Clare County Review & Marion Press

May I Walk with You? Tabula Blanka?

Tabula Blanca is a term often debated in social sciences to answer the question of the influence of culture on the behavior of human beings. Simply stated, tabula blanca refers to the idea that infants are a “blank slate”, except for some biological survival reflexes like sucking. After birth, the personality, behavior, and social nature are learned by what they perceive with undeveloped minds and how they are treated. One of the fundamental concepts is that of the “looking glass self”. We become what we see reflected back to us in the way we are treated by those around us. If we are loved and accepted by those who care for us, we learn to like ourselves. However, if criticized or abused we learn to dislike or even despise ourselves. All of this makes good sense.
In contrast to this is the idea that some personality traits are present at birth. For example, who is not horrified at the death of a loved one? Who is not shaken when seeing someone harmed as in a flood, or fire, or war? Which of us does not instinctively reach out to someone who is crying or in need of something. It is simply in our nature, as created by God, to be loving, kind, and compassionate. Do we not feel badly when someone is bullied?
I think God created us to be happy, loving and content. These are not things we learn, but are present at birth. We are not simply a product of how we were treated by otherers. Because we have a divine nature, created by God in his image, yet not perfect in the way we think and act, we will experience turmoil in living with others. Who among us has not been traumatized in relationships? Who among us does not want to live in harmony with others?
Enter God, The Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount. God gave us these rules, not because he wants to control or dominate us, but to help us to be happy. We instinctively know that we are not made for rules, and we quickly rebel when rules are pushed on us. No one wants to be dominated.
God knows us, better than we know ourselves. He knows how we ought to live so that we can be happy. I suggest that the rules he gives us are in agreement with who we are as his children. As we follow these rules, that are aligned with our natures, we achieve happiness. The tug-of-war between how we act and our happiness ceases, because we once again are behaving in accord with our true natures.
Want to be happy? Who doesn’t? Align yourself with your true nature as designed by God. Do not expect to be happy if you are not living in accord with the Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount. It can’t be done. God gave us these rules for our happiness, and no one can be truly happy if they are not following them. That’s just the way it is.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May He let His face shine upon you and give you His peace.”

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