That Ridiculous Idea That Genes Underlie Behavior

Yesterday I was talking with a friend whose son has been so called diagnosed as being so called autistic. I got the impression that my friend feels that genes are somehow causing his son to behave in that so called autistic way. No chance.

I’ve also heard that genes cause depression and that genes can cause people to drink too much, and I even recently read about someone whose so called criminal defense team said that he should not be punished too harshly because his genes made him do it. While so called punishing people may be ridiculous, the idea that genes make people do things is maybe even more ridiculous.

Here’s the deal. Genes are merely templates for proteins. When a protein is needed somehow within a body, a gene is used in the creation of the protein. That’s all. I am not sure how many people are aware of this. People ascribe all kinds of things to genes and maybe once they are aware of what genes really are, they will see how ridiculous it is to blame behavior on genes.

A person is a being manifesting in a body. It’s not the body calling the shots. It’s not the genes calling the shots. When a person has another drink, or chooses a white shirt, or runs for political office, or acts all freaky, or takes lipstick without paying for it, the person, not the person’s genes, is making that choice.

People have all kinds of reasons for doing what they do, or don’t do. They may have misconceptions about life, misconceptions upon which they base their strategies for handling life. So their strategies may be flawed and their behavior bizarre. It’s not genes. It’s misconceptions. They can have infinite reasons for what they do, from childhood trauma, to messages picked up from alcohol marketing, to things they learned from their parents and peers. Whatever it is, it’s not genes making  them make choices.

So this is a good thing to get clear in your mind, especially because so many have it so wrong. If you are dealing with a kid who is acting up in school or you are having a tough time changing a habit or you know someone who is having difficulty interacting socially or focusing on tasks, just remember, it’s not about genes. It’s about ideas, habits, strategies, unconscious desires or anything else that underlies choices people make.

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