I think I agree with the general thrust of what you say, and I phrase it somewhat differently.
It seems to me that we are in part our pasts. In part we encapsulate the lessons learned by bodies through genetic time, giving us our particular sets of genetic structures, and in part we encapsulate the lessons learned over cultural time, in the cultures of our birth and our upbringing and our being, and in part we encapsulate the lessons of our particular individual lives, our experiences and our choices and the habits we have cultivated (intentionally or otherwise).
And we are also so much more than that.
We all come with the potential for infinite creativity, infinitely differing and expansive self expression.
Evolution it not just about competition, it is also true to say that all major advances in the complexity of evolved systems develop from new levels of cooperation. One term we have for higher levels of such cooperation is love.
So yes – we can step beyond our past.
I kind of agree with you also, and I would not use your language either.
There is not “a reason” why any of us act as we do, there are so many trillions of overlapping probability curves (reasons) that result in our specific actions in specific instants that it is beyond the ken of any of us to understand any but the most trivial of actions.
Certainly we must acknowledge all of our past, and it seems that the past need not determine the future, and in the absence of choice, the past does determine the future. The levels at which we experience and apply choice seem to be the major determinants of the sort of experiences we get to have in this thing we call life.
As a biologist of 50 years interest and a software developer of 40 years experience I find the investigations into the nature of the systems within us (at both the hardware and software levels) fascinating, and complex enough to keep me interested should I live for the rest of eternity.
I am not saying that we ignore any aspect of what it is to be human.
Certainly we all have histories and those histories are important.
And we also have awareness, at the levels we do when we do, and those levels come and go as they do. And in the moments we have, at the levels we have, we have those instants of choice, where we see the possibilities we see, and we choose the actions we choose.
Yes certainly we have histories, extremely complex histories, genetic, cultural and personal, and they certainly are a big part of the mix of who we are.
And we also have awareness, and choice, and that is more than history.
We each have the options we see as being possible, moment by moment, and we have the option of choosing at the highest levels we can.
I see some truth in both aspects of being, I am not denying either, and both are extremely complex, with many levels of subtle interaction (in all dimensions). And ultimately it is our behaviours that impact reality.
I totally agree that we are potentially unlimited entities.
Where it seems to me that we need to be really clear about distinctions is, that it seems that we can only free ourselves from the constraints of our pasts (at all levels) to the degree that we bring awareness, and we create a space between stimulus and response (at whatever level we are operating at any instant).
It seems that we are defined by our pasts in a sense, and that sense is only the sense that our specific pasts exert degrees of influence on bringing us to our current points of being, from which point we have choice about the path we choose.
The potential paths we see will be influenced by the distinctions and abstractions present in us. These distinctions and abstractions will be a function of our past experience, and our past intuitions and our past choices, all of which will influence the probability functions of our current intuitions.
So yes – we have choice if we choose, and it is really complex.