But if it were possible to strip away all illusion and conditioning from our minds we would still come down to core person who is uniquely
This is IDENTITY and it is our nature to BE what we are; I couldn't agree more.
The question has always floated around behavioral science as to what leeway, what room we have within our core nature to modify ourselves.
I step back and look at the seemingly infinite varieties of life and think that variance is always possible.
Take myself as an example.
I was born into a family in which I had no fatherly influence. My grandparents reared me and my mother was around but not 100% "there", if you know what I mean.
Not one person in that family had even graduated from high school. Yet, they were interested in things on a deeper level. I caught early on that intelligence was admirable and that culture consisted of the things you surrounded your life with.
I was painfully shy and withdrawn with zero self-confidence. But, I admired outgoing people and tried to study how they did it. I loved school and never willingly missed a day of it. When I turned 13 or 14 I started reading the dictionary and learning new vocabulary words. I set my goal as 16 per day! (An outrageous amount, I'll grant you.) I paid my friends a quarter for any vocabulary word they could bring me that I didn't already know.
I wrote all the time. Mostly parody and poetry. I discovered I had a natural ability for portraiture and I became an artist. I chose friends who loved ideas. My closest friends challenged me and criticised my errors and set the bar high. We were competitive.
Had I not met a friend who was a religiously inclined person I doubt I'd have been religious. This friend, Johnny, kept challenging me. I knew nothing about the bible and I resented that he knew an incredible amount of background to history and scripture. It pricked my interest.
Being a JW involved hundreds of details. I was attracted to that. I also liked that they would train you to speak in front of a group of people. I learned to meet strangers and speak with them with authority. I learned to be comfortable in mixed companies of people. I learned to ignore my shyness in approaching the door of a stranger and speaking to them at their front door.
I mention all of this for a reason. Had I been from a different family who had the money to give me lessons, instructions, tutoring and encourage college education I'd likely have be SOMEBODY.
Instead, the course I took frittered away my natural abilities by defusing them into worthless activities of a religious nature that got me nowhere.
After I left the religion I concentrated on learning and playing music and creating a career (albeit a small one). I stayed in the art business until recently and now I sell books in the daytime and do my music at night. In between I write. (Often it is here I reassess my life).
WHAT IS MY NATURE has found ways of expressing itself. My opinion is that within that framework, that genetic template I had many wonderful avenues of expression that might have been more empowering and fulfilling (and enriching). But, I went down the path I did and that is that.
I am far more reflective of the nature of my choices now. I still pay the price for my weak ones.
We can become something other than what we have become. I'm pretty convinced of that. But, we have to crank up the power on our RATIONAL MIND to do it. We must avoid the snares of diseased IDEAS.