Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nature Nurture

Who hasn't been fascinated with this question? How much of our lives are shaped by whatever we were born with, and how much is our life shaped by our education, work, and training?

There is no unanimous answer to this question. I think that they shift back and forth at different stages of our life. How so? When we are in a school, we are influenced by our classmates as much as by whatever subjects are being taught. When we have jobs that have certain expectations of us, from uniforms or dress codes to how many clients we need to see in a week to required attendance at business associations, we find our behavior following the rules. There too, there is the peer group pressure that influences us to go for certain goals or certain kinds of entertainment.

In the nurture department we have not only the shape of our bodies, but our genetic makeup which predisposes us to like certain tastes, smells, visual effects, music. Some people grow up in touchy feely environments where it is natural to hug and kiss, while others grow up in colder environments where PDAs are frowned upon. Some people feel that our genetic makeup is how our sexual orientation is determined.

I picture the yin/yang symbol in 3D like a ball that is always spinning, sometimes showing us the nature side, sometimes showing us the nurture side.

So the bottom line question comes down to how much do we have the ability to shift these two spheres? How stable is the combination?

Consider, how easy was it when you lost that job where you had to wear a suit and tie, and now you can go to work in a jeans and T shirt? Didn't take long to get used to it, did it?

Same as when you suddenly developed an interest in mantra, tantra, drumming, dancing, herbal remedies, crystals, reiki, tarot and past lives. Gradually, you found that many, maybe most of your friends have changed, the kinds of entertainment, food, music and clothing you choose, all fits in a different scene.

How fast things can shift, you know? See what I mean about the nature nurture slipping around? So maybe instead of one or the other winning, they just keep changing places at unpredictable intervals. Kind of ends the whole argument, doesn't it?

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