Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love

By Lipton, Bruce H. PhD | Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, Fall 1998 | Go to article overview

Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love


Lipton, Bruce H. PhD, Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health


ABSTRACT: Leading edge research in cell biology reveals that "environmental signals" are primarily responsible for selecting the genes expressed by an organism. This new perspective is in direct contrast with the established view that our fate is controlled by our genes. The new emphasis on nurture (environment) controlling nature (genes) focuses special attention on the importance of the maternal environment in fetal development. In addition to the established role of maternal physiology, it is now recognized that maternal behaviors and emotions profoundly impact the child's physical development, behavioral characteristics and even its level of intelligence.

The history of human civilization reveals a recurrent preoccupation with the notion of duality. Black and white, positive and negative, male and female, winner and loser and of course, the ever controversial, good and evil. Interestingly, even the nature of "duality" itself led to a fundamental splitting or duality of human civilization-East and West. In Eastern philosophy, all aspects of duality are recognized as representing an underlying unity. All is One, but from that One springs all of our perceived dualities.

In contrast, Western civilization is entirely based upon a philosophy that emphasizes the distinct polarity inherent in dualism. Our pre-occupation with duality becomes quite volatile when we assign values to the polar extremes, especially the values of right and wrong. Polar views create "sides" and the sides usually compete to provide justification in support of their stance.

Even the consequences of the resulting competition over dualistic points of view can be dualistic. Competition may become destructive, especially when its resolution leads to physical combat such as wars and revolutions. At other times, the competition over polar points of view are quite constructive, when resolutions lead to intellectual and technical advance.

One of the more recent and most profound examples of a conflict resolution that advanced humanity is the Quantum Revolution of 1925. Prior to that event scientists vied over the fundamental nature of the units comprising the universe. Were they comprised of matter or of energy? Matter was characterized as being composed of discrete particles, while energy was perceived as intangible waves. Western logic emphasizes the dual, mutually exclusive, nature of these two states of existence. Particle or wave, but not both! The stunning and illogical resolution in quantum theory is that the elemental units of nature were both particles and waves. This fundamentally "Eastern" conclusion emphasizing "unity" of polarities rocked the scientific world and profoundly changed physics, chemistry and the fate of Western civilization.

Interestingly, the concept of an inherent unity within "dualism" never fully penetrated the biological sciences, which still maintains a penchant of perceiving the biosphere in dualistic philosophy. Nowhere is this dualism more exemplified than in the ongoing debate between Evolutionists and Creationists. On the surface, evolution and creation represent mutually exclusive processes-polarizing concepts.

Now, some seventy years after the Quantum revolution, major dualistic biological concepts are beginning to resolve themselves as parts of a whole-a unity. One such resolving biological dualism concerns the impact of nature versus nurture in the structural and functional expression of living organisms. Those polarized on the side of "nature" invoke the concept of genetic determinism, the idea that a plant or animal's characteristics and behavioral traits are defined by the genes at the moment of conception (i.e., internal control). The opposing polarized view endorses the role of "nurture," which recognizes environmental experiences play an essential role in shaping the characteristics of living organisms (i.e., external control).

Such an argument becomes profoundly important when we consider the role of nature and nurture on human development. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.