Can you remember being born? No? That’s because beings like us (persons – consciousnesses – selves) aren’t born fully developed. We are cumulatively learned.
The differences between ourselves as infants and our current selves, including everything we know and think, everything we believe, and everything we are able to do – all those vast differences – are differences that we learned. We become the selves we learn to be.
During the most formative stages of learning to become ourselves we are learning within inherited bodies, under conditions, and in situations, that we have no choice about at all.
Growing up we don’t choose our:
Race, gender, skin, eyes, hair, or body type
Parents, siblings, relatives (or their IQs, EQs, Ed levels)
Language, culture, religion, diet, music, tv
Social-economic strata, neighborhood, our pool of possible friends
Schools, teachers, curricula, peers
Yet each of these attributes, situations, and conditions significantly affects how we learn to become who we become.
Imagine how different your life choices would have been if you had grown up in a different race, a different body, or a different gender? If you had been nurtured by different parents, raised in a different family, or socialized into a different culture? If you had acquired a different language or were brought up believing in a different religion?
We have no choices in any of those dimensions of differences, yet they all have the potential to expand and limit the choices we do have while we are learning to become ourselves.
More than choosing who we become, in a great many ways, we can’t help but learn to become who we become within our inherited and environmental conditions, situations, and possibilities. This is not to say we don’t have any choice, just that the choices we do have, we have because we learned to have them within situations and conditions we didn’t choose.
We never have a choice about learning. We can, however, learn to have choices about how, what, where, and why we are learning. More on learning and choice coming soon….