The Blank Slate


Partial attribution for the highly controversial “Tabula Rasa” or “Blank Slate Theory” can be credited to the seventeenth-century philosopher,  John Locke. It goes something like this:

  • Baby is born with absolutely nothing inside of its brain.
  • Baby’s environment determines what will be learned.
  • External stimuli data gets written on baby’s brain.

We know that this theory is not entirely accurate. Science is close to proving that babies are born with some form of genetic memories. At the same time, there is lots of evidence that environmental factors do have an impact on the infant learning process.

I would add to Mr. Locke’s theory, that it may be possible for the slate to become an entirely cluttered mess – information overload (and too much negativity). Multitasking, time pressures, overcommitting, a constant stream of social media, terrorism, political stressors, oh my! How do we get rid of the load that threatens to topple us and keeps us awake at night?

Maybe we need to erase the slate. Better yet, maybe we can find ways to prevent our slates from filling up so fast in the first place. Some folks have done it successfully. They set healthy boundaries early in life and refused to be pulled across them. Or they packed up, left the corporate world, and followed their creative dreams. I suppose one would need to have dreams in the first place. So start dreaming, start erasing, and start writing your future on your own slate before it’s too late!


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