Imprints (software frozen into hardware) are the non-negotiable aspects of our individuality. Out of the infinity of possible programs existing as possible software, the imprint establishes the limits, parameters, perimeters within which all subsequent conditioning and learning occurs.
Before the first imprint, the consciousness of the infant is “formless and void” – like the universe at the beginning of Genesis, or the descriptions of unconditioned (“enlightened” i.e., exploded) consciousness in the mystic traditions. As soon as the first imprint is made, structure emerges out of the creative void. The growing mind, alas, becomes trapped within this structure. It identifies with the structure; in a sense, it becomes the structure.
This entire process is analysed in G Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form, and Brown was writing about the foundations of mathematics and logic. But every sensitive reader knows that Brown is also talking about a process we have all passed through in creating, out of an infinite ocean of signals, those particular constructs we call “myself” and “my world”.
…Reichians, disciples of Dr Spock and the Summerhill School, etc have all called attention, with some impatience, to the brutality and stupidity of many of our traditional child-rearing methods. These methods are ‘brutal’ and ‘stupid’ only if, like the above-mentioned heretics, one regard the goal of child-rearing as the production of a sane, balanced, creative [NOT CRATED] human beings. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN THE GOAL OF ANY SOCIETY IN THE REAL WORLD. The traditional child-rearing methods are quite logical, pragmatic and sound in fulfilling the real purpose of society, which is not to create an idea person but to create [CRATE] a semi-robot who mimics the society as closely as possible – both in its rational and irrational aspects, both as the repository of the wisdom of the past and the sum total of all the cruelties and stupidities of the past. Very simply, a totally aware, alert, awakened (unbrainwashed) person would not fit very well into any of the standard roles society offers; the damaged, robotized products of traditional child-rearing do fit into these slots.
– ROBERT ANTON WILSON. 1987. P 117-8. PROMETHEUS RISING. FALCON PRESS.