Let’s now consider another location where we see three switches, the third being slightly different than the first two.  This newer third switch has a variable slide device that adds the ability to “dim” and “brighten” alongside turning it “on” or “off.”  Instead of two choices, there are now multiple options ranging from totally “off” to totally “on.”  This third switch provides us far more variety in determining the light we select.  The image of these three light switches provides a powerful analogy to recognize our opportunity for self-mastery. 

   Like the wires hidden behind the wall that we don’t see, our brain has very complex wiring that we don’t see.  We can develop insight into the operation of our brain if we create a simple model like the three light switches, and label the first “nature,” the second “nurture,” and the third “self-mastery.”  Each master switch turns “on” or “off” a unique pattern of wiring that influences the way we think, feel, and act.  The first wiring, established during the 9 months of our creation, provided us with nerves and chemicals set to automatically carry out vital functions such as regulating our heart rate, body temperature, and breathing.  Nature also provides us genes prewired with the proven instinctive behaviors that enabled our ancestors to survive and thrive through the most savage environments.  These automatic behaviors have allowed us to reach our advanced state of knowledge and creative power.  An innate bias towards survival of the fittest and flight or fight behavior is prominent among all life including humankind.  These instinctive wisdoms have become established through trial-and-error learning to be adaptive to the demands of an uncivilized environment.  Instinct links us to our extended ancestral beginnings.     

After we are born, the external world becomes a newer master who would control our thinking, feelings, and behavior.  Our nurturers, including culture and circumstance introduce a new set of wiring that has different characteristics than our innate wiring.  For example, “instinct” and the automatic regulation of our vital systems are quite similar and predictable in each of us and in other species.  Indeed, we are so similar that we may exchange many body parts and sometimes even use those of animals.  “Survival of the fittest” and “fight or flight” instinct is a quite predictable bias to be found in all species.      

The wiring we receive from outside sources, primarily our nurturers, has far more diversity than that provided by our biology.  Unlike the internal wiring present at birth, our external creators wire us through repetition.  For example, our knowledge of the alphabet, the meaning of words, and our understanding of ourselves and the world is due to our nurturer’s perspective.  We are not asked and we have limited power to resist whatever training we receive.  Through our early years we are quite like parrots, mimicking whatever fate and circumstance provide.  Our external controllers program us to think, feel, and act according to the model they provide.  The thinking part of our brain that I label our “freedom organ,” what most call “the cerebral cortex,” is not fully mature until about the age of 18.  Like wet clay or putty, we are easily molded in the design prescribed by our nurturers before our brain cells become fully mature.