This may be far-fetched, but then again maybe not. I read today with great interest about new science of epigenetics (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1951968-1,00.html#ixzz0dBhr39ND) that has proven that powerful environmental conditions (near death from starvation, for instance) can somehow leave an imprint on the genetic material in eggs and sperm. These genetic imprints can short-circuit evolution and pass along new traits in a single generation.
I could not help but ask myself what would happen to the next generation if we all laughed as a form of exercise, every day? The logical implication is that they would be happier (and so would we, right now). Happy people don’t go to war very often.
There’s evidence for example that lifestyle choices like smoking and eating too much can change the epigenetic marks atop your DNA in ways that cause the genes for obesity to express themselves too strongly and the genes for longevity to express themselves too weakly. We all know that you can truncate your own life if you smoke or overeat, but it’s becoming clear that those same bad behaviors can also predispose your kids — before they are even conceived — to disease and early death.
If this applies to smoking and eating, why not to laughter as well?
I’d echo that with the words of world-leading Geneticist Kazuo Murakami who said “If we can prove that people can switch genes on and off by an emotion like laughter, it may be the finding of the century which should be worth the Nobel Prize or even go beyond that.”
The times they are a-changin, that’s for sure.