Nature vs Nurture: what makes us who we are?
I think we’re missing something. “Nurture” implies the past, it implies history. What about right now? Our current circumstances have a huge impact on what we believe, feel, and do.
In Systems Thinking, notice that pressures on an actor, and the information available to them, affect outcomes far more than who that actor happens to be. Information and pressures affect our feelings and belief, which affect our behavior. There is hope in this: circumstances are a leverage point, because they can be changed. At work, we can change people by altering organizational structures, information flow, incentives.
There is despair in this: am I defined so much by my where I find myself? Being a middle-class white parent leads me to certain political beliefs. Being a respected senior developer gives meritocracy appeal. Can I rise above the incentives of my position?
While circumstances past and present (Nurture) mold our feelings and beliefs, our feelings and beliefs don’t define us. There is something deeper inside, past the conditioned mind. Step back from our thoughts and emotions, rather than identify with them: then we can find our Self. Meditation can accomplish this. Reflection, too. This Self is often experienced as “inherent wisdom and compassion, a sense of freedom, lightness, release, stability, lucidity.”
Like in programming:
Practices = Context + Principles
What we do is affected by our circumstances, and by who we are. The more we know about who we are, the more we can distinguish which of our beliefs are based on context, and which on our own nature. When these are in conflict, it’s time to change our circumstances.
 Thinking in Systems, Donella H Meadows. Especially Chapter 4, the section on Bounded Rationality.
 Internal Family Systems Model, Richard C Schwartz, ch 2, p 28.
 I don’t remember where I saw the “context + principles = practice” first. Probably a talk by Chad Fowler or Dan North.