We function this way, through our desires and beliefs, because of our nature and nurture.
Our nature and nurture programmed our bodies and brains to work this way.
By nature, first, I mean our DNA, which we get from our parents.
By nurture, I’m referring to all the situations in which our DNA is expressed.
From the moment we come into existence, our DNA is expressed in different environments.
Our first environment was our mother’s womb. Then it was our physical location, our socioeconomic status, the family that we were born into, the culture and society we grew up in. Now, it’s the different communities we’ve cultivated over the years, whether they be locations or groups of people
But it’s more than just our environments, it’s every single experience we’ve ever had: from what we were taught and raised to believe, to our formative childhood experiences, to this moment in which we’re reading these words.
The thing is: we don’t get to choose our nature and nurture.
We didn’t get to choose our genes before we were born, nor did we get to choose the experiences our parents had that shaped them.
We didn’t get to choose our environments. We didn’t get to choose what happened to us while we were in the womb. We didn’t get to choose who raised us. We didn’t get to choose where we were born. We didn’t get to choose the culture we were born into or the socioeconomic status we grew up with. We didn’t get to choose our formative childhood experiences, whether joyous or traumatic, that affect the relationships we currently have as adults.
Different people have different beliefs about what’s behind our nature and nurture. Some believe that our nature and nurture are the result of particle interactions governed by physical laws. Some believe the particle interactions are random.
Some believe in a God, or a spirit, or just plain luck.
But regardless of who or what chose our nature or nurture, it wasn’t us.
And if we don’t get to choose our nature and nurture, then we don’t get to choose how we function. Which means we don’t get to choose our desires and beliefs.
Do we choose who we fall in love with? Or where we want to live? Or even whether we like chocolate over vanilla ice cream?
We don’t. We don’t get to choose.
We meet people throughout our lives and are just attracted to certain ones. We go to different places and some of them just appeal to us. We taste and eat different ice cream flavors and one just tastes the better.
We don’t choose who we like or what we like. We just want what we want.
The same goes for our beliefs. We don’t get to choose. When we come across what we perceive to be the truth, it seems inevitable.
If we’re Christian, we can’t all of sudden choose to become Muslim. If we’re pro-choice, then we can’t all of sudden choose to become pro-life.
We just believe what we believe.
And if we don’t get to choose our desires or beliefs, then we don’t get to choose the way we are, the decisions we make, or the actions we take.
We don’t get to sit there before we’re born and choose to be born, to be human, to be the race are, to have the body type we have, to have the brains we do, to be the way we are.
We don’t get to choose how tall or smart we are. How patient or diligent we are. We don’t get to choose whether we’re going to have daddy issues or depression.
What’s more, if we don’t get to choose how we function, we don’t get to choose how our brains generate desires and form beliefs. Which means we don’t get to choose how our brains make decisions and take actions.