What inspired me to write about this specific topic this week was, amusingly, Friday's episode of Millenium, the newest TV show from Chris Carter, the surfer who came up with the X-Files TV show.
As a side discussion, I'm one of the few X-Files fans who started watching early on before the show was famous who likes Millenium to the degree that I suspect it may even be superior to the X-Files. O what a heretic I am! I think the reason I like it so much is because it's so se7enish -- the world is apathetic to everything that happens. I think that identifies with how I view the world sometimes.
Anyway, Frank Black at the end of the episode tells his police chief/friend that "killers aren't born." He is referring to the deviant in the episode, who took it upon himself to terrorize families who considered themselves safe because they had fancy security systems and lived in comfortable neighborhoods. He enters inhabited homes during open houses (days set up for prospective buyers to look at the house) and hides until the family is vulnerable. Then he kills them and leaves specific evidence to insult the police, the last line of security. The killer grew up in an environment where there was no parental support or stability.
This is basically the same conclusion about personality development that a lot of people are coming to these days. For instance, some of you may listen to Howard Stern or others of his style of broadcasting. They're firmly convinced that one's upbringing affects how he turns up when he gets older. Children with stable and loving families most likely grow up to live stable lives. Children who are abused grow up into adults who abuse their children or have a tendency to be violent.
It is, in a way, true that you do turn into your parents.
You can tie this into the big cloning issue as well. Personalities are shaped mainly by environment. The same genetic codes will not produce the same personalities. It requires identical upbringing to even come close. Other than this, btw, the sheep cloning issue doesn't interest me at all -- come on guys, this has been happening for quite awhile now. Get with the times and stop hyping it up. Hype up my site on your TV shows instead, will ya?
This issue has fascinated me for awhile because people always wonder how killers end up how they are. It's no big secret. Somewhere along the line, almost all killers lived a chaotic and painful childhood. Someone did not treat them right. Someone is at least partially responsible. We cannot continue to look at killers and consider them freaks of nature who were products of nothing and causes of nothing. They encountered scarring events in their lives and they either pass them on to their children or they pass it on to other people when they terrorize them. It's a never-ending chain of pain and suffering.
I don't know how much longer the question of whether personalities develop more because of genetics or because of environment will circulate after the millenium -- the answer seems to be making itself more and more visible every day, as children turn into adults and start making decisions.
Likewise, it's no secret most successful people turn out the way they are. They usually have stable and supportive families and peers who placed value in learning or business or whatever. Parents pass their traits and habits to their children. My parents are successful and I know I'm on my way to something successful. I just feel it.
I could go further and further with this, turning it into a full psychological hypothesis on the development of the living identity and personality, but I won't. Not only do I not have the knowledge necessary to do this topic justice, but the purpose of the 'Box is to throw out ideas with a little justification, letting the reader ruminate on it and come to his own conclusion on his own time. Besides, I'm lazy.
In short, don't spread any bogus information about people being killers just because they were born that way. Don't spread information that single-parent families do not affect children at all. Take some responsibility and accept that the current state of families is not healthy for future generations. I'm nineteen and I grew up well, but I am afraid to see what will happen when younger generations grow up, with divorces and broken families increasing every year. Until we get used to that sort of world, or we return to older values, I think we have good reason to start worrying about personality development right now.
"Then again," as Dennis Miller says, "that's just my opinion and I could be wrong."
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