People get me thinking, for some reason or another. Maybe it’s because I’m continuously bored, or maybe it’s because I listened, once, in a psychology lecture, but I find myself wondering – continuously – why the hell do people do the things they do.
Why does the guy on the train play music from his phone at a volume that irritates the neurones out of every other passenger’s brain? Does he lack the ability to feel concern for the affairs of others? Or does he simply not care? Is he very proud of his musical taste and hopes that all others will enjoy it also? Maybe he is bored and wants to start an argument just to make his enduring journey pass more quickly, or maybe he’s going to run a marathon in an hour and the only sound that will get him pumped up enough is ‘Lil Wayne singing about how his modified Cadillac got repossessed while he was in jail?
I can’t be the only one that wonders why these blimps in humanity behave the way that they do. We’d all like to think that they are thoughtful and good when they want to be, or that they only react to situations in this way because something terrible happened to them long ago and they have lost the ability to feel compassion for another human being. It is easy to be judgemental of the different or the abnormal. What really interests me is why the average person, or the ‘normal group’, behave the way that they do. Why does the average train commuter sit quietly against the window and read the Sydney Morning Herald on the way home? More interestingly, why does the teenager next to them listen to music? Why does the twenty-nine year old lady read OK magazine? Why does the nurse just sit blankly staring out the window?
What causes us to make the choices that we make? Why is it that right now I am writing this article when I probably should be studying for my anatomy mid-semester? The answer, you could say, is that I enjoy writing more that I do studying anatomy and that’s why I made this choice. But why do I write when I am procrastinating and not play video games or spend hours on Tumblr like other people who don’t want to study? What happened in my life that made me a writer and Joe Smith down the road a gamer? Is it because I am more educated? Is it because I think far to much and feel like reducing others to my level? Am I writing this just to get it off my mind, or just to so people can comment and feed my ego?
The answer to this is simple – we all have a story. A story that makes us who we are. It is a compilation of how our parents brought us up and the values they taught us to recognise along with the impact of the hundreds (and now with the impact of television and popular culture, probably millions) of people. But can we assume that none of who we are is purely genetic? If we all were brought up in the same culture would we all end up the same? If twins were brought up across the world from each other (a la Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger) would they end up completely different? The ‘Nature vs Nurture’ debate that has been going on for centuries.
The truth of the matter is that every single thing that you are and who you will become is based on who you were. You can be told to forget the past, but whether you like it or not it will effect who you will become. It is because once our first commuter couldn’t enter a conversation about the global financial crisis that he reads the Herald on the train. It is because once our teenager danced to a new band at a night club why he listens to music. Our twenty-nine year old lady heard some gossip that she wanted confirm, and our nurse, well maybe she just forgot her novel at the hospital.