Extended mind: A Collective Theory for Self-exploration

In keeping with the definition (from the cognitive science) -- the Extended mind is a mental shift that extends outside of the head (i.e. the process is neither skull-bounded nor body-bounded). The idea is a lifelong quest of many scientists/philosophers (such as Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Andy Clark, and David Chalmers).

In a seminal work of extended mind, Clark and Chalmer questioned

“Where does the Mind stop and the rest of the World begin?”

Clearly, a paradoxical question yet the downright uncommon context stirs the self. The moment I read it, I felt the faint drops of nostalgic thoughts getting revived within. But then again, my stereotypical side wanted to see the evidence, things beyond the abstract possibilities. I also sensed the demand for a rationalized explanation from many of you. That's why, I better be prepared with reasonable stories to quench your curiosities.

As I mentioned, researchers and philosophers have always been pushing the boundaries of what's considered to be the acceptable truth for decades. Therefore, I want to take their brazen illustration and experimentation (in this blog) as the mediums that shower light on the true wisdom.

“The hypothesis of extended mind is based upon the foundations of externalism and internalism.”

To emote Externalism, I want to talk about human understanding which is heavily persuaded by the different external elements. For instance, emotions of belief (such as wish, influence, dream...) are mostly triggered by the diurnal events and physical happenings. They linger in our mind as personal myths or the past stories. And we articulate them into the world as intentional actions. That is how our mind extends into the world says Terry Dartnall.

Philosophers like Putnam (1975), Burge (1979) acknowledged externalism as a process of Self-knowledge. Their experiment says -- To a certain extent, our mental events are constructed by the social and physical environment.

Again from the research of Dartnall -- We sometimes perform actions in our heads that we usually perform in the world. He calls this the phenomena of Internalism. Let me give you a gentle push to allow your mind to run its own course and find the answers.

Imagine yourself entering a room and finding an incomplete puzzle on the table. You are asked to leave the room (in minutes) and come back when you discover the missing piece. You leave the room as per the instructions.

Now, you do not have any access to the puzzle and you do not remember it completely. But after an hour or two, with many brain-work; assumption; and retrospective, you come up with the answer. How did you do that?

You mentally rotate the pieces and discover where the missing piece fits in the puzzle. Since you do not get to do a direct discovery, you try to remember what you saw in the room or analyze the overall result from many deductions.

[Coming to the conclusion - In our minds, empirical discoveries happen like they happen in the real world (i.e. Internalism).

And Visualization enables internalism in humans by providing a pointing device to the internal events and helping them to articulate.

Eventually, the world leaks into our minds.]

The Motivation - In Temenos Vision labs, we are in a pursuit to understand this overall idea and how we can cultivate it in ourselves and in others. To be sure, there are no short ways and means to materialize the vision. It is a long-standing practice (of disciplining the behaviors/actions) to change ourselves and the way we communicate with the world.

The Quote - Temenos founder, Siraj Sirajuddin says, when we meet leaders who desire to achieve personal mastery, we help them to find Yugen -- a state of leadership readiness (Vision, Self-knowledge, Disciplined mind, and Transformation) that we want them to learn.

The Big Question - Can we really educate leaders/change agents in realizing or re-energizing their vision (for a personal and collective transformation)? Many of you would argue -- such wisdom comes with time and experience. Indeed it is. But we can always show the organized ways to train yourself and experience the Changed person/leader in you.

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Topics: Temenos, Temenos Gatherings, Storytelling