Sunday, August 2, 2015

Genetics versus Environment in Behaviorism

Behaviorism is influenced by many cultural contributions anthropologically speaking including upbringing (kinship system and family relationships), religion, political environment, economical resources, and other environmental contributions such as musical and educational influences. 

In this pop psychological world we currently reside in, in the Western World there has been an overindulging in focusing on genetic and DNA influences on behavior and more specifically, BAD behaviors and supposed addictions. Some leading experts are even starting to blame bad attitudes, laziness, and sexual behaviors on genetic inheritance.

Environment and Genetics both have influence on humanity. However, as I've always believed, it is about a 50/50 split. While a human may be predisposed to certain weaknesses, DNA is not a blueprint for concrete life long behavior and outcome. Behavior is a result of choice. While there may be some natural inclinations preprogrammed via DNA and environmentally learned, the individual still has the power over both his or her mind and body. CHOICE is what fuels our world. And choice comes with self-responsibility. That seems to really frighten socialists who believe we can throw money at poverty and it will magically go away. Poverty will be eradicated when every individuals takes full responsibility for self. 

However, for some it is easier to believe they "can't help" something because change is a scary thing. Imagine a person who was raised in poverty; which behavior is the easiest to follow: a) to sit on the sofa watching TV all day and collect welfare or b) bust his or her butt and work 2-3 jobs while putting the self through night school to finish a college degree? 

I believe any life can be self-changed. It can be molded, repaired, recast, or evolved in any direction the mind chooses. The brain is the most powerful machine on the planet. As a super computer, its synapses can rewire themselves SIMPLY BY THE POWER OF THOUGHT. That is truly the basis of all forms of self-development: to change the mind changes the behavior, which changes the outcome. This is actually a far better definition of social evolution: "self evolution".

For the religious, often they cripple themselves by falsely believing all their Creator expects of them is to pray about an issue and take zero action. I call these doctrine "poverty is a blessing" Sadly, I know hundreds of certain sect Christians who can't even feed themselves because they truly believe God is anti education, anti self development, and anti prosperity. "Poverty is a blessing" is one of the most horrific belief systems I can imagine. In speaking about the Great God who gave Solomon great wisdom along with great wealth and power, it is false to its very core. Poverty is not a blessing from God.

Environmental episodes throughout life can have crippling effects on some people. They tend to get into these cycles of self-pity, failure, and like a broken record, keep replaying the early life "programming" they received. The mind functions very much like a computer. Input in, behavior output out. Only by changing the "programming" can a person alter  his or her life. It is possible. It may  not be easy but ANYTHING is possible where there is a will.

Genetics is something a little beyond our control at this time in history. While there may be things that can cause an inclination to addictions, by studying one's ancestors and knowing what weaknesses lie there in (alcoholic addiction for example) one can make the conscious choice not to drink. Genetics by itself is not a life sentence to failure. It might make the journey a little more challenging though.

The debate among social and physical scientists regarding environment and genetic influencing factors on behavior will rage on however individuals can rest assured they are part their ancestors inheritance and part a product of their environment, but their final "product" of their being is based on life choices and self controlled action.