Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chicken or Egg

Mimi was off on a school camping trip last night so Jen and I got to go out for some midweek drinking and over a couple of margueritas each we got to talking, of course, as parents do when their child is away, about the kid, and Jen allowed that she can’t help seeing herself in some of the behaviors Mimi manifests, which I found somewhat contrary to my own experience, the youngster being a riddle inside of a conundrum to me, if you want to know the truth.

And Jen elaborated that she can even recall specific incidents that had she done something differently, the kid would have turned out differently and that got me to wondering how true that really is and how much effect we really have on the creation of our children’s character when all is said and done.

The question for me is whether our actions towards our progeny create their dispositions or just provide opportunities for those qualities to be revealed; I can’t tell.

My example from my own life is when I was about 8 and I was at the swimming pool with my mom and I wanted show her how I could dive off the high dive; I interrupted an interchange she was having with some lady to tell her to watch, but when I returned to ask her did she see, she merely glared and said, “David, I’m having a conversation here.” At that moment, I remember resolving to take pleasure in my own success and never showing off for her approval again.

But did her (in)action form my character?

Suppose she had watched and when I came back, fawned all over me with praise; I can perfectly well imagine thinking, “Oh my god, this is mortifying; I resolve now to take pleasure in my own success and never show off for her again.”

Different parental action, but the same reaction from child; nature or nurture, probably both.


Anonymous lm said...

Your cogitation seems to question the relationship between fate and destiny. For the sake of this inquiry, I take fate to mean the course of someones life beyond their control and destiny to be the power or entity that determines the course of events.

In your opinion, does fate act as a parameter for destiny? Does fate set the conditions for which destiny operates? Is fate like a river in which an individual navigates endowed with the will to choose which fork to follow his destiny?

To further illustrate my question, imagine a Venn diagram with fate in one circle and destiny in the other. Would you say that the physical laws governing the cosmos are under the fate category; free will is under the destiny category; and genes fall in the over lapping portion?

11:44 PM  
Blogger dashap said...

Hmmm...I'm not sure I believe in EITHER fate or destiny, although I certainly believe there is plenty of stuff out of our control; I'd just call that chance.
I think probably, like most things, it's more complicated than it looks, or maybe less so. I know that the explanations for some of my behavior and that of others is accessible; some of it seems quite opaque. I'm not sure why in either case, though.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

Even though I do agree it's all more complicated than it looks, nature vs. nurture, fate vs. destiny, all that, what your cogitation reminded me of, Dave, is that our mom used to say that we both emerged from the womb with our particular personalities and never changed a bit.... and I guess I also have to acknowledge her fondness for hyperbole!

10:44 AM  

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