Imagine a world where literally, all things in your environment are equally important to you; lint on the blanket you hold, the rustle of the curtain framing your window, the sound of footfall increasing in volume as a figure seems to grow within your field of vision. If all things are of equal value, then no things have particular value.
Babies are awash in a sea of experience. Babies begin to bundle experiences by association. The sound of footfall comes to be, hopefully, associated with being lifted from one positon, e.g. laying in a basinet, to another, e.g. the shelter of the crook of a neck. The rustle of a curtain comes to be associated with variations in brightness, ambient temerature or perhaps, more or less pleasant auditory input (birdsong or traffic).
Associative links emerge spontaneously from moment to moment. Potential links exist ‘in’ the implicate order. As linkage proves useful to the system repeatedly, the likelihood that those links will structure data retrieval in the future increases. With accumulated experience, something akin to an architecture for data management develops. This architecture, however is not static. With repeated use, it has the appearance of being static, hence we talk about ‘the architecture’ of the system but the architecture is ever evolving. It appears to be a self organizing system for data management (for an excellent treatment of self organizing systems in general, see At Home in the Universe).
As bundles of experiences are ‘colored’ with positive, negative or neutral associations, some bundles of experience come to be prioritized as ‘useful’ given the needs of the system (note: the needs of the system, not the self; there is no ‘self structure’ yet (see INFAQ-infrequently asked questions). Bundles of associated records of experience are accompanied by probable responses to new experience in light of the information in-forming personal processing. The associated events bundled together and the fluid moment to moment ranking by virtue of usefulness of information are ever-evolving patterns. Theoretically a snapshot view of the architecture of the data storage system characterizing accumulated experience may be mapped (as the architecture of any data storage system may be mapped, think ‘google’). However, this is a living, breathing (oops, forgive me here) data storage system.
The architecture characterizing the ever- evolving experiential data base unique to each and every one of us constrains all subsequent experience. Evidence of the operation of the data management system characteristic of any given individual may be inferred from observable actions; thought acts, speech acts, eye contact made or not made, orientation towards some objects in the environment rather than others , etc. We love to see what we come to perceive as the budding ‘personality of our child, however, in scientific terms what we are seeing is the evolution of patterns, wholly unique to our child. Those patterns will drive their adaptation to the world; need I say, as they will see it?