Some theorists believe that the essence of who we are is based entirely on our genetic makeup. That is, they believe that our DNA and our genes determine our physical appearance and our entire personalities and ways of being. These theorists support the argument for nature.
Other theorists believe that the essence of who we are is based entirely on our previous life experiences. That is, they believe that our childhood experiences and everything that ever happens to us determines who we are as people. These theorists support the argument for nurture.
In reality, the argument isn’t really for one side or the other. People are a mixture of their genetic makeup and their life experiences. But, what if there was something more to it than just that? Here’s the essential question:
If you were born with the same exact DNA as someone else and also raised where that person was raised – given every same exact experience in your life – would you be a clone of that person? Would you be exactly who they are? Take a minute to think about it.
So, would you be a clone of that person, or is there something else uniquely you about you – something that goes beyond nature and nurture? There are two possible answers to this question:
- Yes, you would be an exact clone. You would be the exact same person as someone else if given their genetics and exact experiences. Well, if that’s the case, can you then find compassion for those with whom you do not get along? Can you find understanding for those with whom you disagree? Can you find peace with accepting others for who they are?
- No, you would not be an exact clone. Instead, there is something unique and ineffable about you. Beyond nature and nurture, there is an unidentified third element that accounts for who you are. Would we call that spirit or soul? If that’s the case, then we are compelled to ask what the nature of that spirit or soul is. And, is it not made of the same material as others’ spirits or souls? Perhaps in that, we can get in better touch with our truest nature and sense of self. Can we find compassion and understanding in that for others?
Plato cautioned that we ought to be kind to everyone we meet, for they are fighting their own unique battles in life. Maybe with a little compassion, we can begin to give others the benefit of the doubt that all of us here who walk the earth are doing the best we can in our own individual lives. If you would like to talk to someone to explore the meaning behind your answer to this essential question, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health counselors.