DNA provides the foundation, but what we experience, do and think determines what we become.
As a result of my interests in history, business and sustainability I study the human mind. I ask in the matter of sustainability why humanity appears blind, suicidal or stupid in its pursuit of belief or behaviour that causes misery, hardship and self-destruction. If I understand how the human mind works I may be effective in influencing change in a positive sustainable direction. I gather my information on the human mind by watching my mind closely, and how others think or behave. I read, I get feedback, I experiment, I learn through trial and error, slowly piecing together the complicated jigsaw of the human mind.
I like to read up on case studies of experiments or individual stories that might shine light on the human mind. I observe that through stroke, dementia or accident parts of the human brain is damaged, and this damage has an impact on how an individual thinks, behaves and experience themselves. What we are it appears is locked into the brain cells of our head, how they connect and communicate.
It is easy to reduce humanity to a piece of mechanical meat if one is not careful. I believe humanity has spirit, that the body, especially the brain, is no more than a receiver/transmitter of the spirit into this world; if the receiver/transmitter is damaged then the spirit won’t get through but the spirit is not impaired, only the body is. Thus I can break the human brain down into a mechanical system without impacting my spiritual philosophy.
Our DNA provides the foundation upon which our mind is built, but environment will determine what is built on the foundation. In my town of Colchester the Romans built a strong foundation, upon which a great temple was constructed to Emperor Claudius. Today something different exists at the location of what was the Temple of Claudius, a castle. The foundations of the temple remains, what is built on top of the foundations and how it is used is different from century to century: castle, jail, folly, quarry, museum and so on. Two genetically the same twins can share a common DNA foundation, but as they progress through life their inputs will determine two radically different brain structures, and thus systems of belief and behaviour between them.