Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nature, Nurture and Fate

One often ponders about what exactly the secret of life is -what causes success, failure, happiness, suffering, social fame or ignominy. Is it Nature, Nurture or Fate controlling life inexorably and invisibly?
The answer would depend upon who gives the answer. A newly-born baby enters the world with genes inherited from his parents. If, in later life, he is afflicted by any serious illnesses which are linked to his abnormal genes, a genetics specialist might simply look at the problem as one emanating from his genetic architecture. He would grow up and learn that nothing much could be done to alter the condition.
It has been observed that nurture, too, has a big role in shaping life. Behavior, personality and attitudes get influenced by the social environment in which one grows up. Children from broken homes who witness or are subjected to aggressiveness and physical violence or those who are born to alcoholics or drug addicts sometimes develop abnormal behavior patterns and attitudes in their later life. Nurture, in some instances, appears to script one’s success or failure story. Sometimes, the correlation is too obvious to be ignored. Of course, one also comes across occasionally how tenacity and hard work more than compensate the negative impact of nurture to achieve success.
Those who believe in astrology follow horoscopes which not only forecast future but also suggest how the stars in unfavorable positions can be appeased so that harm does not come one’s way. A man – suave and intellectual, who never believed in astrology, was in deep love with a woman but his parents would not agree to their marriage unless their horoscopes matched. The man was ready to do anything to win her hands. When he found that the stars did not approve the marriage, he bribed the astrologer to make the horoscopes match somehow. The marriage did take place but they did not live happily ever after. The man ended his life after 30 years of marriage and I do not know how he and his father both now in Heaven might be looking at the turn of events in retrospect.
A fatalist, however, believes that whatever happens in life is inevitable and it owes to his fate. A rationalist might not accept this; if everything is predetermined, then there is little role to play for any individual, he would conclude.
The protagonists for each of the above beliefs are unlikely to change their beliefs easily. Even the great scientists Albert Einstein had his own belief as per his saying:

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”          

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