Human beings are programmed response in every sense of the word. We learn everything that we are from others. We are not born with knowledge or personality; we acquire those from society-at-large.
As an example; if, at the moment you were born, you were exchanged with a baby being born in Ethiopia, and your skin, hair, and eyes were altered to that of other Ethiopians, you would grow up and be an entirely different person. Your taste in food, music, dress, and all your aspects of culture would be entirely different from who you are today. The difference between who you are here, and who you would be there, are two entirely different people.
If the two of you were to meet as adults, neither would recognize similar behavioral attributes in the other. Each of you would have entirely different personalities. Genetically, you may have the same physical attributes/propensities, but you would have developed them differently, dependent on the physical requirements of your lifestyle. Environmental factors such as food, living-conditions, and healthcare, would have affected your overall appearance, attitude, and physiology. You would experience each other as total strangers. You would each talk differently, dress differently, and have different information and views concerning the world. Not even your height would be the same, because it is determined by many other factors other than just your genetics (i.e. quality of food, medical, and other environmental conditions.) There is nothing about 'the each of you' that would be the same except your genetic coding.
We are social animals, completely dependent on programmed response, operant conditioning, behavioral modification, and culturalization (all really being the same thing,) which determine how we cognitively develop, and who we become in life. Our behavior/personality is not innate; it is a learned response. Who we are is a reflection of all our experiences coalesced into a cognitive personality. We are hardwired to assimilate into social groups and emulate cultural behavior. However, we are not hardwired with preexisting interpersonal/interactive behaviors. Those we learn from life.
Whatever we experience in life, we add to our toolbox of potential human behavior. We fill our box with sensations of love, joy, hate, grief, fear, trust, distrust, want, and a host of other emotional experiences. When events occur in our life, whether good or bad, we reach into our toolbox for a behavioral response. Which tool we pick is dependent on our emotions, and how we have been trained or conditioned to pick. It is not a matter of right or wrong that determines our pick of tools, it is how we have been programmed to behave that chooses our behavior. Whatever is in our toolbox is the extent of our behavioral possibilities, good, bad, or otherwise. Society did not see High School shootings before "Columbine High School." Because it was not in our toolbox, no one considered such a possibility. Once the first shooting occurred in a High School, it was added to the toolbox as another potential human response; now it has become a common occurrence. Stressed out people reach for the most impacting tools (statement) they can find in their toolbox, and what is in the toolbox comes exclusively from society-at-large.
Violence is not innate; it is a learned response. However, social and moral cooperation are not innate either; they too, are a learned response. The nature of human behavior is a socially learned skill from the moment we are born. In other words, our human behavior is what those around us compose it to be. The only behavioral traits that are innate within us, is to group and learn from the behavior of those around us. The character of how we group and interact is solely an environmentally learned response.
We do not feel autonomic. No one wants to believe that they are solely a program response. That would make us sound like robots, and we profoundly believe that we are vastly more. We make our own choices in life, such as what to wear, eat, where to go, what to do, etc... We feel we are sentient autonomous thinkers in every way; that it is not possible we could just be an assemblage of program responses. Having the ability to make our own choices proves that we are not autonomic slaves like a computer program. Thus, we are not programmed response.
All this sounds like proof of sentiency, free choice and all; but it is not true, our choices are predispositions quantified into a choice. Underlying our exterior sense of consciousness is behavioral programming.
There are many layers of programming that go into formulating a personality. Sense no two people have the exact same programming, or for that matter, identical neural wiring, no two people are going to be the same. The reason nature evolved social grouping circuits, was not to get us to work together to move a bigger rock; it was to assimilate another's knowledge, and make each generation more knowledgeable than the generation before. Nature's built-in evolutionary generator is an ongoing accumulation of knowledge, passed from one to another. We assimilate and compile knowledge from many different perspectives. Parents, schools, TV, and peers all conspire in formulating our individuality.
Behavioral constructs such as bias, religion, and political perspectives, are all learned responses. You are not born a republican or democrat; you learn to be a republican or democrat. You are not born a Christian or Muslim; you learn to be religious. As well, you are not born bias; that too is a learned response. The ability to learn is the ability to be programmed. Learning is programming.
We are neurally wired with scaffolding ready to group and assimilate. At birth, our scaffolding is a blank slate that experiences of every type write upon to formulate our personality. Personality primarily forms from birth to about age six. Once a personality is formed, it then interprets all future experiences through that personality lens. As a simple example, a child that 'always' had their toys taken away until age ten, will for the remainder of their life, have a sense of insecurity of possessions. Even if the experience is suppressed out of conscious memory, it is still part of the initial personality lens, and it is quantified into the overall response for the remainder of that person's life. Our scaffolding assimilates whatever it experiences, and formulates the architecture of our personality. Once our personality lens has formed, it is non-erasable, and becomes pervasive throughout our lives.
Any single choice we make has hundreds of predispositions constructing it. Collectively, they give us this sense of being sentient. Disassemble any single choice into its constituent parts, and analyze each part, and there is a predispositional value. Collectively quantify the predispositions, and they equal the behavioral response formulating your choice. Most people are unaware of their predispositional values; and find themselves wondering why they just did whatever they did. Many times you understand why you did what you did, but people around you do not see the rationality. The combination of predispositions has countless expressions we call individuality. Our most common definition of this predisposition processing is called thinking, mind, or sentience; and it is expressed as personality.
Our predispositions are sociologically programmed. We are who we are, not because we invented ourselves, but because our environment invented us. This sense we have of being more than the sum of our parts is correct; we are in fact, the sum of other people's parts; their behaviors, knowledge, and dispositions. Everything that we are as individuals comes from others; our food, clothing, housing, language, knowledge, and even our emotional expressions are provided by society. How we express ourselves is how we have been environmentally programmed to express ourselves.
An obvious example of program response is religion. Religions are often segregated to specific regions, Catholics in one area, Muslims in another. Children born and raised in these regions are heavily programmed to their cultural values and behaviors. Catholics act like Catholics, and Muslims act like Muslims, because they are program to those behavioral traits.
Another example of program response is inner city ghetto kids. They are raised with violence, drugs, and disparity all around them. They often grow up to be gangsters just to survive. Inner city kids develop entirely different personality lenses than country kids. Both are the same at birth, but each develops entirely different mentalities based solely on environmental conditioning. You get out of kids what you put into them...
Many people believe that some babies are born with bad genes, causing their bad behavior; referencing behaviors such as, natural born killers, or sociopaths. That is like saying that babies are born with Catholic or Muslim genes. The truth is that babies are not born bad, but can be born into bad circumstances that produce bad behavior. Human behavior is not genetic, it is environmental. People who are born with neural chemical imbalances (genetic abnormalities) are not born wanting to kill, steal, fight, or lie; their environment no matter how benign it seems, in one way or another, taught their interpersonal behavior towards others. One takes something away from a baby; it then leans to take something away from others. One scolds a baby for bad behavior; they learn to scold others according to their learned interpretation of bad behavior. All human behavior is an environmentally learned response. A baby is not born bad, that it learns in life.
Humanity does not want to acknowledge that individual response, whether good or bad, is a consequence of sociological programming, because if it is, we as society are responsible for the immoral behavior of criminals, not the criminals themselves. We are not intentionally responsible, but we are inadvertently responsible. We unintentionally program bad behavior, and then we intentionally blame the criminals for what they are, and lock them away in small cells. This is like blaming someone with cancer for having cancer and locking them away. The reality is they are both victims of environmental factors. We should be treating criminals the same way we treat disease; do what we can to help them, until we can find a way to fix them. In criminality, reprogramming their social mentality is the only cure. You cannot drug or force morality, you can only reeducate it. Instead of prisons, we should be building reeducation centers, with intensive one on one therapy, designed for reprogramming criminal mentality - with social morals. Those with criminal behavior are victims of bad programming. They should not be our enemy... We should be their doctors, not their tormentors.
It is "we" as society that needs to recognize and change our behavior, to change the programmed immoral behavior of others, such as inner city kids. Changing our behavior towards others, changes their social behavior towards us. Once, humanity believed that the earth was the center of the universe; we burned humans at the stake as witches; and we enslaved people as subhuman based on race or religious beliefs. If we had not reconsidered those programmed responses (Paradigms/predispositional values,) where would humanity be today? The greatest antidote against bad behavior is not to teach it...
We try to teach our children not to curse, because once they learn curse words, they use them wherever they go; schools, churches, stores, and neighborhoods. Profanity coming out of a child's mouth can be quite embarrassing, because they reflect what they learned from us. We try to control what they learn, because what they learn, they use, a case of straightforward-programmed response, which parents with young kids have often learned the embarrassing way. Anything that babies and kids experience in life is neural/cognitive programming; and they can pick up on the most subtle cues and gestures. They learn everything from us.
Why are Egyptians, Egyptians, Romans, Romans, French, French, or Americans, Americans, etc… because that is how we were programmed. Our environment makes us who we are, whether in the past or now. We are not born predestined to be who we are; society-at-large programs us to be that which we become. Just as one learns a language from their environment, so too, does one learn to be who they become in life. Experiences and information "in," produce personality and behavior "out;" one only need look at the lives of others to see that they reflect what the culture of their environment made them. In other words, the book of who we are is written by the authors of society-at-large.
In conclusion, humanism is a 'programmed response;' we are what society has made us, good, bad, or otherwise. C'est la vie...
Additional data on ' human behavior/programmed response' can be found in topics, The nature of "Morals," and, The nature of "Religion." As well, there is an enormous amount of data on the Internet with different perspectives. Research and learn about what it is to be human, and why we 'believe and behave' as we do. All you have to lose is ignorance.
A question never asked is worth nothing,
An answer never given is worth even less...
What are your opinions, comments, or questions?