Nature or Nurture? Time Tells by John Kaniecki




John Kaniecki

“I must condemn your utter contempt for ethics,” Rejeck the research director blasted away in furious contempt.

Doctor Ols and Doctor Hines nervously turned to one another. The empty looks and fearful stares portrayed the nervous contents of their minds.

“However,” Rejeck continued in calm words, “I must compliment you on your method which is beyond brilliant.” Now the research director was smiling brilliantly, one of those ‘congratulations, have a cigar, you have a healthy newborn son’ smiles.

The pair of psychiatrists relaxed. The cold harshness of winter had been swept away into a summer of delight. This welcome compliment was the reception they were expecting for their experiment. “Our results are most conclusive,” Doctor Ols volunteered.

“Well,” Director Rejeck spoke thoughtfully, “you can present your findings to the Academy whenever you are prepared.”

The two doctors smiled enormously, matching Rejeck’s countenance. This was the outcome they’d hoped for. Just to appear before the Academy was an honor in and of itself. Surely fame and fortune was to come their way. In the scientific community this translated into an immortal name. To be infused into the text books and become part of the curriculum. To be spoken in the same company as Freud and Jung. Truly Ols and Hines had graduated into the annals of history.


The hall was packed with the who’s who of the scientific community, not only the psychiatrists but philosophers as well. For tonight promised to be an enlightening report on that age old question: was success nature or nurture? In fact those very words, “Nature or Nurture?” were imprinted in giant red letters hanging on an enormous blue banner over the stage.

Polite conversation trickled in the curious crowd. Strong proponents chattered over this newest infusion into the psychological and philosophical realm. Strong opinions on both sides of the controversial subject permeated the talk of the audience. But all were clearly eager to hear the new data resulting from the experiment. It was the way of science. Emotions did not rule the day, cold hard facts did. Let the chips fall where they may, for truth is truth.

A light popped on the stage while at the same time the theatre darkened. A quiet hush ensued in anticipation. A balding man with sparse patches of gray hobbled to the podium. All eyes observed him intently.

“Good evening,” spoke the man in a nervous fashion. “My name is Doctor Harold Rejeck, the Director of the Psychiatric Research Center of Earth IV.”

The audience leant forward in eager silence. The moment had arrived!

“I am most happy to present to you a wonderful experiment conducted by two of our associates, Doctor Jeffrey Ols and Doctor Samuel Hines. It sheds light on the age old question, ‘What is the end result of a human being’s development; is it from nurture or is it from nature?’ Is accomplishment an intrinsic trait in humanity or is the primary influence the environment?” The Director paused, surveying the crowd. His eyes saw expert after expert in the audience. Rejeck smiled. Clearly he and his institute were a stunning success.

“Now without further ado I present to you Doctor Jeffrey Ols.” The aged man hobbled off of the stage into the darkness. In turn a younger man with a full head of brown hair replaced the Director.

“My name is Doctor Jeffrey Ols,” introduced the man. A rousing round of applause filled the theatre. I shall be a hero for the ages, the doctor boasted to himself.

“Myself and Doctor Samuel Hines have conducted a most interesting experiment.” The psychiatrist paused as he shuffled papers. In turn he organized his thoughts and summoned his courage. Far from a fluent public speaker, the man was awkward before a crowd, especially at a gathering of the Academy!”My partner and I traveled through both dimensions and time to visit Earth XVII, approximately four hundred years ago.” At that declaration a profound murmuring erupted among those gathered. The two scientists had shattered what was considered taboo.

Speaking above the din of noise Doctor Jeffrey Ols pressed on. “As you know Earth XVII never developed into a sophisticated society as witnessed by our very own superior Earth IV and many of our other sister Earths. Rather they have digressed into a point of constant war. This has kept them permanently in a primitive state.”

“You can read the full details in our report. To sum it up Doctor Hines and I had found a mother who had given birth to identical twins. We took the babies from their mother and placed them in the care of two different women, one who was in abject poverty and the other in the opulence of wealth.” The audience now burst out in a loud babble. Such unethical behaviour was unheard of. Still the general sentiment of the gathered intelligentsia was that it was a brilliant and bold move.

“Our conclusion was most interesting,” continued Doctor Jeffrey Ols, his voice quaking in fear. “One of the twins wound up in jail. The other became a prominent politician and a great scientist.” Many in the crowd burst out in applause, especially those who proposed that the environment was the primary factor in development. Why here was rock solid proof. “However it was the baby put into poverty who was successful while the one raised in luxury wound up in jail.” At this startling announcement all grew quiet in thoughtful reflection.

Suddenly there was a banging in the back of the theatre as if weapons were being fired. This was followed by a couple of shrieks. The screams cut the air like arrows piercing the wind. Suddenly armored soldiers carrying rifles marched down the aisles of the assembly. The Academy was deathly afraid and bewildered.

“We are from Earth XVII and hereby declare that you surrender for crimes against humanity,” barked a warrior.

From backstage Doctor Harold Rejeck shuddered. He knew all too well the dangers of interfering with the time flow. The question of nature versus nurture had not been decided tonight. But an overwhelming statement on ethics had been.

Food For Thought

Two psychiatrist bend the rules and get a harsh lesson in ethics.

About the Author

John Kaniecki is an author and poet. He resides with his lovely wife Sylvia in Montclair. John is a full time caregiver and volunteers as a missionary at the Church Of Christ at Chancellor Avenue. You can find his work on Amazon

John is a thinking man and thinks a lot about things. This intellectual aspect is evident in his work. His poetry tends to send a message while his stories portray life in all it’s hues.

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