Let me tell you about an experiment that will blow your mind.

There’s this experiment, where lab mice where conditioned in a certain way. A bell would ring, then the mice would get an electrical shock. I know, a lot of you right now are thinking that this is unethical, and I agree with you, the experiment is not very recent, but stay with me for just a minute here.

The shock experiment was conducting on the lab mice for a period of time until they gave birth to newborn mice. Those newborn mice were also exposed to the electrical shock experiment. Same thing happened again, they kept receiving electrical shocks after a bell rings until this second generation of lab mice gave birth to a third generation of lab mice. The third generation of mice had the same experiment conducted on them as well until they gave birth to the fourth generation of lab mice. Here’s where it gets interesting. The fourth generation of lab mice were not exposed to the electrical shock treatment. They never heard the bell, and they never get electrical shocks. However, when they heard the bell rings, they flinched. Let that sink in for a second. How is that even possible?

This experiment shed the light on a fascinating scientific concept called epigenetic memory. A huge part of our memory is encoded in our genes throughout our lives. When we pass on those genes by the act of procreation, we pass on the epigenetic memory print that we have. You hold within you, the memory of all your previous ancestors, and you have access to it as well.

Let’s talk about another mind blowing fact.

Our conscious brain processes information at around 120 bits of information a second. So on an average basis, this is our processing capacity. However, research have found, that our processing capacity, as limited as it seems, can go up to 11,000,000 bits of information a second. Ben Stewart gave a metaphor for us to really see the difference saying: “ Just imagine the difference between winning 120$ and winning 11 million dollars, that’s the difference we’re talking about.”

Let me give you one more mind blowing fact.

There are some individuals, who had serious brain injuries, they had one entire hemisphere of their brain removed. So we’re talking about almost half of their brain that’s still operating. Those people, with half a brain, were able to live a normal life. They went to school, they graduated, they worked, they dated, they loved, as if nothing happened. This is all thanks to a neurological process called neuroplasticity.

Now let’s get back to the original question, is the human potential limitless?

I’m not going to answer this question, Roger Bannister is. In the early 1950s, there was a scientific belief, that no human being is able to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. We’re not talking about speculations here, we are talking about a scientific fact, a logical interpretation, a rational analysis, of the human capacity, and our inability to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Roger Bannister came along, and he broke the 4 minute barrier. He ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Amazing right? It gets more interesting. Since the dawn of humanity, no human being was able to run a mile in less than 4 minutes, until Roger Bannister did it. A few years after he broke the 4 minute barrier, more than 10,000 people were able to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Does that answer your question?

The human potential, defied science, rationality, logic, even gravity.

Commonly, in relationships, people might change their entire life to satisfy the need of maintaining the relationship with their significant other. The desire of sex expression in a sense of making love, and the concept of love itself are the most cognitive stimulating experiences in a person’s life. A teacher of mine back in high school can stand as a solid example. Coming from a low income family household, growing into a personal low income household, he met a woman that changed his life. After a relationship that lasted for a couple years, he proposed. She was more than happy to marry him, however, she insisted on getting her father’s blessing. As sad as it was, her father asked, how can you take care of my daughter and potentially her child if you can barely take care of yourself? Today, he is a university professor, a high school teacher, and a lawyer that belongs to upper social classes in terms of household income. The reason behind his success was not a desire to acquire wealth, but a desire to acquire love, a desire to be with his potential significant other.

Nonetheless, as strong as love can be, a question arises. Can love turn into hate? Depending on how severe the emotional trauma is, love can indeed turn into hate. However love doesn’t disappear instantly, it gets suppressed behind our emotional behavioural system that once again wants to avoid pain and acquire pleasure.

In extreme, but often recurring experiences, emotionally charged breakups can lead to suicidal thoughts and acts. Reflecting on existentialism, finding no meaning, people might likewise engage in suicidal acts or thoughts. A denouement direct correlation is obvious. Emotional analogous trauma leading a person to lose his significant other is the equivalent of a person not finding a meaning in life, even further inexorable, as the meaning that once filled the void of existentialism is non existent anymore. A significant other, reciprocally guided by the stimulation of love, can spawn a meaning to exist.

A paramount principle also arises when it comes to the meaning of life and our existence, do we, as human beings, possess the freedom we deserve? During the Age of Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed the pre-existent Theory of the Social Contract. The theory can be traced back to Socrates, and many other thinkers such as Hobbes and Locke. From a freedom standpoint, the Social Contract Theory predicates implicitly, human beings giving away part of their freedom, to belong to a broader society. But why give up our freedom for society? We as human beings are social animals, we are, by instinct driven towards society. Whether a person is extroverted or introverted, society is one piece of the puzzle that makes a person’s life complete. However, can society limit or impose a meaning to our existence? And if it wasn’t for society, would we even think about the meaning of our existence? Would it matter?

When a person is looking for his why, he s trying to identify himself as a unique individual serving a purpose in life beyond the personal scope. If society disappears, by default, you become unique. Nonetheless, even without society, a person will at one point think about why he exists, and where he came from, and where he’s going.

When people think about how the universe was made, from an atheist standpoint, even though science came a long way, there are still some loopholes from which surfaces question marks. These questions are still to be answered, and the askers don’t dwell on the absence of clear answers, as they belong to a society that shares the same problem. It is a question that nobody has the answer to.

On the other side, on a lower scale example, when a person starts developing feelings towards another person, there is always the dilemma of sharing those feelings. The challenge rests within accepting rejection. We do not want to share our feelings concerned by the probability of the other person rejecting us, and thus breaking the hope we had to share intimate feelings with a potential significant other. When we are in the state of not knowing whether the other person feels the same way or not, adding the fact that we can not ask them directly because of instinctive and self protective mechanisms, we start sinking in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The reason why we dwell on this question way more than the previous universe related question, keeping in mind that the latter is in principle much more important, is because it is a personal question that we do not share with society as a whole. It is a personal and intimate problem that only we can solve.

Dwelling on the meaning of life can be reflected on from a social influential stance. The meaning of life is unique for each and every person, it is not a broad question that society as a whole share, it is not a question to which there is only one right answer. If society disappears, so does the meaning to exist. If life does not exist, and the only form of life remaining in this universe rests in you, then meaningful turns into meaningless.

For us to discover our human potential, we need one simple thing: Meaning.

You can call it meaning, you can call it purpose, you can call it your why… it is the key to unlock your human potential.

Friedrich Nietzsche says: “He who has a why to live, can bare almost any how.” And this speaks volume.

Meaning, backed by desire, belief, and faith, can unlock a potential inside of you that you were never aware of.

We can be phenomenal beings, if we just believe it.