A New Genetic Memory for Our Species

Human babies are born with the innate ability to mimic the facial expressions of the people around them. Experiments were conducted with new born infants where the mother waved her tongue and the infant was able to duplicate the action.


The ability to mimic a facial expression is an example of a genetic memory with which we are born. In short, stuff we are born knowing how to do. If the knowledge of how to mimic facial expressions can be genetically imprinted in our brains, why not calculus or String Theory or The Constitution?

Our species has gone through eras where society, culture and/or knowledge have been lost in large catastrophes. Subsequently we had to start from scratch every time. What if people were simply born with all the knowledge they needed to live in our society? It would certainly safe guard our species from the next culture erasing catastrophe.

On a lighter note, perhaps people could be born with the latest and greatest education in ALL fields. Each human being an expert at Math, Engineering, The Humanities, Languages, Philosophy, you name it. This knowledge would become as basic to our species as the ability to regulate heart rate or breathing.

Follow me on Twitter

19 thoughts on “A New Genetic Memory for Our Species

  1. Sally Forrester

    If it were possible to be born with all of the knowledge needed to survive in our society it would have been a great thing to have in place a couple of generations ago. Think about it, would you want a generation made up of million of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus clones running around? Humanity would be doomed even sooner that it will be.

  2. Chris Morran

    There are so many ancient societies that have been lost that we would have benefited from if we had been able to inherit their knowledge and wisdom. But then there’s been the last century that only a fool would want to have retained any cultural memory of. The technology advancement OK, but the rest… no thank you!

  3. Garry J

    Love the post, especially your lighter side suggestions. Personally, I’d be happy if just common sense were passed on. Too little of it, and less with each new generation so before long it will be non-existent.

  4. Jasmine2015

    I kind of like the idea of being born with knowledge. At the same time, not all we learn is absolute truth. Knowledge also has a tendency to change as we find new evidence. I guess what I am trying to say is that knowledge is fluid and cumulative and nothing is set in stone.

  5. Alex

    I think when we are young we have to trust our surroundings and that’s why we mimic what we hear and see. However, it’s not only children, but some adults that don’t have a high IQ follow others, what they see and how they behave.

    The old phrase; people are like sheep does ring true. In tests you can watch people follow one another. If someone one stands in line, suddenly others will join, or if people see someone handing out samples (a job I used to do) all it would take is a few people and everyone would crowd around and follow them.

  6. CrowdedHighways

    If everyone was a doctor/mathematician/engineer/philosopher, where would we find the farmers, the fabric workers, the janitors, even the trash collectors etc. that we still require? Although it is possible that all these great minds would be able to come up with a solution to these problems.

  7. Potatoman

    There’s a big difference between a baby being able to copy a facial expression and understand maths, physics or other subjects :p Some people are simply able to understand areas in life better than others. There’s a chance that baby could be fantastic as maths but it might not come from the parent. It also makes life a little more interesting with the wait for the child to grow up and see what their hidden talents and interests are. Wouldn’t it be a little dull for every child to be good at the same thing?

  8. turtledove

    I think that if everybody was born with the knowledge needed for life, everybody would be too clever. The fact is, in our society, there are more intelligent and less intelligent people – that’s how it works. If everybody was the same, then everybody would be fighting over the same jobs, the same payments, the same lives. It may mean that overall our society is safer, but it may lead to it also being dangerously unbalanced.

    1. edustadar001

      That’s true. I agree with you. Every person on earth is an individual. If all people would be “more intelligent” and no one is “less intelligent”, how can it be possible that the more intelligent people are still more intelligent if no one is less intelligent. Everything needs a counterweight.

  9. juanperez1990

    This could backfire greatly. Call me an elitist, but not everyone can be/is meant to be a winner. We need losers. Ying and yang. Who would work labor? Who would clean toilets? It would all come down to who you know and not what you know creating segregation. Dynasties would rise etc.

    1. kate

      We already have a trend towards that now. The jobs being replaced by automation aren’t skilled jobs like doctors or philosphers, its the smaller jobs, manufacturing, warehouse automation, and more recently Amazon looking at replacing delivery drivers with drones etc. The problem is that there’s nothing arising for the people out of work to do. Fewer jobs, fewer ways to earn money, and fewer ways to socialise.

      If people can be created with all the knowledge they need, will this advantage be available to everyone, or only to the rich, resulting in a greater split between rich and poor, and less social mobility as it is a start that people without it can’t match. Isn’t there also an issue of free will, as the children cannot consent, and also one of just how fast technology moves: will the information they’ve been imprinted with still be relevant by the time they are adults? If they are imprinted with languages for example, consonental shift and changes in slang over time would possibly render much of what they learn obsolete. In the 1980’s children would have been imprinted with the ability to read paper tape. We can’t predict where the future is going.

      And since children cannot learn everything, isn’t this a case of the parents being able to choose which careers their children should have by selecting which skills they get imprinted with, resulting in misery if the child then wants to do something else.

  10. The Saturn Embassy

    While it’s always nice to speculate about the potentials of our species, I still believe that the best course of action is the simplest. Create and invent things that make our lives simpler. Not so much
    easier, but simpler. Like children with their simplistic wisdom in the minds and bodies of growing, functioning and aware adults, create a reality that is in sync with that.

  11. Coolbutlame

    I think you could teach basic number building to a baby and have them ready for multiplication and division by kindergarten. However, I think string theory would be a bit of a stretch for a baby’s mind. I do believe babies can grasp more extreme concepts than we give them credit for, but fun is the best part of the developmental stage. If we don’t let a child be a child, there’s going to be early cynicism introduced, which is not good for society.

  12. SirJoe

    There was a theory that babies would start learning in the womb and there were many future mothers that would play audio books to the future baby. I don’t know if it had any positive results.

    1. oportosanto

      Babies to learn in the womb, it’s a matter of playing audio books as you mention or other sort of teaching materials. We all know that babies recognize the voice of the mother when they are born.

  13. Polaris

    While mimicking is not exactly knowledge per se, more like the ability to copy and obtain knowledge, but enhancing mimicking capabilities we could have children with unparalleled learning capabilities not only with Calculus and Physics but also in martial arts and sports. These children would be able to pick up any hobby they like and master it by observing a master, imagine sending one of these children to watch Kasparov play chess, or a master artist paint/sculpt.
    Although I’m prety sure tampering with human DNA is still out of the question until we know more about our own biology.

  14. lisasian86

    Being born with super knowledge might make no difference at all to the survival of the human race, you would have to take individual personality into account aswell, imagine having a load of super intelligent humans who were also unethical and immoral but they possessed the knowledge to do anything they could think of. Scary.

  15. oportosanto

    Yeah, we might be born with super knowledge and super capacity, but ironically enough we don’t have the capacity to express ourselves. When we do have a full grown body all that knowledge seems to be forgotten inside ourselves. This is life!

Leave a Reply