Triple S.’s birthday book supplies this from Garrison Keillor: “I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.” It seemed the perfect quote as I awoke feeling totally discombobulated. The definition first found was not that great so the search for meaning continued.This from Urban Dictionary is priceless: “One of those rare and wonderful words that means exactly what it sound like. There is no word more onomatopoeic to confusion than discombobulate.” Huh? The favorite synonym found eventually – befuddlement.
A trip down to LL (Lower Lobby) and a conversation with Triple C. did not cure the state, so it was back up to my room. An email conversation with Bruce was in progress, the subject was my summer clothes which I had mailed to Ontario from London (England) thinking I would be in Ontario in July. Change of plans so Bruce is kindly mailing them to Vancouver. (unworn I hope, see blog of February 20, 2017). So I knew that Bruce was up and about and available so I called him to help straighten me out. He magically did, what would I do without Bruce?
We talked of my strange lifestyle, not that it is not glorious most of the time but it borders on bizarre. Bruce was so reassuring. He conferred upon me the status of a Genuine Eccentric mentioning that Great Britain encourages interesting eccentrics. Poof, I felt better. I went down to the LL and spoke to Triple C.
Me: Were you worried about me?
Triple C. Nodded yes with real concern in his eyes.
Me: I am okay now. My friend Bruce who has known me since I was 19 says that I am an eccentric and that England encourages them.
Triple C. comes from the UK so we had a great conversation about eccentrics which proved even more reassuring.
Me: Now I am going up to my room and have breakfast in bed.
Triple C. Good idea, and then go out on the patio and have some fresh air.
Me: I don’t have a patio.
Triple C. Then open a window.
Me: They don’t open.
So I caught the elevator, went up to the 19th floor, called room service, then soon an omelette magically appeared. Yummy. So it was back to bed to write this blog. This blog will conclude the final excerpt of Nurture, Nature, Neither. Then I will be off to the jacuzzi which is outside and I can get fresh air and bubbles all at once.
Conclusion of Nurture, Nature, Neither
Kempermann’s work dovetails into suppositions made by psychologist Sandra Scarr, what she called “niche-picking”: the idea that each individual develops a different set of talents, in order to carve out his or her own identity. Two people with initially slight differences might develop radically different skills, because they follow different paths. For example, one child likes basketball, another painting; at first hardly anything distinguishes the two, But, from the beginning, the first is slightly better at basketball, the second at art. Over time, the first child devotes herself to basketball, spends thousands of hours playing the game, and eventually becomes a professional athlete; the other applies herself equally to her chosen pursuit, and becomes a great artist. Tiny initial differences in talent, or simply in desire, become magnified over time.
There is a hint of this phenomena in the sketchily known details in the Dryburgh saga. Uncle Dave arrives in Regina at the age of ten and devotes himself to the game of soccer. Additionally, he begins to put the game into words as well, there were no reporters assigned to cover the game so he reports and the Regina Leader Post prints. But he is side tracked. He begins to follow in the family footsteps and apprentices as cabinet maker but he contracts pneumonia and the doctor tells him he has to find a new line of work. He says: “OK, I will go back to writing about sports.” He spends thousands of hours writing and becomes a great sports writer. Whereas, a younger brother, Uncle Bill, did not get pneumonia, he spends hundreds of hours breathing in that saw dust and goes on to be a great cabinet maker.
The new study also sheds light on why creatures with identical genomes can wind up with such different lives. Kempermann and his fellow researchers could not only trace every movement but also they could do a post morteum on the brains of the mice, (that must be a difficult task, requiring at least a magnifying glass) They were able to find that the structure of their mice brain were affected by measuring the neural growth within the hippocampus. That means not only behavior is altered by experience but even the not so mighty in the case of mice brain is transformed.
This is not the final word, the importance of genes has not been eliminated. Of course mice behave like mice and not flies, roundworms or humans. Everything is a mixture of genes, environment and accidents with the three merging together. But it is a new paradigm and offers, at least, a new way of looking at my mystery.
But, wait, wait, there is more. There have been recent studies that limit the influence of family finding that variance in personality, intelligence and behavior can come from the peer group. Judith Rich Harris has argued that socialization- acquiring the skills and values needed to thrive in a given culture—take place in the peer group.
Back to the Dryburgh saga, Uncle Dave had a different peer group than his brothers. He was the eldest, obtaining his grammar school education in Scotland, his soccer playing put him in touch with a different sub set than, for example the peer group of my junior high school drop out father. He wrote for, and was published by the leading newspaper. The other reporters, at some point, became Uncle Dave’s peer group.
There are other small kernels of current truths. For example identical twins growing up together share genes, parents, siblings, peer groups and culture. But even with all of that commingling they are highly similar but far from indistinguishable.
One easy to grasp fact, from this scientific mish mash is that birth order and only child status have few effects on behavior outside the home.
Uncle Dave and I were both first borns, and were practically raised as only children for the first six years of our birth.
Then, talk about kicking someone when they are down, another extensive study tested the possibility that children might be shaped by unique aspects of how their parents treat them (as opposed to ways in which parents treat all their children alike) showed that differences in parenting within a family are effects, not causes, of differences among the children. (Reiss, David Neiderhister,James, Hetherington, E. Mavis and Phomin, Robert. The Relationship Code: Deciphering Genetic and Social Influences on Adolescent Development (Cambridge Mass. Harvard University Press, 2000. So Uncle Dave’s parents and my parents treated us differently than our later appearing brothers because we WERE different, that did not make us different. So there, Robert, George, Jack, Jim, Bill, Alex, Garnet, Denis and Dale.
Indeed attempting to discern where and when and why my uncle’s genius arose is most complicated. But that does not mean I should, or will give up by saying: It is all too complicated to think about and I should just let sleeping dogs lie An article that is the source of much of this information pulls its readers up short with the following conclusion “ As with inflation, cancer, and global warming, we have no choice but to try to disentangle the multiple causes.”
So its back to the drawing board (to mix metaphors), I feel I have no choice but to try and disentangle the multiple causes. The disentangling to find the answer is the trick- it is not so much a quest but a disentangling, a knot untying. May it knot be for naught.