Nature or Nurture


It is the old question: Nature or nurture? Fixed or fluid? Blank slate or paint by numbers? Yeah, I know I have written on this before. Following my when-metaphors-attack style post yesterday, I thought I would try another attempt at this vexing question.

On birth, we receive a slate and an eraser. The size of the slate and the variety of chalks varies amongst us. The slate always comes with some drawings already on it; sometimes faint, sometimes strong. The eraser can often remove some (perhaps even most or all) of the existing drawing, but the eraser is not always as effective as it could be.

It is probably more true to say that we come pre-wired rather than hardwired. That is, we may have strong tendencies but we may be able to change them (re-wire). Of course, such re-wiring can be difficult, expensive, and is, itself, prone to problems.

In short, while we may have limits, we can often surprise ourselves. However, rewiring and redrawing takes effort and it there is no guarantee the result will be more pleasing than the start point.


One Response to “Nature or Nurture”

  1. Direct Says:

    My experience and my observations point towards nurture. I’m a non white filmmaker who works with non whites subjects. I’ve noticed that kids adopted by level headed traditional white families tend to do quite well in the real world. They did well because solid values were instilled into their makeup. Adoption may cause some identity issues but weighed in the balance these kids turn out well. This post is so politically incorrect…but true.
    [DU: While I am not a blank-slater, I do believe nurture can do a lot of good (or bad). A solid sense of values is definitely a good start to handling life’s challenges.]

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