Talk:Racial memory

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Similar concepts[edit]

Racial memory, genetic memory, collective unconscious, and morphic resonance are similar (but not necessarily the same) concepts). This article is in need of some referent or source citations, as noted therein.

Some scientific research in the field has yielded evidence re: genetic memory. I will supply some examples when I can get to it. --Blainster 21:51, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

It would probably be best to leave out reference to James V. McConnell's work on planarians (flatworms), since his results were not perfectly reproducible. RJCraig 05:38, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

NPOV and weaselspeak[edit]

I am adding an NPOV tag to this article because I'm not seeing much scientific skepticism. So far, there are a lot of weasel terms like "it has been hypothesized" and not a lot of actual, reliable references as far as the pro-racial-memory arguments go. The POV that racial memory may be pseudoscientific is given only a cursory "this hasn't been scientifically proven" for representation. We should look for some articles that attempt to debunk racial memory and add that POV with references because, as it is, the article does not adequately convey that the theory of genetic or racial memory is controversial. --InformationalAnarchist 7 July 2005 16:41 (UTC)

  • yeah its a big problem. I've tried some editing on it, but i can't alter the supposed 'biological proofs'section as its not my field, and i don't know the survey used. Perhaps the theory of how the brain is 'wired'could be enhanced? Pydos 15:26, 31 August 2005 (UTC) signing off.

Scientology[edit]

Inspired by the discussion on 'weaselspeak' I added 'scientology'...the ultimate in tenuous logic (yes i know its a religion...and non have proof. I'm not being POV here) Pydos 15:44, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Merge with Race Memory[edit]

I think we should add Race Memory to 'racial Memory' assuming we can make this NPOV. Informationalanarchist has a point here about how it how it fails to show just how controversial the theory is - perhaps after the merge that could be resolved. Pydos 09:51, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

The merge does mention that that genetic memory has "no scientific evidence" to support it, which is good, but the result of the merge is an apparent dichotomy between racial and generic memory, and there's a lot of repetition now. This needs to be cleaned up before we can clarify the discussion, and we need to be clear on whether the more usual term for the concept is "racial memory" or "genetic memory." This means that we need to discuss some changes here and figure out re-directs and re-writes to make the merge smooth. I'm going to throw a cleanup tag on the article for that purpose. --InformationalAnarchist 03:19, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Jungian example in Racial Memory section[edit]

Consider, Jungians argue, an individual with a fear of heights. Racial memory would suggest that perhaps this individual's genetic ancestors met a dastardly fate due to a fall; ergo, this "racial memory" of the danger of heights causes the individual to fear them.

Um...unless I'm missing something, how would an individual who met a "dastardly fate" (ignoring the question of how falling to one's death is treacherous or cowardly) manage to have any descendants? Isn't there a better example than this? RJCraig 07:03, 27 December 2005 (UTC)


So, does anyone which of Jung's work discusses racial memory. I'd like to give it a read. This article explains the idea using a Darwinian evolutionary model, which I don't think is correct. (That is to say that my understanding is that Racial Memory is non-Darwinian by nature, not that I think that Darwinian evolution is an incorrect concept.) --Dwcsite 19:49, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Maybe The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious?
In order for racial/genetic memory to be amenable to scientific study, it must be assumed to involve a physical representation or process. Transmission of this information from one generation to the next brings the topic within the province of genetics. The only way Darwinian evolution can be irrelevant is if it can be shown that the information is passed on in "junk DNA" and that this DNA is not subject to normal selectional constraints. RJCraig 03:48, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


Having read Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, I think this article is unfair in it's representation. Jung merely makes a case that some psychological aspects are univerally held and, being common to modern man, have some basis in being inherited. He most certainly does not make suppositions about what this mechanism is. How can one debunk a mechanism that is undeclared? There is no citation on the Jungian section, and I will hopefully find some time to put together a more conclusive and cited piece of the article. Athemeus 19:10, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite suggestions[edit]

Wouldn't the "Hypothetical biological explanations" section be better placed under "Genetic Memory"? How about adding a section entitled "(Purported) Examples" to collect/list the phenomena which are cited in support of the idea? (Or would the use of "purported" be POV?) The more I read this, the worse it seems; is a total rewrite out of the question? (Unfortunately, I am neither a genetic biologist or psychologist.) RJCraig 05:29, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

~ Maybe "Hypothetical causal mechanisms" since there is no scientifically validated mechanism that would explain the causation required by this, or any other lamarkian evolutionary process. --Dwcsite 21:23, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Source?[edit]

"others have claimed to have observed the action of genetic memory in the behaviors of chimpanzees and bonobos who have demonstrated the abilities of their ancestors (such as using a rock to open nuts) even when isolated from them without the opportunity for direct learning."

This seems to similar to to this hoax. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundredth_Monkey

Lamarckism and Possible Merge[edit]

Added a more skeptical tone to this article by putting in the appropriate references to Lamarckism. I've added the "merge with Lamarckism" tag at the top of the page because I think it's important to note that this is merely a new age pseudoscience rebranding of something that's already been largely (though not fully) discredited in science.

Coricus 10:57, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

First Paragraph[edit]

Just thought I'd drop a note to say that I removed the word "discredited" from the first paragraph because it seems largely redundant (given that the following paragraphs describe how it is discredited) and slightly POV (the emphasis that it gives is very perjorative). Good luck with the rest of the article. --84.64.93.157 10:55, 13 August 2006 (UTC)


Use of The Term 'Race'[edit]

This itself is controversial. One can argue that Michael Lewontin has proven that there is no such thing as 'race' or biological sub-species in modern living humans. There is not enough genetic variation to speak of subspecies.

If they are 'ancestral memories', why call them 'race memories'? That seems very archaic.

how about calling it "inherited" memory? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.205.91.3 (talk) 00:45, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
I think the fact that Jung called the idea "Racial memory" kind of stamps that name on it. Calling it something like "inherited memory" means we then have to hunt down all sorts of tangentially related ideas and incorporate them into an article, which (IIRC) avoided deletion purely on the grounds that it had to be kept since it was one of Jung's theories. I think writing up an article on "ideas kind of like Jung's theory of racial memory" would be WP:OR, since (again IIRC) no such secondary articles turned up last time anyone looked. Pete.Hurd (talk) 05:56, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

science fiction section[edit]

The science fiction section is maybe sort of entertaining but not of much relevance to an encyclopedia article about a nonfiction subject. How about squishing it down to a sentence or so, just saying that the theme has appeared in some fictional works. 67.117.130.181 00:19, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

How about shortening it to a couple of sentences as you said and setting up a separate page for the subject's use in film and print?--Poshzombie 00:56, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I was the the one who deleted it, perhaps hastily. I was emboldened by this edit by another editor on Mass Driver. I think sections like this (ie X... in fiction) are a magnet for non-notable cruft. Any suggestions for a guideline, perhaps that could be added to Wikipedia:Notability (fiction)? My suggestion would be to enforce a strict requirement for references that are not the primary source itself. - MrArt 08:33, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the list may detract from the seriousness of the actual article. Would you disagree with putting it in a page by itself? The only reason I'm hesitant about deleting it all together is because I believe these types of lists cannot be created anywhere else on the net given the sheer number and diversity of contributors on Wikipedia. People who work in fiction can use these lists to see how a particular subject matter or plot device has been used in works that they'd never be aware of otherwise.--Poshzombie 17:36, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and put it in a separate article. - MrArt 06:49, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate that. Thanks!--Poshzombie 19:14, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Jung's biography ...[edit]

... states very clearly that he was uncomfortably enthusiastically in bed with the Nazis until 1944. He explained his involvement away with "only did it to preserve psychoanalysis during the 3rd Reich", but not many critics believed him. Therefore, having a Racial based theory sold on Wikipedia as suitable for human consumption based on Jung's (of all people) work makes my skin crawl. Guess Wikipedia would be better off if the article would have been deleted or merged into Jung's main article. HagenUK 20:37, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd have been happy with deletion. FWIW, as far as I can tell "Racial memory" might better be thought of as "Ancestral memory", in that the concept doesn't seem to refer to "races" in the present use sense, as in race. What little I could find on-line (before deleting most of the material in this article) made reference to "Jung's concept of Racial Memory on X's artistic output" for various people X. I could find no clear citation to a reference where Jung's exposition of this concept could be found. So I cut it down to a stub. I don't see anything here which might be seen as propagandizing a racist theory, but I'd be a whole lot happier if this were to have some verifyable sources... Pete.Hurd 20:55, 19 March 2007 (UTC)