Jan 19, 2005

Kotowaza of the day: nature trumps nurture*


Mitsugo no tamashii hyaku made

Meaning of Japanese:
What a child learns at three is unforgotten for 100 years

English equivalents:
What is learned in the cradle is carried to the grave
The child is the father of the man
A leopard cannot change its spots

nature = (inherited Nature) + ((imprint) + (early vital character-shaping experiences))
nurture = enculturation, socialization, and all other subsequent attempts to change nature

These are definitions tailor-made for this post and this post only. Please to not confuse with classic nature v. nurture debate.


At 1/20/2005 11:57 PM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

Yo man, nice kotowaza, but I am going to quibble with the post's title. I don't think that the kotowaza is really about nature vs nurture...I think it's about enculturation and the malleability of the young. Which is strictly nurture, no?

At 1/21/2005 7:00 PM, Blogger eBohn said...

Okay, so there's Nature that we're born with, and there's nature that is acquired early on and is near-impossible to change henceforth. Obviously, I was just making a feeble play on the nature/nurture argument and my "nature" and the kotowaza's "nature" is the lower-case version. (Although the leopard, taken literally, would support a capital N.)

No arguments here that the kotowaza is about the malleability of the young, but it's just as importantly about the relatively static "nature" of the person after a certain early point. Right?

It is my general policy not to change my pithy/trite/irrelevant titles once I've spent the requisite 2-3 minutes thinking them up. There are more kotowaza than Texans at a presidential inauguration, after all, and only so much time on this earth. But I can see you feel strongly about this title in particular, so I went ahead and amended it for you.

Please let me know if you're not 100% satisfied. Alternatively, you could suggest a better title.

At 1/24/2005 9:47 PM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

Yo man, I was just making conversation. I think the appropriate response is to tell me to go jump in the lake. Or to start my own blog if I don't like the way you do yours...oh, wait....

At 1/26/2005 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. You Americans have such odd patterns of communication. That's the last time I take you seriously! ;)

At 1/27/2005 5:14 AM, Blogger eBohn said...

Uh, that last one was Eric. I don't know why this finicky thing didn't recognize me.


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