, “saw the eugenics movement as primarily a tool of fascism and political reaction, with Nazi ‘race biology’ as the epitome of this trend.”21
We will end this article with a quote from Joseph Wood Krutch, one of the more unknown American writers, naturalists and critics of reductionist science.
All the way back in 1929 Krutch was arguing that the modern notions of scientific progress lead logically to a bleak view of the human condition.
“The universe revealed by science, especially the sciences of biology and psychology, is one in which the human spirit cannot find a comfortable home. That spirit breathes freely only in a universe where what philosophers call Value Judgments are of supreme importance. It needs to believe, for instance, that right and wrong are real, that Love is more than a biological function, that the human mind is capable of reason rather than merely of rationalization, and that it has the power to will and to choose instead of being compelled merely to react in the fashion predetermined by its conditioning. Since science has proved that none of these beliefs is more than a delusion, mankind will be compelled either to surrender what we call humanity by adjusting to the real world or to live some kind of tragic existence in a universe alien to the deepest needs of its nature.”22
The point: do not surrender humanity and acquiesce to a “tragic existence in a universe alien to the deepest needs of its nature” but choose a universe where the human spirit breathes free.
- Roberts, Jane, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1981
- Roberts, Jane, Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1986
- Black, Edwin, Eugenics and the Nazis – the California Connection, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 November 2003
- Strick, James E, Wilhelm Reich, Biologist, Harvard University Press, 2015
- Farrow, Anne, Lang, Joel, and Frank, Jennifer, Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, Ballantine Books, 2005
- Strick, James E, Wilhelm Reich, Biologist, Harvard University Press, 2015
- Krutch, Joseph Wood, The Modern Temper, 1929