Saturday, March 4, 2017

Nature vs. Nurture


Nature vs. Nurture. It has been an ongoing debate in psychological circles since the dawn of the field of psychology itself. 

Some psychologists insist that our personalities are formed at the same time our brain is formed. That whether we become a sociopath, and introvert, an extrovert, a compassionate person, a selfish person, etc. is hardwired into our brain from birth. They state that the environment we are raised in has no impact whatsoever on the presence, or lack thereof, of those traits. They point to the brain scans of sociopaths, where the region of the brain that controls empathy is literally a dead zone, as evidence that biological factors determine personality. They also point out that introverts and extroverts exhibit completely different brain patterns. 

Perhaps the most convincing argument for the nature argument is that siblings often have completely different personalities, despite being raised in the same environment. If environment was truly the determining factor, they argue, then wouldn't siblings have almost identical personalities? 

Other psychologists insist that our personality is molded in our formative childhood years, and is largely dependent upon the environment that we are raised in. They state that a child raised in a compassionate and loving home will become a compassionate and loving adult. That a child raised in a dysfunctional, abusive, or unloving home will become an adult unable to form healthy relationships and more prone to criminal activity. They point out that those raised in loving and supportive homes have much lower rates of juvenile delinquency, for example, than those from "dysfunctional" homes. 

Other psychologists find some middle ground by positing that it is a combination of the two, both nature and nurture, that determine who we are. 

What are your thoughts? Are we shaped by nature or nurture? Does one have more influence than the other? 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

'Tis the Season!

Fact Check: TRUE:

I have always had a tremendously deep love for Christmas. I begin counting down to Christmas sometime in August, and I begin listening to Christmas music sometime in October (much to the chagrin of friends and coworkers). People have always asked me to explain where my love for Christmas comes from. I cannot really explain it other than to say that my love of Christmas as a child has stayed with me as an adult. It has never left, and in many ways, has only grown stronger

Of course the commercialization of Christmas is a little out of hand, and has been for quite some time. However, that does not offset the joy and giving spirit of the season. I enjoy the season of giving, of camaraderie, and the random acts of kindness. I enjoy the endless supply of ridiculously cheesy-yet-awesome Hallmark Christmas movies. I enjoy hearing Christmas music playing in all of the shops and stores. I enjoy driving around and looking at the Christmas lights on display during a cold winter's night.  

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I also love the copious amount of sweets that I consume during this time of year (unrelated, I need a bigger belt). 

My blogging family means the world to me, so I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.

What is your favorite thing about the Christmas season?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

True Friendship


"Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer" - Jean de La fontaine

One of the most valuable things in life, and sometimes one of the most under-appreciated, is true friendship. 

The kind of friendship that is genuine, selfless, and real. 

Throughout our lives we meet hundreds if not thousands of people who become acquaintances. Casual friendships. But, over the course of our lives, I think we can count the number of true genuine friendships on one hand.

And when you find a true friendship like that, I think you hold onto it forever. I think you cherish it. Nurture it. Appreciate it.  For it is every bit as valuable as anything you'll ever find.

Everybody is familiar with the concept of soul mates. But I also think we have "soul friends". Those people who were meant to come into our our lives. The type of friendships that can only be described as feeling like "home".

There something refreshing about being able to be your true genuine self with somebody. Free from judgment. Free from the veneer and the façade that casual acquaintances see.

Let's face it, sometimes in life we need to be humble enough to allow ourselves to lean on someone. And it is those true friendships that sustain us through those rough and rocky times that life can often present us with. 

So here's to true friendship. May we all appreciate it when we find it, and hold onto it - for true friendship is everlasting

What are your thoughts on the importance of friendship in our lives? 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Past or Future?


I have a question today for my dear blogging friends:

If you could travel to the future and spend one day 500 years in the future

Or travel back in time and spend one day 500 years in the past

And your safety was guaranteed...

Which would you choose? And why?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I admit it...I have a problem



Anyone who has known me for even a short amount of time knows of my proclivity for sweets. 

To put it bluntly, I have a problem. 

Acknowledgement is always the first step, right?

Whether it is milk chocolate Lindt bars, dark chocolate truffles, espresso chocolate nougats, chocolate covered almonds, various types of ice cream, cakes, cookies, pies, etc. 

I want them all. 

I have eaten 3 pints of Häagen-Dazs this week alone (and it is only Wednesday). If you have never eaten an entire pint of ice cream, straight out of the container, in one setting, then we probably cannot be friends.

I have been known to have sweets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All in the same day. 

I would venture to guess that my blood, at this point, is 20-30% syrup. 

Something about sweets raises my endorphins. Just the thought of chocolate can sometimes make my heart skip a beat. Healthy? No. But do I care? No.

In fact, I am eating a Lindor truffle as I write this. 

Do you have a sweet tooth? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Should we really lose faith?


I saw a public poll a couple of weeks ago stating that almost 90% of adults think that the world is going in the wrong direction. 

90%!!

While these feelings are understandable, are they really justified? 

I would venture to guess that the poll would have had the same results whether taken in 2016, 1996, 1965, 1917, 1850, or any other random year.

I think we are always inclined to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. 

Terrorism, famine, mass shootings, economic collapses, genocides, environmental degradation, etc. I can understand people's lack of faith in the world. 

But I do not agree with it

All of the aforementioned problems have been occurring for decades, if not longer. 

We have overcome a lot, as a species. We have survived two world wars, multiple genocides, the cold war, maniacal dictators, American Idol, etc. ​

More democracies exist today than at any other time in history. 

People are living longer than ever. 

The hole in the ozone layer is closing more and more every year. 

Volunteerism around the world is at an all-time high.

There is good happening in the world. But we lose sight of that because the only things making the news are the bad things. It is easy to fall into the trap of being blinded by the bad. 

Perhaps I am naive. It would not be the first time. 

What do you think? Is the world really worse off than it has ever been? Is there more bad than good?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summertime


Seeing as though this is the first week of summer, I thought a summer post would be apropos. 

It has been crazy hot this week in Germany, and summer is in full-swing. The days are filled with 17 hours of daylight, and the nights are filled with the sounds of crickets. People are having BBQs and drinking ice cold drinks. The lake shores are full of people, and the trees are full of their rich green leaves. 

The world is one big party in the summertime, it seems! 

Though summer is my least favorite of the seasons (weird, I know), is it not without things that I enjoy:

The romanticism of baseball being played on a warm summer night

The sounds of crickets and katydids in the nighttime air while driving through the country

Summer cookouts 

The wonderful electricity in the air right before a glorious thunderstorm 

Ice cream on hot days (or if I am being truthful, on any day really)

The admiration one feels when seeing the hard-working farmers tending to their fields 

A glass of ice cold lemonade on a scorching hot day

Summer blockbuster movies

The sound of frogs coming from the ponds surrounding the countryside

Going to the beach and playing in the ocean

Summer most definitely has its perks, even though I will always be an autumn and winter person (as of today, only 6 more months until Christmas!)

What is your favorite thing about summer?