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Nature vs. Nurture

  • ... the breed is more than the pasture. As you know, the cuckoo lays her eggs in any bird's nest; it may be hatched among blackbirds or robins or thrushes, but it is always a cuckoo. ... a man cannot deliver himself from his ancestors.

  • Breed is stronger than pasture.

  • Environment is undoubtedly a secondary factor in the phenomena of life; it can modify in that it can help or hinder, but it can never create.

  • A human being isn't an orchid; he must draw something from the soil he grows in.

  • My theory is that when we come on this earth, many of us are ready-made. Some of us — most of us — have genes that are ready for certain performances. Nature gives you these gifts. There's no denying that Caruso came with a voice, there's no denying that Beethoven came with music in his soul. Picasso was drawing like an angel in the crib. You're born with it.

  • I think character never changes; the Acorn becomes an Oak, which is very little like an Acorn to be sure, but it never becomes an Ash ...

    • Hester Lynch Piozzi,
    • 1797, in Oswald G. Knapp, ed., The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington 1788-1821 ()