So it's pretty well known that we are a combination of nature and nurture.
Nature is our genetics and our hormones--it's sort of the innate material that make up who we are.
Nurture, of course, is all those external influencers, like parents, friends, teachers, religious figures, experiences, etc.--that shape us.
In a way, it's hard to think of ourselves as a product of nature and nature, because that sort of removes our conscious free choice in the whole matter of who we are and what we do.
For example, if someone is a raging lunatic, sociopath, serial killer, because they have a brain or hormonal defect and grew up in a broken and abusive home(s), then the question is, well how can you really or fully blame them for their actions--is it really their actions?
Don't we have to ask ourselves how much control does a person have over themselves if they are physically and environmentally predisposed to be a certain way--even a very socially unacceptable and hurtful way?
This is where the courts and justice system come into play in looking at things such as whether the person is even competent to stand trial (e.g. the insanity defense) or are there mitigating circumstances to reduce the person's culpability.
I would imagine it is quite difficult to exactly judge the level of self control that a person is or should be able to exert given their individual set of nature and nurture.
And even if the person isn't fully in control of themselves, does that help the victim or their families who are still left reeling from the harm and/or loss caused to them by the perpetrator?
Yet it is uncontested that people are driven by nature and nurture, and just in today's Wall Street Journal, there was a discussion of the influence of a person's hormone levels on their personality and behavior.
- Generally, more testosterone makes a person aggressive, while more estrogen makes them sensitive.
- Similarly, dopamine makes people more energetic, while serotonin makes them more sociable.
So there is nothing inherently "wrong" with you for being a certain way...that's your makeup, but you are responsible for how you manage yourself given what you've got.
In other words, where you have lemons, you've got to make lemonade!
In a nutshell, we are truly a combination of our genetic makeup, a bunch of chemicals, some environmental molding, and the exertion of our willpower, faith, and belief in what's right and wrong.
What happens when you mix these altogether, you get you and only you! ;-)
(Source photo: here with attribution to skeeze)