Gene expression at the cellular level, in combination with direct experience in everyday life, determine who we are, what we think and feel, and how we behave. These adaptive characteristics, a result of evolutionary forces, prompt the strategies that we adopt and maintain in confronting reality. There are various influences that shape our individual and social development: Primary cultural institutions: home, school, office, church, state provide us with the practical skills to navigate the world. Science and art challenge our curiosity, nudging us with conjecture, experimentation, and creative thinking. Parental and peer pressure indirectly shape our sensitivity to these influences. While at the same time, our genetic predisposition toward deception and self-deception tempers our ability to acquire wisdom and uncover truth.
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland