One of the sillier notions floating around spiritual circles is the notion that a baby is already enlightened at birth.  The reasoning goes that because a baby has no identification with self and is not thinking as such then they are enlightened. 

Yeah ok…  That would make everyone a clone at birth…

The difficulty with that line of reasoning is the assumption that at birth a blank state of mind exists.  It implies that all knowledge and perception is socially constructed.  The scientific evidence disagrees with that viewpoint.

For example, in identical twin studies there is considerable evidence pointing to a genetic influence which is just as powerful as a social one.  Studies of identical twins separated at birth and then tracked down and tested in adulthood show that they often have astonishing similarities. The extent of similarities between identical twins is rarely, if ever, found in fraternal twins who were separated at birth.

In addition, neuroscience has demonstrated a complex genetic patterning in the brain which is noticeable at the pre-natal stage.  A fetus can distinguish between the voice of its mother and that of a stranger, and respond to a familiar story read to it.  Some behaviours and personality are formed before the baby is born.  There are temperamental differences pre-birth.

None of the above remotely suggests Tabula Rasa – A blank state at birth.

We also have to consider that a baby is in an acute state of helplessness whose existence is entirely dependent upon the caregivers.  Are these people who propose that a baby is enlightened suggesting that enlightenment is a state of helplessness?  Are they suggesting that the strong attachment bonds and dependency on others for survival is indicative of some spiritual development?

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Enlightenment has nothing to do with being dependent or helpless…  Nor is it the absence of thoughts or the lack of identity or the absence of self-awareness (which develops later for a baby).

Neti Neti as the old saying goes…