Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture

Over the last month or so I have begun thinking in earnest about he nature vs. nurture debate. Are we who we are because of how we are raised and the influences during our life or is there something predetermined about it.

I have been a whirling microcosm of the debate for a long time now and I had always settles on the "it is both" camp because it made the most sense. Sure, we have genetic predispositions to things, but we also have free will. Of course our DNA might light a path but our experiences and exposures ignite us and direct us also.

Recently I have started rethinking. Now don't get me wrong -- when I say rethinking, I don't mean to say that I see either side of the issue as purely persuasive. I don't. I still know that both components are essential. But after watching children and adults really closely, and even thinking about myself, I think that I come down a whole lot more on the side of nature these days. If you take a bunch of little kids, all given the same schooling and brought up in the same general area (thus minimizing the different influences...yes, I know that family is a big part, but I'm not convinced that it is enough to counterbalance this argument) and some will naturally gravitate to certain things -- games, tv shows, skills etc. It just seems to me that some kids are "naturals" at some things that others could never master no matter how many years of training and practice. I don't think I could ever have been good at math. I might have been better with the right instruction, but I was brought up with 2 siblings, same schools, under the same roof, with the same parents, and yet they just clicked with the math/sciences and I didn't.

I'm not saying that I know exactly where on our dna strand there is a gene for "skill at sewing" or "liking spicy food and scary movies" but it's there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm no expert, but...

well, actually, not "but" anything. I'm just no expert. I guess I've started to see that more and more recently. Even in areas where I know some stuff, I don't know the names fo the experts, the buzz words and the newest trends. Part of it that I just don't care. i do enough to get by and am happy being simple, ignorant and like that. When I get angry and hate stuff, it sometimes shows enough knowledge to have drawn angry conclusions and that's why I rarely get angry about politics. I find it too difficult to understand and therefore to care about.

But what gets to me is that while I can fake my way through a superficial conversation, there is just so much stuff I don't really know. I watch my friends who can have in depth discussions about business, politics, religion and sports -- they know names, dates and facts. And they make references and think in directions I can't follow. I feel like I'm barely hanging on, even when they talk about things I'm supposed to know really well.

So what do I know? Very little. What do I care? Not much more.