- Genetic instincts, such as the “flight or fight syndrome” and intuitive thinking [gut reaction to the environment] 30,000 years ago were the behaviors of survival.
- Our ancestors departing Africa some 30,000 years ago to spread throughout the world and the hunter gatherer groups reacted to different environments which caused epigenetic modifications to genetic expression and consequently behavioral change, as more emphasis on well-being filtered our basic instinct for survival.
- During the agricultural revolution about 12,000 years ago, tribal groups begin to form communities in support of a more dependable food supply.
- The more dependable food supply gave time to upgrade quality-of-life by focusing on happiness and well-being.
- Since that time, from a great variety of perspectives and beliefs there has been an almost constant effort to increase well-being. As basic economic and political needs were met, well-being increased as measured by major global polling over the past decades.
- Conclusion, since our genes have not significantly changed, due to the slow process of evolution over 30,000 years ago, our feelings of happiness and well-being must be due to epigenetic mechanisms modified by our environment, which changed genetic expression without altering the DNA sequence. These epigenetic modifications cover a wide variety of environmental influence, such as diet, toxic environment, perspective, beliefs [placebo effect] etc.
- Summation; our subjective well-being is a combination of the genetic happiness inherited from our parents, over which we have little control, and epigenetic therapies, over which we have some control.
The above background founded on the science of behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology, are the basis of the six books I have written over the past 20 years. It is the purpose of these books, written for the common reader, to provide a practical self-help means to improving happiness and subjective well-being. While I believe that some improvement in well-being can be derived from the books, it is a reality that into each life some rain must fall. For it is only in suffering that we can recognize happiness.
Opinions and insights, are welcome and will be posted if desired.