Yun Yi's Stuff

Is Life a Choice? – My Speculation on Existence of Life

Posted on: October 13, 2011

In my previous post Finding Ultimate Causes, two short paragraphs contain the most important thought I gathered through my life experience. It is not 100% “mature” yet and will be continuously examined by my further observation and reasoning. This thought is such: (human beings’) life existences is a mixture of (no more than) two simple elements: our born nature and our life experience.

LifeImage by Road Fun via FlickrWhat is human nature? in the post I wrote: our nature is a “package” that contains both our mental and physical capacity which comes together with our life. And because it comes together with our life, it is almost UNCHANGEABLE.

I used word “almost” to give a room for the plasticity of our nature, which makes changes possible, but only to some extent.

I believe we humans are ultimately limited by our nature. Not only human beings as a whole has an overall limitations, each race, each sex and each individual, all have their own limitations, both physically and mentally. Of course, this limitation is in terms of GENERALITY, and under this generality, SPECIFICITY also has its rooms (with certain space) to play. Thus taking generality as “absolute”, or exaggerating specificity to universal sense are both mistaken.

In the post Finding Ultimate Causes I further I wrote: I do not suppose our nature has difference of being good and evil, but I do believe that it has the difference of being “strong” and “weak”. And I believe all our postnatal efforts are to keep our nature from being harmed, so that we could achieve its strongest potential – as “perfect” as possible.

“Strong” and “weak” here refer to how well we resist threats and offences to our life (or the capability to adapt to environments, as evolution puts). A stronger person do better than a weaker one on resisting threats of life, also the greater threats or offences can weaken strong person. Thus how well one can survive is depend on not only how strong one is born, but also how good or bad the living condition is.

Based on such understanding, a born strong person could appear to be “weak” because of the “strong” (rough) life conditions, and a weak person could appear to be “strong” because of better life conditions. Also people with similar natures can end up very differently because of a totally different life experiences, and people with very different natures might hold similar attitudes toward life because of a similar life condition.

So, the combination of these two elements, nature and experience, decide what we are. The interaction of these two factors creates unlimited diversities which makes each of us unique. And in case of a born nature is so strong that it surpasses its life condition (still in certain limitation), “transcendence” takes place and a genius is born.

According to this logic, Life is not a choice, but a result of these predetermined factors. We may feel like we have choices, but when look deeper inside, or from a wider perspective, we don’t. As matter of fact, we did not even choose to be here.    

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3 Responses to "Is Life a Choice? – My Speculation on Existence of Life"

This is an interesting take on a debate that has been raging among academics for many years: nature v. nurture. Which is more significant in an individual life must vary with the individual, but there is certainly no consensus in the academic world regarding what is obviously a very difficult question.

Denis, thanks for commenting.
“Nature vs nurture”, that's right. I think it's both, and which one is more significant depend on how strong is our nature – for those whose nature is strong, nurture can be less influential, and for those whose nature is “weak”, nurture can be deciding factor on shaping their life.

There is no conflict in accepting the view that both nature and nurture are both involved in producing an individual. Human nature and “Mother” Nature are both the same:
brutal, cruel, inhuman, and dedicated only to survival of the species and the life forms of nature. Nurture, hopefully,
will develop empathy, and democratic values that will encourage creativity and humane values…but it may not and will dissolve into perpetual conflict
and the disappearance of the human life experiment. War or conflict, unfortunately, seems to be the preferred “tool” of evolution.
My best.

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