You Suffer for a Cause

Do you believe you have been dealt a particularly bad hand. At life? That somehow life has greater hardship in store for you than others? For the moment let me not even debate the veracity of your claim. Let’s accept for a moment that you are correct. Could there possibly be a purpose to your suffering. No I don’t mean you will suddenly wake up one day and discover that you are the son of god. It would be wonderful if you did. For now let us accept a more hum drum reality. Your suffering is to help your future generations. Confused? A little patience and I will attempt to clarify.

Researchers have found that your experiences leave a genetic imprint. They tested this theory on worms. Worms were chosen because of their short lives. In a matter of months you could go through several generations. You could therefore test the effect of experiences on genetic mutations. A particular worm was engineered to glow at a certain temperature. Later when shifted to a cooler climate they seemed to retain the memory of the warmer climate. They would still glow despite the lower temperature. Surprisingly new generations learnt to glow despite never being in high temperatures. They had genetically adapted.

Scientists have found similar reactions in humans. Off spring of those who had been in concentration camps showed lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is what is secreted to help you cope with stress. It was as though they had adapted and were better able to deal with stress. In simple terms this is nothing but Darwins theory of evolution at work. The ones that can adapt survive.

So the next time you think your life is hard, stop. It is for a very good cause. That of making your progeny stronger. My apology you didn’t get to be the son of god in this life. Perhaps your great grand daughter will get that honour.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.