Pearls on a string: infinite causes, nature and nurture, and beliefs

A practice I have found interesting (although it gets repetitive after a while!) is to explore the infinite causes to any simple activity I engage in, or even any belief or identity that comes up.

This morning, I did it on the belief that I need to be successful in the world, roughly as society defines it.

Following the trail of causality, I see that it comes from first an innocent thought (a question), which is then taken as true, which in turn may lead to certain behaviors. And this thought, and the tendency to take it as true, comes from my birth family and my upbringing, and that in turn comes from the larger society – which also whispers the same in my ear now, which in turn comes from our civilization, and going far enough back, I see that it (most likely) has to do with survival. To survive, as an individual and group, we need to be successful in specific ways, and the more successful, the better the chances to survive. And this in turn comes from the evolution of this planet, the universe as a whole, and the universe as it appears now – supporting everything happening locally.

This larger perspective helps me see how it is just a belief. It comes from a natural impulse for self-preservation, and is added onto it to support it.

Whatever I choose to explore in this way, and it can be in far more detail than this, reveals a similar pattern, going from thought, taking it as true and/or acting on it, my upbringing, to culture, to civilization, to survival and biology, to the evolution of Earth as a whole, and the evolution of the universe as a whole, and then the unfolding of the universe as a whole, and all of it as it is present now, supporting what is happening here locally.

This is of course just another story, but it does poke some holes in the sense of a separate self right here being in charge.

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