Imprinting

Having learnt about the three main troubles of mankind (brain compulsion, primal fear, inferiority complex), we now have to deal with the above mentioned term IMPRINTING.

The expression was introduced by the renowned behaviourist and Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989). Based on his experiments with greylag geese, he came to the fundamental conclusion that directly after hatching and for a very short period, the chicks are irrevocably imprinted on the first moving object they perceive during their early stage of life and follow it blindly anywhere. Normally, the mother goose is this object and life for the chicks is fine. Lorenz, however, managed to assume the maternal role: the chicks followed him instead of their own biological mother! He could even demonstrate that chicks reacted exactly the same way to lifeless objects externally set in motion – no matter if a football or a piece of cardboard box, as long as there was an object in motion just after hatching. Additional vocal calls enhanced the motion of the object so that a perfectly irrevocable, lifelong attachment was formed only after minutes. All efforts to imprint the chicks on another objects after this short “learning phase” failed - without exception!

This special “learning process” can be observed in different grades everywhere in more highly developed wildlife; it is a very important strategy designed by nature to ensure that the younger generation is shown all the essentials for its future life by the right parents – i.e. it has to “learn” or fix the knowledge on its mind! To this end, nature first of all “binds“ the young animal to its mother so that it can be taught species-appropriate behaviour. Just imagine a baby lion being brought up by a chimpanzee mother – most likely a completely neurotic future would lie ahead of the poor lion…   

The phenomenon of imprinting also plays a most important role for human life in terms of SUBCONSCIOUS LEARNING. What a pity that ADLER and Lorenz missed each other from a scientific point of view in this respect! The fact that till today “researchers” “choose to” or rather “want to” overlook the close connection between the animalistic and human imprinting behaviour may probably be attributed once again to the haughty, megalomaniac ideas of humans. As long as humankind considers itself superior to nature and constantly refuses to assume its true place amidst wildlife, it will never be able to get rid of its enduring neuroses with such an erroneous perspective of its own existence! If only our brain were as clever as our stomach….

Only because humankind is endowed with a mini mind, this by no means implies that it no longer is highly influenced by the ancient genes which it invariably shares with apes to 99%, as already mentioned! Just as the baby monkey is shown all the essentials for its survival by its mother and memorises all of it, the human baby, too, subconsciously takes in all impressions from its environment! Even though humankind currently has the most highly developed learning ability in nature, it does not possess the intellectual possibility to differentiate, sort out, filter, let alone understand its different feelings and perceptions during infancy. Consequently, it uncritically absorbs everything like a dry sponge absorbs water. This is where it benefits from the ancient, genetically determined ability of imprinting. A lion or monkey baby quickly has to learn anything related to its survival. They grow quickly and have to look after themselves, raising own “families” and reproducing – this is why we living creatures exist, not to build motor ways or create SmartPhones! The lion or monkey baby cannot afford to be lazy, stay down a year and repeat a class more than once! This is why this imprinting process is so effective; what you have “learnt” once, remains with you forever.   

In wildlife itself, impregnation works smoothly, thereby ensuring the “eternal” flow of evolution. But as far as we humans are concerned, it usually results in a more or less huge catastrophe – and this is because of, not despite our mini mind! During the naive impregnation phase of the human child, all “sins” of allegedly well-meaning parents, who claim they are raising their children, are amassed – actually, this can more aptly be referred to as spoiling a child! When a child grows older and its level of knowledge regarding the fundamental correlations of human life remains extremely deficient (as experience teaches us), it starts to lead a life which is mainly based on the behavioural repertoire from its impregnation phase – including all quirks that render human life so colourful! And this is where gradually all common “professions” such as murderer, dictator, fraudster, pimp, politician, priest etc., etc. arise from …       

But how on earth is a human child supposed to liberate itself from its poor state of knowledge if it has been taken care of and guided by amateurs as from its birth: clueless parents; completely incorrectly and insufficiently trained teachers; lessons full of boring, purely lexical knowledge to be learnt by heart, only to kill time; no word at all about knowledge on human nature and if it does crop up by coincidence, it is presented completely inadequately and incoherently – but religion lessons as a substitute for story time! On a global scale, people are still under the illusion that reading, writing and calculating are the most important and only steps towards the broadening of knowledge! Without profound teachings in KNOWLEDGE ON HUMAN NATURE according to ADLER and Co. from an early age on, humankind will have to continue wondering why it feels uneasy in this world, ruthlessly exploits nature and incessantly conducts wars against one another on a daily basis – despite PCs, iPhones, cars and streets and a whole lot of religions! This aspect is far too serious and important to be dealt with in between as an interjection – it will require an own topic (4?)!    

For now, it suffices to keep in mind that the phenomenon of imprinting in human life, especially during the beginning of infancy, plays a crucial role as to WHAT or WHO the former child turns into! It becomes clear from what has been said so far that what we typically and cockily refer to as the “character” of a person is nothing but his entire rudimental behavioural repertoire from his imprinting phase. 

What Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) described as “compulsive repetition” is basically the persistence of a formerly imprinted behaviour – a grown person behaves in every situation of life the way he has been used to as from his childhood! Therefore, he subconsciously “repeats” the same behavioural pattern in similar situations. ADLER’s “life style”, too, is another term for the character of a person! “Pretty” word formations can only temporarily conceal the animal descent of humans!   

Psychotherapists around the world could sing an entire opera on the difficulties of teaching people with behavioural disorders a new and better conduct. To “correct a software” is by no means an easy undertaking – just like the all-weather-proof hairstyle from the ads, our imprinted behavioural patterns are not easily disheveled once they have been internalized.    

If we do not thoroughly nourish our mini mind with decent, true KNOWLEDGE in time and do not train our unique cogitation as from an early stage, we will remain imprinted animals for the rest of our lives – as this is exactly how we have been behaving for the last thousands of years! 

There is another practical aspect of imprinting that needs to be mentioned: it relieves the brain! We are all familiar with the initial difficulties when learning how to walk. First, muscular contractions and holding ones balance (literally) need to be repeatedly practiced step by step until we have automised the entire sequence of movements on our two tiny legs at some point. Afterwards, we no longer contemplate how to coordinate one leg after another to achieve a smooth motion. It all happens automatically.

After having been practiced, all “routine jobs” therefore require far less brain power. This way, routine actions have something calming about them as they are familiar to us and we need not expect any surprises: that is an (Emin) state.

Our daily rituals, either carried out as an individual or together with many others (e.g. during religious celebrations!) have a soothing effect on us. And the more often we perform these rituals the more we internalise them (imprinting!) so that eventually, we do not want to miss them.

Our brain relieved, no brain power required, no rude awakening in sight – we can feel as snug as bug in a rug: (Emin)! It is precisely this state of wellbeing we memorise; we then continue repeating our rituals should we feel down in the dumps at some point. To give an example, “Mother Beimer”, a German TV character from the popular weekly soap “Lindenstrasse”, the German equivalent to “Coronation Street”, frantically fries some eggs and then gobbles them up to calm herself down!   

Our funeral rituals serve the same purpose. Not only have we lost a beloved person forever (bonding!), our primal fear also causes us to set up a “comfortable” burial site in a ritualistic way in order to remind ourselves of the past and of pleasant moments from time to time and above all to conciliate our fear regarding our own end of life by participating in the whole ceremony. Here, it becomes apparent how our mini mind tries to comfort us under the influence of bonding and imprinting! The entire mumbo-jumbo “for” the deceased is in fact for the bereaved – the departed are no longer in need of anything and have left all sufferings and fooleries of human existence behind!     

In human life, the enormous creative power of imprinting can also be proved with the term “home” or “home country”. Home is merely the place where we are born, grow up, and imprinted our first impressions of this world! This is where our alleged subconscious attachment arises from, irrespective whether we associate good or bad memories with it. Thereafter, our home forever remains a particularly familiar place, no matter where we land up later in our life! And based on the extent of this sense of home, the terms of “fatherland” or “mother country” are established, usually depending on the manipulation of the “governing authorities” or language use! Nowhere have I encountered an “aunt country”, “uncle land” or a “niece-“ or “grandmother land”. This is no coincidence and we will see in the following which animalistic, genetic background plays a role here!     

Everyone is familiar with the expression “the apple never falls far from the tree”. After all that has been said it won’t be difficult anymore to recognise the reason for this “folk wisdom”: good old imprinting! Our countenance, gesticulation, speech, the entire posture and movements subconsciously resemble the respective characteristics of the attachment figures from childhood – alas, we “incidentally” also assume many quirks and foibles of the very same persons of reference just as uncritically! Moreover, it is not by mere chance that we follow the careers of our parents! The same holds true for our choice of hobby and other preferences.      

Our peculiar (and in nature singular) fondness of music in particular must not remain unaccounted for in our list of examples as far as the way imprinting has a bearing on the variability of life is concerned. The nine month’s stay in the womb of our mother, close to her metronomically beating heart, trims us for our whole life: the deep, rhythmical heart tones later subconsciously encourage every person to resonate and to move along the same beat, especially when hearing regular bass or drumming sounds! And the most popular rhythm among people corresponds exactly with the medium heart rate of about 60 Hz, i.e. 60 beats per minute – what a coincidence! This is also the origin of dance – rhythmical movements with our legs and whole body! Thanks to our mini mind we have really achieved a lot as regards all the wonderful musical instruments, styles of music, dancing and singing. It becomes apparent that people can also generate something good if this mini mind is employed usefully and purposefully! However, a naïve and instinctive (and consequently absurd) use of our mind unfortunately only results in junk: wars and other murders, the most perverse weapons, military, religions, ongoing boundaries between people, politicians and other exploiters etc., etc. I do not give up hope that in some distant, far-off day everything will be in high spirits on this beautiful, still blue planet.      

Based on our previous reflections we can note that the true cultural achievements of humankind are currently displayed within a relatively narrow scope: music and food! We have already addressed the subject of musical achievements. The incredibly diverse and absolutely delicious culinary skills people have developed need not be explicitly mentioned here – enjoy your meal! Keep it up, is all I can say!  

Indeed our mini mind is actually good for splendid achievements if only employed decently! If, however, we do not waste much thought and let our mind simply “drift” along the stream of our powerful genes, it might turn out to be our enemy instead of being our assistant and friend. We then spoil things – large-scale.  

We have been introduced to the term “home“ and “fatherland”. Of course, these expressions are of no importance in direct wildlife but every animal has its “survival territory”! The territory is precisely marked, either with singing or various body fluids and is vehemently defended against any intruder. By means of this genetically controlled behaviour, animals safeguard their existence in order to fulfil their single task in life: (Smax)-drive – reproduction compulsion! 

Now let’s have a look at ourselves – what do we do under the influence of the same powerful behavioural genes? Instead of activating our mini mind and getting along with our fellow human beings in order to embrace and inhabit this entire world together as our only joint “home” in a peaceful manner, we build insuperable deadly barriers and refer to the territories as “fatherland”! And to protect these “fatherlands” against evil intruders we create huge military institutions because we lack strong muscles, mighty fangs and sharp claws – instead, we have our mini mind after all! Ironically, these military organisations without exception only operate under the order to “defend”.  Good grief, if everyone is so eager to simply defend themselves, who are they defending against, if no organisation attacks? So far I have not heard about a “Ministry of Attack”!

Great – you donkey, you so called “image of God”! If God really looks like you, all hope is lost!

One can only give a damn about such a “father” and such a “land”! This planet, so wonderful to us human beings, is far too small and much too fragile for any boundary-post!  When humans finally manage to perceive this world as a joint inseparable “home” for all living creatures according to the possibilities of their current mini minds, supporting the needs of everybody, unconditionally adhering to the beautiful motto: “all for one and one for all” (see our butterfly poster) then – and only then!!! – will they prove worthy of their modern nature. Until then, they will continue making a fool of themselves as “crown of creation” – as they have been doing for thousands of years!   

To divide the world into “father lands” in an animalistic delirium and to call such XXL allotments “nations”, regarding all other countries as potential enemies, is by no means a product of our mini mind – it is THE BEAST WITHIN US, which guides us wannabe “crowns”!

Trusting that we will finally be able to hand the responsibility of our existence - at least as far as some fundamental behavioural patterns are concerned – to our anything but powerless mini mind, the following facts are to clarify to which extend we still behave like brainless puppets of nature in many areas of human life; but this future mini mind of ours must be after all full of true knowledge beating in our hearts (see Topic 1) and finally makes us behave like a human could!   

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