Nature or Nurture

In the bible, Jesus talks about the parable of the sower and shared about seeds falling on different ground (Mark 4, Matthew 13 and Luke 8) and that gives different outcomes. The focus was on the grounds; the seed was the same across all of the grounds. But when the ground was different, it affected the growth and the development of the seed.

Yet it was what is latent in the seed that allowed that interaction with the ground to produce plants that bore fruits. And you know, all that crazy back-and-forth about nature or nurture is a false dichotomy at the end of the day. It takes nurture to bring out what is nature; and it takes latent potential to allow nurturing to do its work. What we need to do however, is to suspend judgement and not to allow tangible measures to overwhelm our sense of perception. We are better than that; teachers can see potential of students beyond just looking at their grades or getting them to take a test. But yet we prefer to fall back on the numbers.

In a society like Singapore where humans are the most important and valuable asset (read: not resource) that we have in our city state, we ought to start valuing people (not by their salary) and treating them as humans. We need to stop trying to measure potential and assume those potential will run its course to manifest in reality. Instead, we ought to be helping everyone grow to their potential without assuming what those potentials are. When we start believing in people, as opposed to mechanical systems; when we start empowering people to treat others as humans, to interact organically, we’ll place ourselves on a new growth trajectory.