The Opening of Spiritual World by Experiences

Spring 1993



Introduction: Nature and Nurture; Being A Human

††††††††† Most of us are living our own life without knowing where we really came from or where we will go after death. This might be the question that we need to consider through our lives, so it might be help us to think about why we are living, and to lead a humane life.

††††††††††† Anyway, as long as we are living, we hope to get to know more about ourselves, and ourselves to be more humane. Then, what is it meant by saying being a human? I have had a thought that we are consisted of the nature part and nurture part to be a real human. As to say, we are born with some important characteristics of human, which we will remain, and we are collecting or learning by experiences, some important characteristics of human which we will add on.

††††††††††† Even though, it seems like that our innate part and learned part interact each other, still, there is a need to draw a line between these two parts to get more knowledge about characteristics of human. In this paper, I would like to think about the innate part and the learned part of ourselves, the human.


PART A.1.The Attributes of Our Innate Part


††††††††††† So many different peoples are living around us. None of us seems to have same characteristics as others have. Why did this happen? Why is it happening? As one of the reason, first, many biologists had proved that it is because of our genes which we are inherited from our parents. Different parent causes the diversity of gene pattern which makes possible to have different innate characteristics. Most parts in our text book and almost every psychological reference ever published after the 18th century were focused on our learned parts of characteristic. For me, it is because of that we canít change our innate characteristics but we can possibly develop the learned part of ourselves by learning or nurturing. As to say, it is due to the characteristics of gene which can not be changed. However, in my thought, our innate part shouldnít be neglected from the realm of modern psychology for better understanding of the human.

††††††††††† Itís merely my personal opinion that some times our innate part plays the most crucial role in our daily life, since it seems like that we have a tendency to learn what we are apt to. As to say, it seems like that we learn what we are born to learn by the aptitude of our innate part. In addition to this, our innate aptitude plays an important role, when we stand in the place of choosing what our experiences would be like.

††††††††††† It was when I was in the high school, thinking that there are some experiences that we tend to go through or that we choose in accordance with our innate tendency. In Korea, it was like a hell, the situation me and my friends were going through. We were not just friends but also we were more like enemies for each other to get into college and to be a selected one. It was like the situation shown in the text, ďthe survival for the fittestĒ. The competition was so serious that some of high school student did commit suicides. To pass the entrance exam was all we had to think about and to live for during the most important period of our life, the youth. It seems so meaningless and irony situation that our country have, when I recall at this point. Anyway, I had my own life that was not too far away from the reality. Still, I cherished the friendship with my friends and liked to talk about life and future together. I had experienced myself seeking and emphasizing more valuables in those days, which seems likely due to one of my innate tendencies. I wanted to know more about the truth of this world and my days, the youth. Something in my heart always reminded me that I should learn more from this world of youth, not only from the concepts of Calculus or Physics. I read many books as possible, and one day, Iíve decided to figure out what Iím missing in my youth. That time, I found out that I have this innate tendency of finding or seeking for something unusual, which would make me sounded like a nuts. I did try to meet my friends as many as possible and to discuss about what we should learn from this world of youth.

††††††††††† As I talked with my friends, I had this habit of trial to understand their family background and to know more about them. It was out of my goodwill to have better understanding of them, so that I could be a little help for their problems. It was very interesting for me to meet and talk with my friendsí parents and analyze their characteristics considering my friendsí characteristics. Since I was not the exception, it was a lot easier for me to understand most of their characteristics and of mine, too. My friendsí characteristics might be due to how the parents nurtured them but it was little short for nurturing to explain many crucial factors of characteristics. In my thought, the innate part of them also helps them to lead their own life, and it seems like showing us the way to survive in this world as ourselves, being faithful to our unique innate tendency. Iíve got this tendency to consider peopleís innate attributes on their personality and intelligence for better understanding.


2. The Unchangeable Innate Part; The Spirit.

††††††††††† As a common sense, I learned about the roles of gene in biology class. The gene decides many characteristics of us to formulate our physical or bodily basis. And also, it was the role of genes shown in our text, deciding the non-physical or mental characteristics that we are born with, such as personality or intelligence. In our textbook, it could be an example, related to intelligence, that a new born baby born with a concept about world grammar or which makes it possible that they donít have to learn to talk. It was merely my hypothesis, but I thought that these kind of our innate concepts that we are born with unique or different from others, might play most important role in picking some characteristics. No matter in terms of biology or psychology, as a person grow up this personís innate part might play a role to have a tendency of choosing what he or she likes to do in a certain way , which he or she was born with as a tendency to become a person with certain characteristics. This notion of me needs more explanation of aspects that I came to convince during attending this course of Dr. J.I had a hypothesis of my own, the connection between spiritual world and the innate part of person. My hypothesis was that when a child is born, they are born with their own tendency to become who they meant to be, which embarrassed the conjecture that they have their own tendency to become what he or she was created to be like.They donít even know how he or she would be like and regard it as it was just happened to be their characteristics.This tendency seems to be destined to determine not only by their biological or psychological factors, such as gene, but also by spiritual factors.What I mean by spiritual factor is some tendency we have as non-physical parts, such as our unchangeable personality or talent.Whereas, we can comprehend our innate tendency and do something to change it, these are some of our characteristics that we canít comprehend and change only with the concept of our innate part, inherited from our parents.As to say, the spiritual factors are like our destiny, which God bestowed us, so that we canít do anything about it but accepting.It became clear that we are absolutely born with many characteristics that might be helpful for being a person, but also the crucial factors that we carry on all through our lives.As an example of spiritual factors of us, I would like to present my story.I was born in a happy family as an only son.It seemed that I am so blessed when considering my parentsí educational background and morality.They were both working in University as assistant professors.Both of them majored in Social Work and had their own philosophy about nurturing a child and to let me experience many things as many as possible. This is a part of their nurturing a child with philosophy. However, as I grew up, I think I began to resemble my father, at the same time, I began to compete with him without my awareness. Gradually, I felt that I would be a person just like my father. The things I handle and the way of doing so was in accordance with my fatherís thought. It was so amazing that each time I felt that he and I are linked with something like spiritual connection. He is calm but always very anxious about something. Of course, there are some differences between me and my father, but it seems like that I didnít like my fatherís characteristics and I developed the exact opposite characteristics. He is now a professor of a University in Korea and doing his project for the goodwill for every mankind in this world. It seems like my destiny that I would do what he has been doing and will do until his death. About this example of myself, I think that thereís some kind of soul or spiritual line between me and my father that had existed long before I came out to this world. And, I strongly believe that this doing and experiencing things as I choose is a part of my unchangeable innate tendency, or more likely my spiritual tendency.


3. The Discovery of Spirit by Experiences


††††††††††† As shown in part 2, I strongly believe that I was born with my own spirit. Iíve shown some examples that Iíve discovered during my years of experiencing this world. When I consider the fact that I was linked with my father spiritually, I canít skip the mentioning of somebody who has helped me with opening the world of my spirit, my mother. She was the one who helped me most crucially with giving me chances to go through all those experiences. I have got all those memories with her, rather than my father. She was always there with me assisting me to think about myself with my own attitude. She is a smart woman who doesnít want to miss all the experiences that would be helpful for the discovery of my innate merits or spirits. She took her important roles as the one who always disciplined me with the desirable way of managing all those experiences that I was going through. Most of my present characteristics are due to her unconditional devotion of nurturing me, even though most of them were already with me as the innate parts of me at the same time of my birth. She spent most of her time nurturing me with the unconditional love of mother when I was an infant. As I grew up, she began to help me with developing my ability to reason one by one about the things happened around me. Since she was a Christian, she emphasized me with the importance of love and showed examples of love with her doings. As the most important part of her nurturing me, she always helped me with letting me do everything independently without telling me to do something forcefully. Both of my parents were strongly believed in me, so that they didnít really tell me forcefully to do something or not to do something. They gave me almost every choice to choose and think by myself about my chosen experiences. They tried to help me with what I asked for help and to support me with the condition that I would be responsible for what I do with love, and they really raised me to have my own independent ability to think about whatever happened to me and to deal with all those experiences. When I recall, reminding me to be thankful to whatever happens was the most important teaching from my parents to me, and their o way of nurturing me was the greatest love that they have given.


4. The Sensation of Spiritual World in Reality


††††††††††† In my reality, I experience so many happenings around me. Sometimes, I get so puzzled by many experiences and just want to forget all those things and to be in condition of blank. When I think like that, I hate myself thinking of everything around me and wonder that I canít just forget all those things. Then, suddenly, I feel a fear that what if I canít sense anything and loose my ability to think; it would be like a death; I settle all my mind down and try to concentrate. In my thought, the innate part occupies the role to deal with my experiences; analyzing, understanding, and organizing; so that m experiences would be helpful for my future experiences. In addition to this, I wonder that what if we donít have this innate ability, and also there would not be the sensation of spiritual world in reality without it. In a sense that the experiences open, not cause, the innate part of us, the spirit would be a part of our innate attributes. In my thought, the belief that the experience doesnít open the spirit might be due to the fact that there canít be a leap between experience and spirit. As to say, it is not the experience which opens the spiritual world without the attributes of our innate parts. Anyway, it is obvious that there is a connection between experiences ad the spiritual world. In everyday life, I really try to experience many things what I really mean is not only the experience but also the sensation of my spiritual world which can be expressed as the thought after experiences. Through my experiences, I can sense the existence of my spiritual world. It is the time when I feel satisfied that I am humane. Because I think that humane means that I think and feel the existence of me, of my spiritual world. In my reality, the sensation of spiritual is the only way to know of my existence. I love to experience many things and a psychologist, who thinks in scientific ways about the humane and the universe, with the sensation of my spiritual world for ever. And, if it is possible, I would perpetuate my love for whom I love and for the mankind.


PART B.5. Heredity and Achievement


††††††††††† In my thought, I was quite sure about what I wrote in part A, still I couldnít revise it clearly, so that it might satisfactory to me. In a chaos, I began my research in library. First, I began the word research with the words like, innate, nurture, or nativism. It was my great start that I found this book. As I read the abstract part in computer, I have a feeling that it would be suitable for my topic. It was titled asĒ Heredity and AchievementĒ written by Daniel N. Robinson who is a psychologist and a professor of Amherst College. The call number, QH431 R742, indicated that it was on the third floor. I ran to the third floor and finally found to without any hardship. I sat down on the ground and began to read the introduction part. For my great surprise, it treats the theory that I wrote in part A of my paper. It was written in a tone of scholar, so that it matches to the explanation of author about the nativism and the empiricism. I really liked the point that he dealt with both views about human nature objectively. In a glance, I noticed that he was a neobehaviorist, emphasizing theories of neobehaviorist, such as, Edward. C. Tolman. He demonstrated many aspects of our innate part and learned part, such as learning, personality, intelligence, and ability by editing some theories. The part that I was most interested in was the explanation of sticklebackís learned behavior which is totally changed from the ascendant (p.103). My attraction for this part would be due to the fact that it was not in accordance with my hypothesis. My hypothesis in part was that important characteristics, in this case, the courtship, would be an innate characteristic, It was such an explanation that a behaviorist would have. I knew that I would look forward some books, which contain the contrary ideas, but I didnít know that my first choice of book would be the one. Anyway, I was still believed in my idea about our innate tendency which would be inherited as a characteristic, It took me almost two days to read this book, and then, I became more convinced about the detail concept of nativism. The author emphasized the environment was regard as but a stage which all of manís innate tendencies are acted (p.376). As an opposite point of view, the author also explained the view of empiricists that humans are nothing but a narrow which reflects the complicated outcomes of environmental influences (p.380). I felt that this book helped me to clarify my ambiguity of ideas on the innate part and the learned part by experience.


6. Human Knowledge and Human Nature


††††††††††† Last time, I forgot to print out what I saw in computer, so I confirmed myself to print out this time. I printed out some pages and skimmed all entries with reading some titles. In my sight, the title, ďHuman Knowledge and Human natureĒ was picked. I really liked the title, so I underlined the call number, 13D161 0352 1992. When I first opened it, I didnít expect that many information from it. Unlikely what I thought it was full of psychological views on humanís knowledge, including nativism and empiricism. It was published in1992 by Oxford University Press, and the authorís name was Peter Carruthers. For my great surprise, the author went through almost every aspects of humanís knowledge; Platonism, nativism, and empiricist, but it seems that he was more like a empiricist. Most of his chapters were about the case of empiricism against the other. It was really not in accordance with the empiricist on innate knowledge of us. After I finished reading some chapters, I thought this book was focused only on the empiricism, which even rejects the existence of innate knowledge. I guessed that the author would be a neobehaviorist, for his explanation of the process of collecting knowledge was in terms of behaviors. I was little puzzled, when I read the case of Locke who was strongly believed in empiricism. Lockeís main argument against the existence of innate knowledge in Book of the Essay was presented. Locke claimed his belief by adopting what might be called ďthe principle of mental transparency.Ē He said that there cannot be anything in the mind that the subject is unaware of (p.49). I thought that this principle of Locke is absurd. Because I think the mental has a transparency, then there couldnít be a lost memory that we canít recall right away. Even though the author tried to persuade the readers to believe in empiricism, I was still more likely to be a nativist.


7. Equilibration and Cognition; A Review and Elaboration of Piagetís Genetic Epistemology


††††††††††† I was little tried of reading the book, so I began my research in CD-ROM to find some journal articles, which would be treating the innate idea in a more scientific way. Therefore, this time, I put the words like, innate and genetic, and I found a title which mentions a well-known contemporary psychologist, Jean Piaget. Before I go to the second floor, I looked up the textbook to check something about him. As I remembered, he was a great cognitive psychologist. With holding the page that I underlined the call number, BF 21 0286, I ran to find the journal name, ďGenetic, Social, General Psychology MonographsĒ, which contains the article titled, ďEquilibration and Cognition; A Review and Elaboration of Piagetís Genetic EpistemologyĒ, written by E.J. Parkins. As shown in the title, it was about little complicated theory. The tone of the writing was very scholar, and the point of view was properly objective, impartial, and especially because of its characteristic as a review. The author explained the value of reviewing Piaget as a genetic epistemologist with saying that the biological adaptive process of equilibration, which is a condition of conformity between cognitive structures and their external experiences, is a part of our innate cognitive subsystems (Pakins, 1988). The article was mainly about our innate ability of equilibration which makes us possible to continue the auto regulation from the system of reflexes to the recombination of habits, in turn to Verbal or cognitive intelligence (Piaget, 1936). To facilitate this equilibration ability, there must be correspondence between cognitive structure and the environment, and this requires equilibration within cognitive development. Thus, equilibration within cognition would be a subsystem of the ability of cognition as an extension of organic equilibration (Parkins, 1988). At the end of this article, the author summarized the main points on equilibration within Piagetís theory as follows: the primary role of cognition is to extend our innate ability to keep equilibration (Piaget, 1970). In addition to this, he emphasized that the cognitive structures are not simple fixed copies of the environment, and that it was the innate ability of cognitive equilibration supported by the environment (Piaget, 1958, 1961, 1975). After reading this article, I figured out that every ability, in this case cognition is due to our innate attribute, which seems so scientific and amazing.


8. The Human Conspiracy


††††††††††† I found this book with interesting title, ďHuman ConspiracyĒ, with my word search. It didnít take long time to figure out it is a psychological reference with many pictures and diagrams. It was written by Nigel Calder in 1976 and published by Viking Press. The call number was BF698.9 C8 C28 which gave me hard time to find it, since the cover was damaged. It was like a collection of many stories which made me feel familiar with the author. It was consisted of four parts, and the third part was only related to my topic, which is titled nature and nurture. It was somewhat different approach of him to mention cultural attributes on the innate part of children. He was emphasizing the important point of nature part which can be accumulated by the ascendant, and it could be inherited as a former of culture (p.79). One of his proof was that elaborated study involving 3000 families of different ethnic origins in HawaH (p.80). Some of his hypotheses were absolutely based on the importance with our innate tendency toward the formation of cultural realm, which was in accordance with my idea, even though it shows some diversity of its object. I was attributed by his hypothesis about the difference of intelligence with considering some ethnic background, such as Euro-Americans and Japanese-Americans (p.83). Conspicuous differences showed up as the result of his test. Such as, memory performance is a case in point, and here genetic differences seem to be relatively unimportant. Most of them didnít show remarkable difference between a certain ethnicís ability to calculate and the date when they first began to use the currency (p.85). I didnít know the reason, but it seemed so unbelievable and absurd correlation. Although the test was ended in a funny coincident, in terms of contemporary psychology, many tendencies that we were born with can be developed. Also, I came to think that the innate part of us can be used in the diversity of its aspect, and it can be directed for the goodwill of mankind. Before I returned this book, I did my best to mend the damaged part of cover page.


9. William L. Stern, 1871-1938: A Neglected Founder of Developmental psychology


††††††††††† This article was journal named, ďDevelopmental PsychologyĒ, written by Kurt Krepprer, and its call number was BF699 D48. I was very luckily to find this article. It was almost CD-ROM with using words as Nativism and Empiricism. I found eight articles about it, and was skimming all those articles. About ten minutes before closing I chosen this one and ran to the second floor to find and print it. After printing, I came home with the hope to read the article. When I first read it, I was little surprised at the point that this article was not mainly or the topic that I chose. But, I continue my reading, and finally, found his main idea which was in order to overcome the fundamental split in the academic psychology of his time, that between environmentalism and nativism. The tone of the writing was almost same as our textbook, which is written with the purpose to satisfy scholarly. But, the authorís views were somewhat partial, which was regarded as the intention of the author to reclaim the significance of William L. Stern. As I read the article, I was so fascinated by his unique views on nativism and environmentalism, one of them ca the theory of convergence. Sternís intention to create an overarching concept in which both nativism and environmentalism was accepted as two aspects of one process-what he called, individuation (Stern, 1918). Thus Stern focused on the interplay between the individualís dispositions, which is from the innate tendency, and the environmental conditions influencing individual development or those dispositions. Two aspects, dispositions and environments, converge in the process of individual development. But, he emphasized more on the individualís environment with his statement, that individualís dispositions is to be understood as always linked to the environment; it is viewed as a goal-directed and as the following result of the environmental conditions(Stern, 1927). When I consider my hypothesis, that the innate part of us directs the environmental conditions; in other words, we are apt to choose the environmental conditions, as following tendency of our innate part, it seems just like the opposite of what I hypothesize. Anyway, it was worthwhile to think of the innate tendency in a way that the author insisted.


10. Be Yourself


††††††††††† Finally, Iíve found this book on the second floor, since the call number was HF5500.2 B74. Iíve decided to use this book, ďBe YourselfĒ, written by Margaret E. Broadly, for my last reference. As a whole, the tone of the writing was popular, and it was like storytelling. It was the book for analyzing peopleís innate aptitude, so that it might be helpful to people with deciding a career. The author demonstrated many cases that might be necessary to understand for the better objective and impartial view considering the contents of this book. I think it would be in the realm of contemporary psychology, the theories shown in this book because of its explanation on applied aspect of psychology. I liked the whole story, not only because it deals with the theme that I wrote in part A, but also it would be really useful in a good way. The authorís theories were mostly based on nativism. The part that I liked most was the ending part focused on the philosophy of life which would be really effective, only with the fullest understanding of ones innate part. As an example, the author said that the psychological study performed in a productive way would like to be able to measure and analyze such traits of human, as intelligence or ability of memorization. But, just as a chemical analysis does not make a new chemical, neither does analysis of some mental traits of human make us possible to have a better life(p.182). As to say, the analysis of some mental traits without good purpose doesnít mean any progress. Unlikely a chemical, man is more complex and wants to have emotional and spiritual needs which should be fulfilled to live a better life. The understanding of our innate spiritual needs would be the start of the better life with the philosophy which is compatible with the innate tendency. I really want to recommend, since it has dealt with the need for understanding our innate tendency in a realistic way.




††††††††††† It was a quite experience to do my research. During the period that Iíve struggled to find the source and to write as I analyze, it felt like time flying. Now that Iíve finished my research and write the conclusion part, and I feel the vanity about what Iíve accomplished so poorly. No matter how Iíve tried, it seems obvious that my paper isnít worthy in terms of scholarís view. Anyway, I did my best to prove my belief to myself and to have more knowledge about my vague hypothesis on our innate tendency.

††††††††††† I think my idea, in terms of origin, revealed in the form of literature. It came out to be a literature of mine. And, it became clear that I was short for express my idea in terms of culture. So to speak, I only could conceptualize my hypothesis in terms of my personal experiences, basically, which is the most important origin of my every single idea, the goodness. If I call this as my innate tendency to exercise through my entire life, I would recommend this to others. It is absolutely valuable, because I think it is the beginning of our innate tendency for searching the spirit, the truth in terms of individual.I guess I have not changed at all, even after Iíve been all through the theories that seemed to be contrary to my idea. But I learned that I need to read many books as possible to formulate my theory on strong empirical base. Also, I figure out I need to broaden the source of reading. My next source would be Swedenborg who should have been used as one of my sources. From now and on, my trial to explore what I believe as the truth will be perpetuated in a way of progress for the goodness.




Broadley, M. E. (1972). Be yourself. Washington- New York.

Calder, N. (1976). The human conspiracy. New York: The Viking Press.

Carruthers, P. (1992). Human knowledge and human nature. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kreppner, K. (1992). William L. Stern, 1871-1938: A neglected founder of developmental psychology. Developmental Psychology, 28, 539-547.

Parkins, E. J. (1988). Equilibration and cognition: A review and elaboration of Piagetís genetic epistemology. Genetic, social, and general psychology monograph, 114, 77-96.

Robinson, 0. N. (1970). Heredity and Achievement. New York: Oxford University Press.