Monday, August 6, 2012

Is Fear Locked into Our DNA?

I've tried to find the documentation on this theory, specifically what I want to mention today, but I'm not able to pull it up again (I read about this a few years ago). I will, therefore, sum up the information as best as I can remember.

In one of my first posts to Castles and Guns, I spoke about how I used to be afraid of something under my bed. I was never truly afraid of things coming from closets or the windows or doors. Just from below.

I have three boys, all still young, and each one has never been afraid of anything from under the beds. Instead, their fears are of what might come through the windows or from the closet or even through the door, but never from below.

I do my best to soothe their fears: keep the doors closed, keep the shades pulled tight and we have a battery of nightlights, but sometimes we still battle the unknown.

I have an old story book I read to my children from time to time, called Book Trails for Baby Feet. It's an older book I love, filled with little poems and stories for children. In one volume, written by Anne Gregory, is a short set of stories of how early Man lived. Including a tale of how people used to live in trees to be safe from predators.

Imagine my surprise when I came across an article that tied together our early ancestor's living with the childhood fears of today. Here's what this article covered:

Yes, for the most part, before man started living in caves, they would sleep in trees. Small nests, of sorts, would be made for the women and children to sleep. The men, ever the protectors, would sleep at the base of the tree and scare off/chase/kill anything that tried to approach.

In this same article, it tied this life-and-death practice with childhood fears. It claimed, that for the most part, young girls tend to be more afraid of monsters from "under" them, whereas young boys are more afraid of what could come at them from windows/doors. That from our ancient ancestors, things we were afraid of or protective of, developed as part of our DNA. When a child experiences similar unknown fears, it is truly beyond their control because it's part of who we are as human.

Now, as with any science, it's not one hundred percent perfect, but it does make you think. At least, I find the coorelation fascinating.

How about you? Do you think this theory has any basis?

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