You have a genetic code, a written instruction on some unchangeable characteristics such as eye or hair colour, height or body type, you may even have certain determinants such as natural intelligence or good spatial orientation, but there is much of the genes that remains unexpressed and dormant They’re just an instruction on infinite variants of you in all possible combinations and it is not necessary for most of them to be activated. What of you will be expressed is dependent on the environment. Genes alone are singular sentences without context. Natural and cultural environments provide that context and environment is anything from the time of conception, referring even to the mental and physical state of your mother as well as the accidental roulette of geographical birth. We’re born into natural environments just as we are born into cultural and social ones and every single proposition and action of or culture, just as all the factor of natural surroundings, play a role in epigenetic transmutation and adaptation. Gene expression is a void topic if not viewed in context of these genes within some sort of environment. Humans are very variable and epigenetically mutable because, unlike the majority of species, we’re so highly adaptable and able to produce tools and shelters that we’ve managed to live in every natural environment imaginable. We are shaped by them to the core, even to the point where our beliefs become predictable.
Were you to be born in the desert ecosystem you’d be far more inclined to be born within a monotheistic religion which believes in an afterlife. Your society would most likely be structured as a top-down hierarchy where some individuals are on top, by birth right or by fighting for the spot, and you would be stratified into classes according to your warrior abilities, age, wealth or any other parameter imaginable. On the other hand, were the genetic lottery odds inclined to place you or your ancestors in a rainforest ecosystem you’d most likely be worshiping many goods and there would be no afterlife once you leave that earthly forest Eden. Your societies would be egalitarian and unbound by hierarchy and stratifications into classes. You would also be far less likely to wage wars in a rainforest hunter gatherer tribe than if you were a desert pastoralist protecting your crops and livestock. The latter are also more likely to enter into generation long feuds and vendettas while developing hospitality and a code of conduct for travellers and ingenious brutality for those who try to steak or sully their honour.
At the intersection of community sizes, the moral judgement of gods and interaction with them there is also a distinctive shift. Stable hunter gatherer communities (polytheistic or monotheistic) tend to have far more indifferent goods. They are just sort of there but don’t interfere much and don’t judge or punish human actions. They are to be worshiped and respected but are pretty much not butting in as they’re not that concerned with humans and what they do going about their goody businesses as usual. They’re off doing their own thing. As the size of groups grows into larger permanent settlements, due to the density of population people regularly and unavoidably interact with strangers. The larger the group/settlement the more likely their Gods are to be interfering and judging what humans do, as a superimposed moral code that rewards or punishes, seeing everything we do, probably to lower the chance o hurting or being hurt by a stranger by this all seeing and judging eyes..
So, as we in the West like to view ourselves as individuals, we are still ourselves, but that self is a by-product off all we inherited or picked up from the environment. Who you become in the long run is a negotiation process between genes and environment. Just take into consideration that, while some basic systems are fully formed in infancy and childhood, you don’t really grow up until 25 when our frontal cortex comes fully on line. Until then we’re mostly trying out the world, we’re thrill seekers fuelled by dopamine with weak abilities to regulate impulses. This is because we need abundance of experiences until 25 to form and learn the nuances of the rules in our environment and it really is so complex that it takes decades. Teenagers are not jerks on purpose. Their brain is just seeking dopamine hts and is not fully turned on yet due to an underdeveloped frontal cortex, so they literally can’t make an informed wise choice as we would like them to. The dopamine from a new experience overrides the need for security, but as you begin to settle in youness, this all will change. Get as many experiences as you can and keep an opened mind. What you think of as true and real may be so for you, but it’s an accident of birth place fiddling with the genetics. None of us are able to develop in a vacuum, untouched by these macro weavers of character and destinies.