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Nature and nurture

by | Dec 3, 2013 | Blog, Society | 0 comments

I take the point in the comment to the previous blog entry. It is true that apparently siblings from a similar social and environmental background can disagree violently, as in the English Civil War, the Irish Civil War and the Spanish Revolution which split families.

But the background is never exactly the same. A child will have different relationships with its sisters and brothers as well as its parents depending on the time it is born. It may also have a different education and respond in a different way to the environment.

Some say that it is all in the ‘genes’ but that is a modern way of saying nature is paramount. But there is no such thing as a gene for ‘criminality’ as that is defined by the laws made by a government in a particular territory. It is widely held that to break certain laws made by the Nazi regime in Germany or the apartheid state in South Africa is generally a ‘good thing’.

Nor is there a ‘selfish gene’ as widely held in the West.If a neo-liberal society like ours encourages selfishness then people will tend to be selfish. But in a society which values mutual aid people will tend to think of others. As we are social beings it is largely our society which makes us selfish and violent or co-operative and gentle.

It is not therefore a question of ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ which is most important but the interaction between the two.