Monday, 16 January 2017
I have been doing some reading on Genes and heredity. I find the subject to be fascinating. How are we made ? What influences how we look, how we behave, how we interact ?
Is it Genes or is it our experiences and upbringing ?
The debate of Nature vs Nurture has been on since the last two centuries. The term “Nature vs Nurture” was first coined by Francis Galton (1869) , the second cousin of Charles Darwin.
He theorized that parents transferred intelligence to their children, who in turn passed these intelligent-boosting genes down to their offspring.
He argued that the ancestry and a person’s genes were responsible for the characteristics the person possesses. On the other side, the social learning theory says that how a person behaves can be linked to influences such as parenting styles and learned experiences. For example, a child might learn through observation and reinforcement to say 'please' and 'thank you.'
Another child might learn to behave aggressively by observing older children engage in violent behavior on the playground. In his famous Bobo doll experiment, it was demonstrated that children could learn aggressive behaviors simply by observing another person acting aggressively.
Galton was also the father of “Eugenics “. “Eu” means good and “genics“ means race, stock, kins. His revolutionary idea to improve the population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. To make it simple, the theory of eugenics talks about elimination of the “weak”, the “bad” genetic traits by eliminating the “breeding “ of the negative people !
Sounds terrifying … ! In the 1920’s the American Eugenics Society campaigned for the sterilization of men and women in psychiatric hospitals. However the most chilling of all implications drawn from this view of the natural superiority of one race over another took place in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
Coming to think of it, genes definitely has a major role to play in shaping up the constitution of a person – both physical and mental . There have been experiments involving twins who have been separated at birth – they have been found to have eerily similar looks, physical traits like colour of the eyes, gait, hair, medical history and also their behavior patterns like their likes, dislikes, mental makeup, intelligence level etc . Is it a mere coincidence that the famous litterateur Upendra Kishore Ray’s son was the famous author Sukumar Ray and his son was the famous author, filmmaker Satyajit Ray ? Similarly, is it just by chance that Collin Hanks , the son of Tom Hanks , is equally , if not better actor ?
This brings me back to another age old debate : Is Leadership in the genes ? Some research say that leadership is found to be “hard-wired” in people till they reach their early twenties. But similarly, many experiments have also shown that leadership can be nurtured by using suitable environment and reinforcement techniques.
It has been observed that families tend to have similarities in terms of individual family members moving into leadership positions. Examples are Presidents John F. Kennedy, George Bush, and others who have family members that have taken on leadership roles. However, there is a problem of determining whether such communality is genetic or environmentally produced because families have both environments (e.g. similar wealth, educational opportunities, etc.) as well as genes in common—thus determining whether leadership is caused by genetic or environmental factors is impossible to fathom.
For me, as written in a few of my earlier posts, I go by instinct when I have to recruit a leader and while promoting a person to a leadership role, I go by my instinct as well as my observation. I find that if a person has succeeded in organizing and coordinating any game or an event successfully , he is a potential leader. If a person is open to feedback, has good comprehension ability, good interpersonal skills , he has leadership in him/her. If a person is not afraid of taking up challenges, appreciates others and has a good sense of humour, it accounts for his leadership genes.
Though the ethical code of conduct in organizations do not permit asking questions about the heritage of the employee , but looking at the pace of change in the area of technology as well as the society, the day might not be too far off when looking up a potential leader thru an app (maybe) will tell us the full genealogy of the person , aiding the organization to take a decision whether to invest resources in him or not .
Will “Survival of the fittest“ go to it's extremities and cast a societal holocaust as it did in Germany during Hitler ?
Scary , isn’t it ?
Friday, 6 January 2017
First of all I wish you a very happy , healthy , peaceful and productive New Year!
As I had written last January and maybe the January before that there is something about the first month of the year. At least I feel so ! As if a brand new notebook has been gifted to me , its pages crisp and blank with the heavenly odour of the unopened and unwritten pages.
It takes me back to my childhood when after the annual exams in December, before the Christmas vacation, I got a new set of books for the next class. I remember the feeling when I touched them every day, opened them a little bit and peeped inside ... fearing that if I opened it fully, it will get damaged. I poked my nose inside the tiny opening and smelled the books.
Heavenly... I still can close my eyes and savour the nostalgia ....
Every year, the first week of January brings back the same feelings.
12 new notebooks ... 365 pages ... crisp and clean ... for me to use !
It is up to me how I use them ... fill it up with junk or something valuable ... whether I keep them clean or whether I make them untidy . Remember the erasers and how after vigorous rubbing, there was a hole in the page ? Do I want that or something as beautiful as the slam book which we still cherish ?
Every year I make resolutions in January.
Some are met and some are not. Some recur ... like losing weight, exercise etc... Unlike some cynical people, I still keep them, because even if I don't hit the target, I am at least improving. What say ?
This year, I have thought of giving a different punch to my resolutions. A few different strokes.
- Don't say "I don't have time" : Yes , I have time . 24X7 = 168 hours in a week . So, if I spend 40 hours in a week on work, 50 hours for sleep, 10 hours for misc. activities, still there will be 68 hour for me to spend ! And that is not a small number. So, whenever I utter the words "I don't have time" , I will stop and think. "Is it so ? Or is this not in my priority list ?"
- Free the way : Enough of hustling and jostling. Everyone is in a hurry. I am in a hurry. I want to pause. Take a deep breath. Smile. Let the other car merge ahead of me. While pausing, I will free the way for others. I wil take the opportunity to spend more time with my loved ones. Do at least 1 act of kindness every week. I will free the way for others as well as for myself . I will set myself free from the clutches of social media. I will meet my friends physically more often. I will not limit myself in anyway . I will speak the truth and convey my mind and feelings whenever and whatever I want to, without mincing words or without thinking what will the other person think.
- Measure regularly : I have been bad at measuring my goals. This year I will measure and track regularly and take corrective actions. Have I written the blog post on Wednesday ? Did I spend enough time on my writing ? I will track diligently and regularly in a planner
- Take better care : ... of myself. This year I plan to be a bit selfish about myself. I will try to put myself first. I will handle myself delicately. My feelings, my thoughts, my health, relationships which matter . Drop a few kilos, get a new haircut, protect my "me" time , read the novel which has been sitting on the table for a while, listen to 2-3 TED talks a week, get the long pending operation done, go to a wellness centre for a week .... So, 2017, here I come ... I will be a better "me" ... both physically, mentally and spiritually !
- Grow more and reflect : This is one of my recurring goals and I have made quite good progress on this for the past 3-4 years. This year, I want to ow more take it to the next level. I want to grow more in the area of writing - publish my book. I will complete my dissertation and put honest effort on this. I will spend time on self reflection ... try to figure out the million dollar question "What do I want ? "
These are few of my thoughts which I will blow up to create small measurable tasks. And then I will put them in black and white and start my weekly tracking !
I am all set for writing beautiful words in the blank 365 pages and create fond memories for a better tomorrow.
What about you ? Are you ready ?
Cheers and happy new year again !