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A Coin Always Has Both Heads and Tails

by John K. Stoner   (June 30, 2017)

Science which has studied human behavior in the last two decades has not answered the bad old question “Is nature or nurture the decisive shaper of human behavior?”

What it has demonstrated in new ways is that both nature and nurture are profoundly and inseparably important.  

I will venture, however, than there is an important sense in which one deserves more emphasis than the other.  That is, we should give nurture more emphasis because it is the one which we can do something about.  And science has confirmed that in significant ways.

Lisa Miller writes in THE SPIRITUAL CHILD:  

Our children [read: human beings] have an inborn spirituality that is the greatest source of resilience they have as human beings, and we, as parents, can support our children’s spiritual development.  Our parenting choices in the first two decades affect our children’s spiritual development in ways that last their entire lives.  Natural spirituality, in fact, appears to be the single most significant factor in children’s health and their ability to thrive. 
(p. 6).  

Miller says that recent science has shown decisively that this natural spirituality is a universal human faculty.  “We know now that an ‘inner spiritual compass’  is an innate, concrete faculty and  like EQ [emotional intelligence], a part of our biological endowment.  It has a biological basis, which can also be cultivated.  The evidence is hard, indisputable, and rigorously scientific.” (p. 6).

The argument I am pursuing in these blogs is that the Empire way of running the world, by hierarchy, domination and overwhelming homicidal violence, ignores and denies the human capacity for compassion, forgiveness and cooperation, which Miller calls natural spirituality or an inner spiritual compass.  

Hence, we have a task:  to discover or rediscover our innate spirituality and to nurture that.  In this, we will shortchange ourselves if we think that it is all about nature or all about nurture.  Every coin held between the fingers has both a heads and a tails side, and trying to prove it is all one or the other is a useless project. 

Next blog we begin looking at the nurture of this innate capacity. This will help us think about what is possible and what is desirable in human behavior (yesterday's blog)  

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