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bighead384
06-06-2009, 05:04 PM
"I believe that our backgrounds and circumstances may influence who we are, but we are responsible for who we become"

What do you think of this quote? Would you say that in general, people don't consider other people's backgrounds enough? Or do you think that people use it as an excuse for failure too often?

I was thinking about GG Allin's crazy dad when I made this. Also, I've had a few political debates that come back to this question...

What do you think?no hidden text this time!

Endymion
06-06-2009, 05:47 PM
i know my background has heavily influenced who i am now.

Rooster
06-06-2009, 05:53 PM
Well, speaking from my own experiences, i think that a person's background is an important factor, it can pave the way that person would walk on later. But the background only paves the way, and it's the person who has to walk on it, that person's decisions are what really matters. Our choices are what makes us who we are. You have to take them, and it all depends wether the choice you made was right or wrong.

So i think that what that quote says is deffinitely true.

_Lost_
06-06-2009, 06:31 PM
Background has a lot of influence on who we become. This much I know. However, its hard to tell how much influence that is and how much of it is "hardwired" into us from the get-go. GG Allin was a total nut bag, but then again, so was his father, so you really can't know how much of that was passed down through genetics and how much was just growing up in his father's care.

In my own family, I see a lot of hardwiring at work. My brother lived with my dad from when he was 11 until he turned 18, but no matter what my dad did, he couldn't change the fact that my brother is sooo much like my mother in a bazillion ways. However, my sister and have lived with our mother our whole life, but my sister is pretty much exactly like my dad and I am a very distinct mix of their two personalities (so far seemingly for the better :)). My sister was a relentless mommy's girl and I have always been more attached to my dad.

Of course our experiences shape our plane of existence as well. I know that specific things I went through in highschool completely changed my view of the world, my goals, and my entire personality even. I feel so different in a lot of ways.

[/tl;dr]

ad8
06-07-2009, 02:33 AM
I think that the background determines who we become. I don't believe in any kind of personality that I was born with. It all comes down to the background and its influence on you filtered by your perception.

IamSam
06-07-2009, 04:09 AM
Saying that your background doesn't influence you in any way, shape, or form is either an outright lie or else you have no recollection of your past (amnesia). Everyone is affected by your past, but it is how you deal with it. Take myself and my sister for example.

My father was emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive to myself but not my sister. My sister witnessed his actions, but never fell under his wrath. Because of what she saw, she for some reason became rebellious in her final years of HS, dropping out, getting her GED, and attempting to make something of herself without the entanglement of my mother or any other authority figure.

I, on the other hand, went to college, got a degree, and in general tried to better myself as a person through education and attempts at not being anything like my father.

On the other hand, sometimes the weight of someone's background can be too much and will essentially brain wash them.

findout5
06-07-2009, 05:25 AM
As much as we have an ideal of who to become, our background can help or difficult us getting there.

Think of the most obvious type of background (rich/poor) and how that plays out on people's life's!

wheelchairman
06-07-2009, 07:12 AM
There is a huge difference between who we are, and what we do. Our backgrounds shape who we are. To a sometimes lesser degree they shape what we do (we do household things or whatever the way our parents did for example.) And often our behavior can be derived from our background.

But then again a lot of choices we make are made in the context of that time or moment and based on our rational thinking. Its the choices you make that you have a 'responsibility' over.

I haven't really had my coffee so I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense.

RageAndLov
06-07-2009, 07:53 AM
You've got to break from the status quo!

RageAndLov
06-07-2009, 10:44 AM
Of course one's background will influence one's persona.

But however lamentable your backdrop is, it can never be used as an excuse for misdeeds.

"I may have committed two heinous homicides, officer, but look here: my background is total shit. I was born in a brothel, the son of a whore and a drug addict, and they used to beat me up and my dad has this studded belt which he..."

No. Just no. You are responsible for your actions. There's no "background determinism" at play.

But if your parents have taught you from the start that you should kill whoever you want, and the morals you've learned from them aren't like the ones other are used to, your background does have something to say.

Rutegard
06-07-2009, 11:10 AM
Saying that your background doesn't influence you in any way, shape, or form is either an outright lie or else you have no recollection of your past (amnesia). Everyone is affected by your past, but it is how you deal with it.

i am glad for this answer! now all i have to do is to quote it :). YEP this says everything there is to say about this subject!!

RageAndLov
06-07-2009, 02:14 PM
So no matter how you've been raised, you're answerable for your actions in the eyes of the law (that is, if you're a sane adult).

I agree with you, but your background can be a reason for breaking the law, and even justifying it.

wheelchairman
06-07-2009, 02:19 PM
What Maria described is commonly known as the rule of law, and its more or less in effect in all countries with a functioning democratic government.


I agree with you, but your background can be a reason for breaking the law, and even justifying it.
You should give an example. Besides breaking the law is something you still choose. A conscious decision based perhaps on your background.

bighead384
06-07-2009, 02:20 PM
What about when the government has policies that help those who have had a poor/disadvantaged background?

RageAndLov
06-07-2009, 02:35 PM
You should give an example. Besides breaking the law is something you still choose. A conscious decision based perhaps on your background.

I gave an example earlier, but I can give you another one.

Meet Jack: Jack is born and raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere. On this farm his parents and his two grand parents on his father's side live with him. The nearest neighbour lives 80 miles from this particular farm.

On this farm it can sometimes get a bit boring, and as a way to be entertained the family on this farm takes the slimest pig which couldn't be used as food anyway and have some fun with it. They torture the pig, burn it, chop off its feet to laugh at the poor pig being totally helpless before they eventually kill it.

Jack likes this entertainment, and when he leaves the farm to go to college in a city, he shows his way of entertainment to some of the other students. They think this is brutal and call the police. Jack then has to show up in court to explain this. Jack can't see what is wrong; "it was only a pig who was to die anyway" he says. Jack is then thrown in jail for three months for knowingly tortured an animal for the purpose of entertainment.

RageAndLov
06-07-2009, 02:50 PM
Hahaha, you should be a writer. Except that the proper term would not be "knowingly", but rather "willfully".


My English isn't perfect, but I'm trying to better :)



Well, in this case, Jack was clearly influenced by his background and his hillbilly roots.

Nevertheless, the law is not a caring parent, we don't live in a fairy-tale, so tough titty for poor Jack. Ultimately, none of us comes from the same background, but we are all supposed to abide by the law. Can you imagine the ensuing chaos, the sheer havoc that would hold sway if, instead of simple "extenuating circumstances", the legislature had "background-challenged" clauses?

Yes, you are right, but poor Jack did not understand what he did wrong nor did he feel bad about it. It was natural fro him. Therefore he used his background to justify his actions.

SweetTatyana
06-07-2009, 03:39 PM
Yeah being ignorant of the law is not a defense, even if others broke it first.

I agree of course that background does in fact add to the person you become however, I feel this effect is two-fold. Of course there are the family values, traditions, culture etc., that you learn from your family. Also, there is also the way society treats you as being part of a background. I am not just thinking skin colour, religion but even being from a certain part of town or what your parents job is etc..

bighead384
06-08-2009, 11:48 AM
Should the government have programs and policies that take people's backgrounds into account? I've had/seen a lot of debates that involve that question.

Bipolar Bear
06-08-2009, 01:10 PM
A person's background influences them to go in a certain direction but ultimately they are free to go in the direction they choose.

come out swinging
06-08-2009, 03:50 PM
i know my background has heavily influenced who i am now.

well said!