I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
– Albert Schweitzer
Perhaps the least polarized of all our major “And vs Or” battles … is the fight over Nature vs Nurture.
As far as I am aware – everyone who has ‘weighed in’ in this fight … actually acknowledges that their opponents’ view is (somewhat) true. The imagined (and hoped for) victory, then … is seen as achieving clear dominance.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Childhood Quality That’s the Best Predictor of Wealth, Health, and Happiness”, by the Foundation for Economic Education –
“Self-Control Is the Most Important Childhood Trait.
However, according to famed family physician and author Dr. Leonard Sax, … His research shows that there is one thing parents can instill in their children to ensure a successful future. That thing is self-control:
What characteristic, measured in childhood, best predicts health, wealth, and happiness in that individual 20 years down the road, when the child is an adult? Is it intelligence? Grades in school? Ability to make friends? No. It is none of these things. Longitudinal cohort studies consistently find that self-control in childhood best predicts health, wealth, and happiness in adulthood, far better than IQ scores, grades in school, friendliness or popularity.
Unfortunately, self-control is something that many adults don’t even have. How, then, can they instill self-control in their children? Dr. Sax suggests two ways this can be done.
The first is to “educate desire.” Dr. Sax describes this as “instill[ing] a longing for something better, more lasting, than video games or Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner on Instagram.” In other words, children who have a steady diet of fun, entertainment, and superficial niceties will turn out to be as fluff-filled as those items.
Children raised to value a standard of excellence in the books they read, the (minimal) entertainment they watch, and the activities they participate in, however, will add a far greater depth to their lives. In all likelihood, they will also gain familiarity with other tools to help them accumulate more self-control in their lives.”
Of course, the idea – that one’s genetics do not matter … that’s clearly nonsense.
(Nature and Nurture: The Study of Twins)
The battle between self and other … hardly exists in this culture. That’s because it’s commonly regarded as a ‘no contest’. We presume – that the selfish life … is the way to go.
This, however, (as it turns out) … is flawed.
Consider the epigram (the remark by Schweitzer, about service).
Also, we should be aware of (and take to heart) the work of Robert L. Humphrey.
Humphrey spent most of his life in studying the nature of human nature … and what he came to realize is what he calls the ‘dual life value’: self and other.
He points out that – to threaten someone’s life or well-being (anywhere in the world) … is the second most dangerous thing you can do. But to threaten the life or well-being of a person’s loved ones … is the most dangerous thing you can do.
Self and other.
We value both.
It’s our nature.
We need to understand that our preoccupation with (and validation of) the selfish life … is a mere (perverse) cultural artifact. (a cultural error).
Selfishness is unavoidable.
But those who adopt selfishness as a life-style and a primary mode of operation … we have a name for such people. Criminals.
The most fear-laden (of all our major “Or vs And” battles) … is our struggle with capitalism vs socialism / (communism).
I was alive during the McCarthy Witch-hunts. (I was young … but I can remember it.)
During this period, the fear (of communism) was palpable.
Our ‘soft-headed’ (uneducated & ignorant) nationalism … combined with (considerable) fear (as well as our predisposition toward pathological mutual exclusivity) … proved itself to be an unfortunate and unproductive program.
I think there is (very) good reason to suspect – that Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevera, & Fidel Castro … are people we should be learning from, respecting, and looking up to.
Should we simply wait – for Sanity and Rationality to (somehow) arrive?
Or should we pursue them?
[book: Values for a New Millennium – by Robert L. Humphrey ]