Lysenko did not actually believe that inheritance of acquired characteristics
occurred in humans.
For human beings the aesthetic capacity is created by Mind (theoria) operating in both creative and critical modes and passed on biologically through the inheritance of acquired characteristics
. "The imagination is the result of heredity.
The "inheritance of acquired characteristics
" was Lamarck's proposal for the source of innovation in evolution; that is, an organism might spontaneously change some physical characteristic in response to a threat or an opportunity, and that change would be inherited.
Spencer's phrase for this process was "the survival of the fittest." Spencer's application of Darwin's natural selection to societies was inappropriate because, in order to see examples of evolution in human history, Spencer had to adopt the Lamarckian view that acquired characteristics
(thrift, energetic activity, aggressiveness) can be inherited.
In both the instances mentioned here--the inheritance of acquired characteristics
and the primal horde theory--Freud, as always, looked to authorities for support for his hypotheses.
However, Lamarck's old basic ideas of acquired characteristics
had been unrecognizably distorted over the years and have fallen on evil days.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), from whom Lamarckism draws its name, suggested that there are two trends in nature: an upward, unidirectional trend of complexification (orthogenesis), and the inheritance of acquired characteristics
("use and disuse" for Darwin) that would explain an organism's adaptation to environmental conditions.
From the outset, Italian eugenics; unlike eugenics in Britain and the United States, promoted a neo-Lamarkian view of evolution--the belief that the inheritance of acquired characteristics
and natural selection cause a species to evolve--rather than a Mendelian one which would have held that physical particles passed from parents to offspring, determining traits of all organisms and guiding their evolution.
The Nazis exploited Germany's alternative science movement for the horrific policy of "race purification." The Soviet Union imposed Lysenkoism--the notion that acquired characteristics
can be inherited--on its scientific community.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston say they have shown that bacteria can somehow adopt genetic traits in response to a particular environment, then pass on these acquired characteristics
to their offspring.
Such thinkers, for example, combined Lamarck's theory of acquired characteristics
with Spencer's and Darwin's ideas about the evolution of morality and incorporated them into the concept of a created and "divinely instituted process" that would lead to a perfected humanity.