Components of Change

One of the great questions is what allows us to change, what allows us to attain physical and mental stature in order to achieve great feats? Some point to evolution and call it quits from there. Some point to genetics and feel that adequately solves the question. Some, like myself, like to push further than the accepted “norm” and delve into other possible avenues.

When we look at the “average” person we see the typical traits and abilities found throughout much of the human species. But then we look more specifically and we find feats deemed “incredible” by the common human being successfully executed by fellow humans. Just look at high level bodybuilders, gymnasts, martial artists, people that swim across ocean straights, composers, artists, dancers, and so on. Many people look at such humans doing feats that are deemed beyond normal human capabilities and state they are gifted/talented and much of it comes from genetics. Though it is true that part of it certainly has to do with genetics, not all of it has to do with select bloodlines.

Many butterflies have colors that allow them the most opportunity to adapt and handle the local environmental demands. In areas where the sun is more directly hitting the earth, the temperatures are usually higher. Butterflies in those regions have adapted by growing with lighter shades of colors, colors that reflect light. In areas where the temperatures tend to be cooler, the butterflies grow with darker shades of heat absorbing colors.

The butterfly caterpillars do the same thing when it comes to color. Of course, their colors and patterns are also there to attract mates and camouflage them from predators. The interesting thing is when you find a caterpillar of one species that has a completely different coloration than others within the same species. We are all familiar with albino creatures that lack pigment. Well, when we look at many creatures within the insect kingdom we find color variations within single species far more often than with other kingdoms. The question is why.

Many insects can be dramatically altered in coloration even when almost all their kin are colored the same. Researchers found out that the insects containing different colors from their kin were missing a hormone. Back in the early 70s it was discovered that odd colored insects in the butterfly and moth families were lacking a hormone. When they were given that hormone they changed color to match the rest of their species. Truly amazing, but again, why?

During that time, and throughout the decades, it has been found that the missing hormone might not be a mistake or some fluke of nature. It was discovered that the odd colored insects were usually darker in hue. Most insects do not live very long. This gave rise to looking at the surrounding environmental conditions. The insects that were born on cool days in areas and seasons that are typically warm for their species’ habitat seemed to lack the coloration hormone. This made them darker so they could absorb more light and heat on cool days. So it was found that those insects were/are able to change at will based upon their specific needs founded upon their immediate environmental conditions. Some insects change their color and design growth simply by visually seeing their environmental surroundings and adapting their growth to the best suitable camouflage!

What about the beaver habit of being primarily nocturnal when so many old stories of the very early trapper era spoke of beavers being active by day? Perhaps they did not change their bodies so dramatically like an insect, but to change their activity time from day to night, is pretty extreme for a species. Again, why?

Beavers were heavily targeted during the trapping era for their fur and meat. They also cannot migrate easily from one location to another like the wolf for instance. Once a beaver lodge is found by trappers the beavers are in trouble.

Over time the species actually began to change its lifestyle from diurnal to nocturnal in response to the heavy attack on them by humans! It is said this was noted to first appear to be happening where trapping was heaviest. As beavers slowly migrated to safer waters it is thought that they communicated to fellow beavers the dangers they encountered during daylight hours. Eventually, across the country, beavers shifted daytime habits to nighttime habits to survive. Was this a simple method of teaching from parent to young or was there actually some genetic response that kicked in for survival? Even today most beavers are primarily nocturnal though I have witnessed in the last 40 years that some are actually moving back to diurnal hours for their activities. Again, quite fascinating!

So what about humans? Personally I don’t believe for a minute that we evolved from apes. Look around at everything that has evolved as a species through the millennia. The original species, the older version of the newer species no longer exists, hence the purpose of evolution. Evolution replaces the older version with the newer version for the purpose of survival. Once a newer version has been created there is no need for the older version. The last time I looked both chimpanzees and apes were still existing upon this earth with humans.

Do humans evolve and if so, why? If we look at the average human 200 years ago most were shorter than the average human of today. Sure the movies make it look like humans of those times were huge and powerfully built, but when you look at reality, you find all the clothing and even armor of the time to be sized to much smaller bodies than today. Have you ever noticed that kids in school just get bigger and bigger as the year’s progress? Some say the simple answer is better quality supplements and nutritional intake. Yes, there are more poisons today than back then, but the fact is that people today on average eat better than 200 years ago. There are two main reasons for this. 1) steady availability, and 2) more awareness on food cleanliness. This slowly increases size from generation to generation. Mothers are more healthily fed and so their offspring are stronger. Again, on average. Those kids grow with better foods and they have kids and on the chain goes. OK, so this takes care of availability.

Some people are “naturally” bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, etc than other people from a very young age. We can guess that this comes down to genetics as well as the availability of proper nutrition. If you lack certain nutrients while growing, or are exposed to certain toxins it will prohibit normal growth. Why, what do those things prohibit? Proper hormone production. Back to the caterpillars.

Part of the above average human feats can come down to primal genetics while part comes down to the intake of proper nutrients and avoidance of toxins in order to acquire the highest level of healthy hormone production. Hormones equal growth. Just like scientists giving odd colored caterpillars a specific hormone to change them back to their species’ natural color, humans too can be physical, mentally, and emotionally changed by altering the hormone production. And today we have the major and blatant, but also clandestine, hormone war waging today.

But is that it? Is that all we need to look at when speaking of humans evolving in a way to complete “amazing” feats above and beyond the abilities of the average person?

Insects can change their growth from very early on by feel and sight. They desire to survive, and so change is based upon the want to survive. Humans also have the ability to change because they desire to change. Sure genetics can help in this process depending upon how one wishes to change. However, could the desire to change, the genuine gut, and primal desire be all that is necessary to evoke change?

Personally, I had to change in order to survive. I had to become smarter, quicker, stronger, more accurate, more aware, more aggressive, higher willed, and better in the realms of adaptation, or I would not have survived my training and work. It was the availability of need and internal desire to change in order to become something that would endure, survive and surpass in accordance with my environmental conditions, both natural and artificially induced. This sheer will to change to fit the state of my life forced my brain to trigger my endocrine system into producing the appropriate levels of hormones so that physically, mentally, and emotionally I could meet the necessary changes. But since many of those changes that happened during my training years in the late 80s were forced, my body has paid for it in the long run. Obviously, not all that changes is beneficial…

Our evolution is slower, much slower than that of insects because we live longer and have the ability to manually change our external environments to suit our needs. We can build houses, grow food, control our surrounding temperatures and so on. Because we have the ability to change what is around us we require less need to change what is within us. Creatures that do not have those capabilities need to change themselves in order to survive. This has always been a web-work to which all life within all existence is bound to.

In my mind the three most powerful tools of species and individual change are 1) genetics- the need of our ancestors to change in order to survive, 2) availability of nutrition- in order to feed the physical components of growth and sheer desire, and 3) mind dictating the body. Each of them is based upon the control and level of function surrounding the hormones and or chemical structure (such as within plants) of the life form.

As intriguing as all that is to me, the outstanding question remains, how can we evoke change in a disease that science knows nothing about, like ME/CFS? This question remains especially potent considering the severe increase in pollution and global stress being created by our societies. The irony is that the medical field that is trying to heal disease and increase health in the population, relies heavily upon the very industry that pumps out immense global pollution. Crazy world, crazy time, but what else is new…

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Adaptation is so vital.
Such a thin line between calm and chaos.
Change is how we can transcend states.
Definitely a pertinent topic for so many things happening right now.

Thank-you for sharing.
I don't believe that a lot of people like gymnasts, speed skaters, etc., exist only because of genetics.

Personally, if there's one attribute that I would want for every child it's this: Motivation. With motivation even Joe Average can become a superstar. I lack that in myself, but have seen it at work in my children and others. If you're motivated (and it takes lots and lots of practice) you can often outdo the more "gifted" in our species. Of course I'm talking about humans, not species found only in nature.

Interesting read. Yours, Lenora
the idea here:

" I don’t believe for a minute that we evolved from apes."

is humans and apes have shared ancestors. All evolved through time, in terms of changes in the frequency of genetic alleles. All evolution is, is changing alleles over time, which can be measured.

"I had to become smarter, quicker, stronger, more accurate, more aware, more aggressive, higher willed, and better in the realms of adaptation, or I would not have survived my training and work."

Finding myself older, and dealign with the ME, all those qualities listed there are becoming less and less significant to my life.

Hopefully I"m becoming more aware, but even that isn't a linear trajectory, frankly.

I'm still trying to figure that part out: what does it mean to be less smart, less accurate, less willed?
Hi @Rufous McKinney. We often have to change tracks in life....learn how to adapt to a situation whether we like it (or want to) or not.

It takes time, yes, but the things of yesterday become less and less important than the things needed today. Even old age brings this adaptability into play. Perhaps some people are better at certain stages of life, I don't know, but I tend to work with what I have available today.

I can remember when I had to slow down and become used to being sick. At first it was heartbreaking and then the new me took over. I put the skills I had then (if not too ill) to work and became proficient in keeping myself occupied with something worthwhile, not making my family feel too responsible for my happiness, interacting with people as much as I could and somehow things began to slot into place.

I'm not saying that life is always perfect; we both know it isn't, but you know it does go on and we still find some things that interest us. For our own well being, we have to. You will, I know it. Yours, Lenora
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