Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How big is the cultural overlay?

We sapiens are animals who evolved on this big rock whirling through space. We evolved to take advantage of this environment and available food sources. Genes evolve slowly, yet epigenetics switch on or off parts of the individual genes. We evolve and learn. Some individuals and groups learned to write and read. They wanted to record all of what they knew and believed, possible to help the next generation learn all that we were unable to teach them, for life was short, brutal and ugly for many. For some it remains so. So learned behavior become culture, and it is just the "learnings" of the past in carried forward to the present time. Oh well.

So on this natural, genetic base, there is a cultural overlay. All our ethics, morality, behaviors and the like are founded in culture. Laws of the land are current agreements and dictates of the governments defining acceptable behavior... well sort of. It defines what some will put money into enforcing, when it is convenient.  Perhaps it is intended to show how people should live, if we want to should ourselves. Now we can further slice this cultural overlay into religion, family, political, personality, etc. And where does all this leave us? Genetic predisposition plus culture, environment, and the like leaves us with a random distribution of a large number of variables, some desirable some less so, and even that varies over time and situation. We have so many choices, and we make them, one at a time. Some we keep, some not. Some become part of us, some not. Oh well, itewajda. (in the end we all just die anyway.)

Morals and ethics vary widely, and as long as we can justify our behavior to ourselves, we will be ok with anything. As long as our behavior has no or very little impact on others, nobody cares anyway. If it has no impact on others does it matter? Other people insist that some things should not be done, but is it of there concern? The local busy body has views on everything, but if it none of here concern, what does she matter? "What would the neighbors think?" was one of my grandmothers expressions for most anything. Currently, I would need to ask myself also, do I care what the neighbors would think? For the most part, the answer would be no, most of the time.

So the old bitty neighbor complained about the weeds along the day lilies, so I told her that if they bothered her, she could pull them. She has not spoken to me since. Oh well. itewajda. It looks to me like cultural overlay is most everything beyond our genetic predisposition.  

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