As the saying goes, habit is second nature. Habits are very strong. It is quite difficult to get rid of the way of thinking, actions and deeds that have become usual, and they may override person’s will.
The proverb has a book origin. It was first found in Rhetoric by Aristotle: "The habit is becoming a natural property." In the composition of Cicero "On the limits of good and evil," this Greek saying is translated to Latin: habit is like a second nature. Augustine and Macrobius expressed this idea even shorter: habit is second nature. In his Essais, the French philosopher Montaigne seemed to return to the saying its "natural" meaning (in Latin habit means nature): "The habit is second nature, and it is in power." Often, this expression is used in the original Latin: Consuetude estaltera natura.
And what are habits?
Man is born with the already laid down therein inclinations. We are not talking about those natural inclinations, with which we are born and which are our natural essence, working in us at the level of instincts. There are also tendencies, which are disclosed as we develop, leaving the subconscious and surfacing in our minds, so that we suddenly begin to desire something, feel or think something new.
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However, in addition to the original, instinctual nature, there another, which is called the "second nature." And it is acquired by habit.
Natural, initial inclinations continue to work in us, but on top of them we build our second nature. And this second nature is usually much stronger and more clearly manifested, because in this I have the support of society.
Therefore, it all depends on the environment. What we do with the help of education? All education is the creation of the second nature. The society instill man habits of all sorts so that his behavior become more convenient.
And this applies to a lot of things: how we use the bathroom, toilet, as we sleep – all this we were taught and we are used to it and can no longer behave differently.
God forbid, something happened to the man, he broke his leg and was forced to change usual routine. It is extremely hard. And this is only his second acquired nature: his habits dictate him his will.
We say: it refers to the mentality. But what is the mentality? Take any child – you put it in an environment and it becomes its part. And this environment will be his second nature, which would be extraordinarily difficult to change. It will remain in the child forever, and on top of it? The child would have to put other various layers.
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