By Alex Vikoulov
"It matters that we recognize the very large extent to which individual human thought and reason are not activities that occur solely in the brain or even solely within the organismic skin-bag. This matters because it drives home the degree to which environmental engineering is also self-engineering. In building our physical and social worlds, we build (or rather, we massively reconfigure) our minds and our capacities of thought and reason." -Andy Clark
The mind isn't locked in the brain, it extends far, far beyond. When we outsource our cognition to our technology, be it a smartphone or a notebook, our mental constructs entail patterns of thought and reasoning beyond our capacity to formulate them solely with our brains. In writing, for example, we are not simply recording our thinking but doing the thinking "on paper," so to speak.
Every time we make a telephone or Skype call, we create a "techno-cultural wormhole" through space and time between minds. Today, our "embodied mind" can roam Mars and even traverse intergalactic space outside our solar system. Philosophers of mind Andy Clark, who formulated the Extended Mind Hypothesis, together with David Chalmers, also known for the Hard Problem of Consciousness, propose that mental states, such as beliefs and memories, can also be located "externally," as extension of mind.
Andy Clark defines humans as "natural-born cyborgs" -- the human mind is already augmented by routinely incorporating all kinds of non-biological props and scaffolding. Our "wetware," the human brain, even though processing information at the mind level, doesn't produce a conscious experience itself as our minds are embedded into a greater consciousness network.
We create our tools to extend our reach, to exercise our will, to build the scaffolding of our minds in our surroundings. By doing that, we are engaged in active ontological design -- everything we design, designs us back -- via an endless feedback loop process. We need to transcend our "skin-bag bias": Our tools, i.e., our technology, are natural extensions of us, just like a spiderweb or an anthill are extensions of those insect species.
Our collective, technologically extended mind represents the Noosphere, or a cognitive layer of the planet, consisting of the interconnected totality of all sentient beings, and a higher level of consciousness possessed by it. This mind-space insinuates a future where boxes, wires, keyboards, and crude mechanisms will disappear from sight while our technologies keep on miniaturizing and blending with us and our aesthetically pleasing environments, when imagination instantly materializes, and a world is rendered at the speed of thought, when everything links with everything else, and matter becomes mind.
P.S. Abridged from The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible and directly from the publisher - Ecstadelic Media Group.
Tags: self-transcendence, transcendence, neuroscience, collective intelligence, sentience, extended phenotype, artificial intelligence, consciousness, exocortex, Andy Clark, David Chalmers, Extended Mind Hypothesis, Hard Problem of Consciousness, wetware, mindware, ontological design, conscious experience, noosphere, superintelligence, singularity, mind uploading, the Syntellect emergence, technological singularity, Intelligence Supernova,, transcendentalism, neo-transcendentalism
*Image Credit: Shutterstock, NASA
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a Russian-American futurist, evolutionary cyberneticist and philosopher of mind, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of Ecstadelic Media Group, painter, essayist, media commentator, author of "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution," "The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology," "The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics," "The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence," "Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality," "NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology," "TECHNOCULTURE: The Rise of Man." Self-described neo-transcendentalist, cosmist, transhumanist singularitarian. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area). More Bio...
Author Website: www.alexvikoulov.com
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