November 20, 2008 3:06am CST
When I'm feeling cynical, I describe philosophy as "a useless pastime for overeducated idiots". But of course we wouldn't have become the species we are without the work of philosophers, even if most of us can't understand a thing the buggers say. So I thought I might try to get a philosophical discussion started for us amateurs. I have chosen one of the great debates: Which is more important, nature, the way we are born, our genetic heritage? Or nurture, the way we are brought up, the effect of our families, peers, and social zeitgeist? I'll be very interested in your responses. Lash
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20 Nov 08
Oooh that is a difficult one. I was heavily brainwashed by my mother as a child, I had no peer group as I was always the outsider and I am not aware of my genetic heritage. So it my case I would say a mixture of nature and nurture. First influence I think was nurture which often over rode my nature but my nature kept breaking through and when it did I was in conflict with my mother who wanted to be the controlling influence in my life. So I would say that my early life was a war between my nature and nurture. Then one day the nurture bond broke when I realised that I had been lied to and the whole nurture thing came unravelled and my nature gained control and has been in control ever since. I think nature is the most important. Yes peer groups and nurturing can overlay it and sometimes suppress nature and may even twist it but I think it is the most powerful underlying force. It was my nature that broke my conditioning in the end and set me free to follow my own path.
20 Nov 08
Then if the conditioning, nurture, can be so easily broken, well, not easily I suppose, but broken, do you think that this is because your "nature" is reclaiming its rightful place? That perhaps we are born with a natural way of doing things which nurture can temporarliy sidetrack but not hold back forever? If that is so, does that perhaps make nature more important? Grandpa
21 Nov 08
Yes I do think this. I know some people cannot break there nurturing and sometimes it can cause them immense trouble but I think that we are born with a personality and a nature that would develop on its own if it was allowed to. The child growing up in the wilderness by itself will still develop a personality and will build their own culture if they survive.
21 Nov 08
Hi Lash, I have been away from Mylot for the past week and just finished responding to your interesting additions to the critical thinking discussion on my site and decided to drop by and check out yours. Your views of philosophers does sound somewhat cynical alright and it is not one I subscribe to...but that would be a whole other topic. So I'll leave it untouched stay on point with your "philosophical discussion." So here goes: [b]Which is more important, nature, the way we are born, our genetic heritage? Or nurture, the way we are brought up, the effect of our families, peers, and social zeitgeist? [/b] In my view...all those co-factors have bearing on who we are and what we become. What trips me up a little is your question about what is more "important." In my view what is more important than any of the internal/external events in any of our lives is what we CHOOSE to do about the hand we are dealt. What many are either not told or forget to remember...is that as human beings we have an ability to choose how we will respond to nature, our genetic heritage, the way we were brought up and the effect of our families and peers. Life is full of walking testimonies to that reality. People born in the most limiting of circumstances rise to great heights "because" of their past, their heritage, their genetics. They used all that occurred as a motivator to change, overcome or transform what had previously determined what they "might" become because of their roots and family of origin. Whether it is in a genetic predisposition to a challenging disability or debilitating health problem, or those who have lived through massive social upheaval and so many other outer circumstances. In the fact of daunting odds they CHOSE not to allow any of outer/inner "definer" determine the outcome of their life path. So in my view the human spirit within the biology consistently revealed that much of what humans conceive and believe...they can achieve. In a nutshell I believe our thoughts, emotions, attitudes and behaviors are far more important co-factors than any of the external ones. Just my perspective of course! Raia