You live in an artificial house, drive an artificial car, use an artificial cellphone…
And yet, when it comes to learning languages, suddenly you’re a prisoner of Nature? Where were your genes when you were flying in an airplane, above the clouds, near the speed of sound? Where were your genes when you listened to the voices of people you’ve never seen or met? Where were your genes when you learned that new English slang word?
If genetics mattered like you think it does, then surely hereditary absolute monarchies would be the best countries in the world — the richest, the cleanest, the best-governed. And yet the fact remains that Britain became a world power only after it stripped its monarchs of everything but their clothes and houses. And Rome began to decline and fall only after blood began to matter more than competence.
If genes mattered like you think they do, then Genghis Khan’s nth-great-granddaughter would be ruling the world right now.
You’d be flying in Wright — not Boeing — planes.
All comedians would be descendants of Richard Pryor.
Physics would be renamed Einsteinics, and instead of having universities, we would just have labs make Isaac Newton clones and place them strategically in local orchards 1. I mean, Einstein did marry his cousin. Surely the physics midi-chlorians of those children are over 9000.
If genetics matters like you think it does, if you believe in hereditary talent, if you think Anders Ericsson is just a drunken Swede talking inspiritational bunkum, then why not start acting like it?
Wanna make money? Don’t read books. Go drink Warren Buffett’s urine.
Wanna play better basketball? Don’t take shots. Go make out with Michael Jordan and hope that you scrape off some cheek cells…then take shots.
Wanna play better hockey? Go lick Wayne Gretzky’s sweat off the ice.
Or you could just cut the crap. Stop trotting out the Nature Excuse every time you feel like excusing wussiness. Richard Dawkins would not be happy. Richard Dawkins would be sad and angry.
I love how the things that are supposedly “in your blood” also tend to be “in your house”. Isn’t it funny how alcoholics tend to have the cheapest, fastest, easiest access to alcohol? Should it not follow that people who are good at Japanese have the cheapest, fastest, easiest access to Japanese sounds and text and ohwaitaminute — they do!
Homo sapiens as a species may have spent 95% of its history in whatever semi-fictional ancestral environment that’s currently fashionable among evolutionary psychologists (coz we all know that the Earth actually is 6000 years old, right guys? Right? :P), but you’ve spent 100% of your life in the 20th/21st centuries.
Don’t submit to Nature. Co-create with it. Her. Whatever.
- we won’t even get into the apocryphal nature of the apple story… ↩