Nature and Nurture

Nature versus nurture
The great psychological conundrum
That we ask ourselves each and every day
While we confront the challenges and obstacles
That stand between us and what we want
Obstacles as it turns out
That could simply be teachers and lessons in disguise

But Darwin’s natural selection
And the power of DNA
What we inherit and what we carry
From our parents and their parents
And the generations upon generations before them
Going back to Adam and Eve

Those mythic figures who birthed us all
Who lived in heaven
In the land of the gods
Until they ate the forbidden fruit
And knowledge they were given
And their eyes were now open
And cast out of the Garden they were
All to blame for the snake of temptation
And yet the snake is also divine

This heaven and hell
This battle of good and evil
Which rages inside us all
And the Christian ideology
Which speaks to this age old battle
Between God and Satan
Borrowed from the Persians
As the story of creation
Had Sumer-Babylonian roots

But this is a war of the spirit is it not?
A war of the Soul – a battle for it in fact
Between the forces of good and the forces of evil
At least this is what the Christian tradition teaches us

And yet the East carries a different view
It landed in a different place
To give us the faith in the powers of Heaven and Earth
And the interplay and balance of them both
In the world around us, nature and the heavens
And within ourselves that must coexist
In this very same world
That is constant flux
In constant change
With the search not for sinlessness
But for balance and harmony
In the world of man with the world of heaven

Balance, harmony and acceptance
For the beastly creatures that we all are
As we have been designed to procreate and survive
By the very same Creator
Who granted us, and all creatures, life
Obey the laws of nature they must
Obey the laws of nature we must

And yet the natural laws
The laws of Einstein and Newton
Of Euclid and Descartes
And Copernicus and Galileo
Who risked their lives and reputations
To invert the focus as to where we stand
In this grand universe within which we live

And Bohr and Bohm
Planck and de Broglie
Heisenberg and Schrodinger
Feynman and Hawking
These great minds
To whom these elemental laws were revealed

Guided by intuition
That very blessed moment
Where grace and knowledge
Is bestowed upon the receiver
The great irony of scientific method
As Pirsig so poignantly points out

Upon which the laws of the grand universe
At the cosmic scale are laid out
With mathematical beauty and purity
That illustrate the balance of forces
Which have not just created the universe within which we live
But keep it in balance and harmony

As the billions of stars
Burn bright in the sky
And just as quickly burn out
In massive explosions that can be seen
From light years away
With the grandest of telescopes
Which orbit our planet

And all are the creation of man
With his mind and the collective force of imagination
Guiding this great wave of science forward
And this is Nature no doubt
Understood at least so we think
As we describe it with out various formulas and calculations
As we measure and break apart
These basic elements of the universe
To try and find that very elemental piece
Which underlies it all

But us and we
As we live in this world
And try to survive as best we can
Are given DNA and family and lineages
That are no choice of ours
But we must live within these laws of nature no doubt
While being dealt hands of nurture so to speak

But we are all social creatures
That must learn to live
Learn to thrive in fact
With our fellow man (and woman)
With our families growing up
If we are fortunate to have them
With our friends and peers as we mature into adolescence
Again if we are fortunate to have these

With our coaches and teachers
Who all do their very best
To prepare us to succeed
In this modern era of digital transformation
And automation all around us

And the kindness of the human touch
And the warm words of compassion
Are but dreams and fantasies
In the books and movies that we watch with such glee
Whilst our personal lives
Play out in a much more pragmatic way
Where everyone wants something
And every relationship has a give and take

So nature and nurture I ask then
We are no doubt a product of both
But these natural laws can be bent to our will
As long as we coexist and collaborate
With those around us that support us
And those around us that we must work with
Even if they support us not

So onward we must go then
Into this world full of strife and suffering
And yet joy and friendship too
Can be found within the midst
Of this world of men that we must live

With respect and admiration for those that gave us a fighting chance
To make our way through the darkness and into the light
And to find light in the darkness
And while finding the way ourselves
Help those around us to thrive as well

And most importantly perhaps
To show the next generation
What it takes to survive
With their DNA, their family history and baggage
Combined with their opportunities and their support systems
Which if they are fortunate
Will be better than the prior generation

And Darwin’s natural selection
Will select them apart from the rest
To be happy and content
And have success and thrive
In whatever endeavor they set out to accomplish
And whatever their destiny may be

Be that a question of Fate or Free Will
Or just quite simply a question of will, heart and desire
To make our forefathers proud
Of the work that they have done
And the ground and foundation which they created for us
So that we may have perhaps an easier way
Or at the very least
Start ahead of the game relative to the masses at large
Who struggle and battle
For a warm meal and a place to sleep

So nature or nurture then?
Who is to say?
But one thing is for certain
Never judge a man (or woman)
Unless you have walked in their shoes
For knoweth not
What nature and nurture have provided to them
And what demons they fight
To survive and succeed
In their own world
To make hay while the sun shines
However dim and short that sun may be
As it traverses across the daytime sky of one’s life

And while some may leave scorched earth in their wake
There may be some as well
The special ones that you must seek out and hold onto
Who in their journey through life
Leave flowers and trees and other glorious messages
Of warmth and harmony and love and peace
For those that dare to follow in their footsteps
Or at least have the courage to believe
That their way is just as real and true
Perhaps truer still
Than the way of the grand capitalist
Who seeketh only money and power

And in the end
It is up to you to choose
Which path to follow
With respect for those that came before you
Care and gratitude to those that help you along the way
And shields and swords too
To protect yourself from the demons and dark creatures of the night
That haunt you still even after so much time has passed
Friends lost, lovers recanted
So much rejection
And yet there is love too
If you choose to look for it

It is your path though
And these choices, each and every one
In each and every moment
All combine to be the thing we call ‘life’
Whatever that may be in all its grand mystery
And all that we have been taught – nurture
And all that we have experienced – nature

Feed into these decisions that we make each and every moment
But it is our path to choose
So choose wisely Dr Seuss would say
For oh the places you may go
If you have the courage to explore
While nature and nurture are carried behind you
And a new future is created
That will nurture those that come after you
Into whatever natural world we leave them

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply