Is it possible we can direct our own self-evolution within a single lifetime? [our lifetime]
My buddy Rand told me about this thing called ‘epigenetics‘. Essentially the idea is:
A single organism [within its lifetime] can modify its genetic expression within its lifetime.
It seems to make sense. Of course through environment, nutrition, weather, and external factors — the way our body will react/grow/evolve [or even de-volve] will change.
Or more pragmatic matters: lifting weights, intermittent fasting, abstaining from sugars and carbs, cold exposure, heat exposure, etc — all of these things will strengthen us.
How can we mould and sculpt our bodies?
It is evident within our lifetimes we have control over two of our bodily attributes: muscle mass and body fat mass.
If we lift heavy weights, eat lots of protein, we will increase our muscle mass and physical strength.
If we fast, abstain from alcohol/sugar/carbs, we will of course lose body fat mass [adipose tissue].
We cannot control whether [as adults] we can grow taller or not, but certainly simply through exercise and food we can change how our body looks [how muscular and lean we can become].
Can we mould and shape our minds?
It is also obvious that we can change our minds [neuro-plasticity]. Of course you cannot change everything about your personality [certain memories, habits will remain], but you can certainly train yourself to become less fearful [stoicism], you can train yourself to stop being addicted to nicotine [you have the ability to stop smoking, although very difficult], and you can change the way you think based on what you read, the information you consume, and based on your personal reflections and how you converse with others.
What is ‘personal evolution’?
What is ‘evolution’? I think it is essentially an organism changing shapes [randomness and chance, genetic ‘mutations’] over a long period of time, and through ‘natural selection’ certain mutations have proven “beneficial” to us. And thus these organisms have continued to propagate.
But this is the tricky thing:
What is beneficial to ourselves today won’t necessarily be beneficial to future generations of humans.
Who knows — maybe future humans on MARS will have a better ability to withstand cold temperatures, breathing abilities, etc. Or perhaps it will be beneficial to be able to have a ‘slower metabolism’ (so you don’t have to consume as much nutrition while in space or on a foreign planet).
It seems the practical question for ourselves is this:
What traits do you consider advantageous to yourself [in your life right now] — and how can you maximize these things?