We have always thought that we, humans, have a choice.
But I figured, no. We don’t. Not entirely.
At least, that was what psychology thought me.
In my psychology class, I learned a lot of things that resulted to this simple yet bothering conclusion. I discovered that most parts of our identity did not root from our own liking. They came from the different factors that surrounded us our entire lives. And these could basically be generalized into two: Nature, and Nurture.
First is nature – our genes. If you wanted to have green eyes, but was born with blue, you could not really blame anyone – not even your parents. But you could blame something – your genetic composition (or you could blame the supernatural being you believe made this)! Well, you, same with your parents and your ancestors, don’t really have a choice when it comes to what characteristics you want your genetic make-up to display. Lucky ones get the good traits (“good” in terms of whatever is your standard of beauty), while the unlucky ones get the not-so-good attributes. Genes, however, are not only limited to determining your physical characteristics. They also are the cause for your sex, possibly health conditions, and some of your behavioral traits (i.e intelligence, natural talents). So if you want to be a guy, but was born a gal, or stupid when you were born intelligent, well then, you couldn’t really do anything about it, could you?
Some of you may argue, nonetheless, that there now exists plastic surgeries and transgender operations, which technically give us a wider room for choice as opposed to what I am claiming. But here is when the second one comes in: Nurture, or simply, your environment.
Perhaps, you’ve always believed that the way you decide and behave right now is entirely the product of your own choices. You’ve always believed that your identity is ultimately the fruit of your own wants. But you’re wrong. You always have been. Who you are right now is not only the result of your genetic make-up, but also the fruit of all that is in your environment. You may not believe it, but the people and the place that surround you, together with the experiences they offer, create your wants, your decisions, your needs, your choices, and most importantly, the person you are. So if you were raised in a chaotic home, and you grew up to be resentful, it’s not because of magic or destiny. There is a reason. And that reason is always the way you have been nurtured by your own environment. Similarly, if a lot of people loved and cared for you, and you turned out to be a kind, wholesome person, well it was definitely not an accident.
Hence, if you think about it, people who want to undergo surgeries don’t just aspire to do it because they had a vision whatsoever. They want to do it because they have a reason. Whether that reason is the fact they’ve been bullied for they looks, or discriminated by their gender, it is always a product of the external factors that affect them.
And so do we actually have a choice? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe there are just choices that are fated to be made. But then again, if it would be fate working, then what does that make of our choices again?
I can be wrong. Perhaps, you may have choices that are due to no reason at all. You may also be who you are because you were able to travel in time and change way things are. But here’s what I know: I am certain that whether or not we could really make choices of our own, we are ultimately ruled by two important things: our genes, and our environment.