Wednesday, March 3, 2010

235 - The idea of inheriting personality

Right now, I'm in a really, really bad mood. There is very little that would not irritate me at this very moment...

I remember there was one time my mother said I inherited my bad temper from my father - I would just burst into a big explosion of upset whenever I didn't get what I wanted.

The very idea that I inherit my irascibility from my dad is something I strongly do not believe in. I understand eye color, and hair color, and general fitness, and the size of my nose being inherited. To resemble your parents in terms of these particular phenotypes is fact, and fact that means something because when others see you with them, they recognize you are part of the same family. But with personality traits and non-physical characteristics that make me who I am, I refuse to believe anything these scientists are saying...

...about how they have found a 'gay gene' or a 'criminal gene' - that's just plain nonsense. I've read quite a bit into this area of research, and yeah, it sure is interesting to read about how the people that we are is partially environmental and partially genetic. It's just wonderful that these researchers have spent all this money to find out that the same part of the brain that controls testosterone levels in the body, also has an effect on the lengths of your fingers, and that both of these factors correlate to homosexual behavior - but hey, it's just a simple correlation, it's not like the results a hundred percent positive, so what does it matter anyway if there's always going to be a minority that don't fit the rule? Why don't you explain that minority to us instead of shoving our faces in the majority that fit your hypothesis?

You want to know why?

Because it doesn't mean anything! Who cares if there are biological indicators of the people we will turn out to be?! What, am I supposed to go chasing after men just because the length of my fingers say so? Am I supposed to drop out of university and mug people on the streets just because I share similar genetic makeup with felons locked up in jail?


Because we live life in a dynamic environment, with obstacles that we are meant to face and that demand choices from us, chocies to be made with logical reasoning and a degree of risk assessment. There is no 'nature' versus nurture. Personality is purely a result of environment and personal choices. You can't inherit good business skills. You cannot inherit arrogance. You cannot inherit a good work ethic. You cannot inherit a criminal record. Your life is in your hands, and you have the freedom and the ultimate power to choose who you want to be. The only thing you can get from your parents is good looks, and that's just if you're lucky. And if you're unlucky, there's always plastic surgery, which you can afford if you work hard, and train yourself to have a good work ethic.

Good day, sir!

Bah! Humbug!


Douglas said...

The age old battle of "nature vs nurture"... Personally, I see a tendency toward reacting to external stimuli as being genetic (inherited). Separated Twins studies have shown this repeatedly. This does not mean your personality is fixed at conception, it just means a tendency toward it may be. And then we stir in "nurture" or, more accurately, social and environmental interaction and relationships.
Of course, it all could be just an illusion created by a desire to see traits passed down through generations (chip off the old block and all).

Senita Tang said...

Hehe I agree there is no nature vs nurture. The borders between them are blurry, you can't make distinctions like that. I don't think parents only give you your looks though. Since parents are a part of the environment you grew up with.

Ugh. The gay gene. Talking about wasting money. It's like finding the gene that makes me like the colour purple. What are they trying to achieve with that knowledge anyway? So suppose they find it...and I have it. Gay gene=liking men. Ok makes me(female)...hmm hetero? So I need to have the lesbian gene to become lesbian?! Ha whatever.

Uniquely Charis said...

I agree 100%. I had always tot tat I had inherited my dad's bad-temper before reading this. But now I think what u had written is true. How can personality be inherited? Our life is in our hands, and we have the freedom and the ultimate power to choose who we want to be. So, I'll just have to try my best to change my bad-temper. You too! :)

Michael said...

Douglas: I don't see how it matters, even the visually discernible differences in us.

Senita: If you're interested, to be phenotypically lesbian, you would need to have a straight male's fingers, according to the studies I've read. You should have your 4th finger significantly longer than 2nd finger.

Charis: Glad you see my point. :)

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