Author Topic: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?  (Read 949 times)

Offline joshzltyn

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:51:31 pm »
I recently stumbled upon a fascinating series of conversations on consciousness in the New York Review of Books by an MIT Fulbright scholar named Riccardo Manzotti. That series led me to his The Spread Mind website, his How to Locate Consciousness in the Physical World video (vimeo.com/123199950), his Why Consciousness and World are one and the same book and two of his philosophical¹ cartoons².

Three (of many) of his ideas are as follows:

 - Consciousness is the object one is conscious of.
 - A physical entity exists if and only if it is the actual cause of something else.
 - The past is not defined until it produces an effect, but once it does, the past has been defined since it occurred originally.

I'm certainly not yet an expert in Buddhism but these three ideas alone seem to have a likeness to Buddhist teachings, namely: nonduality, not-self, dependent origination and cause-condition-effect. Yet, he was specifically asked in one of the NYR conversations if he was familiar with Buddhism and he indicated that he was not.

Are his ideas equivalent to, similar to, a subset of, or compatible with those of Buddhist teachings?

Any input that anyone would be kind enough to provide would be especially appreciated. Thank you.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 06:15:00 pm by joshzltyn »

Offline Anemephistus

  • Member
  • Posts: 178
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 11:12:50 pm »
I went over this in some detail. I am not a Buddhist scholar or monk for sure, nor am I an academic scholar, I see some things in common and some things that are extremely complicated to compare. It has taken some time to consider what this very educated professor is saying about cousiousness and its nature.

To be clear, he is speaking in a physical sense about the brain and the physical nature of the presence of the consciousness and its physical  location, and what implications there are with regards to his assertions in a phylosophical sense.

It is a whollop of a subject you have here. So, yes I think Buddhist understanding is that there is no actual separation between the object of perception and the perciever, that the bounds we see are false due to the interconnected non independent nature of everything.

Saying consciousness is the object that one is conscious of has a dual nature. If I trust that to be understood by the person asserting it, I would agree with the statement... I would also say in general that Buddhist teachings do as well but I cannot direct you to a reference sadly.

Schrodengers cat has a sub concept regarding  the requirement of an observer and the possibility of observing an entanglement phenomenon from the perception of the cat. The manifestations of objects are all within causality and dependent on each other according to Buddhist understanding as far as I know. However I think that there is a dual understanding that perception is not required for an object to exist.

As far as the past goes... This is clearly a quantum mechanics derived principle from a scientific perspective... I am not aware of any teachings with regards to the nature of the past except that everything is interconnected and interdependent and so anything in the past has lead to the present...(EDIT: this professors third idea you have listed)  would assert that there are... Loose threads.. For lack of a better term which had no effect and so remained unmeasured I might be mistaken but I don't know what the relevance of this perticular knowledge would be. It had no effect.... And it's in the past... I am not aware of teaching which addresses this but my knowledge is limited.

This was an amazing read by the way.  I have other important matters I am attending to but I plan on considering more of the implications of this. It's very intelligent and I am not certain that it does not present a very complicated scientific phylosophical understanding of some aspects of physical reality which may be further in accordance with teachings than I had previously thought.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 07:51:32 am by Anemephistus »

Offline Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5217
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2018, 06:51:48 am »
- Consciousness is the object one is conscious of.
 

I'm not sure I get this one, it seems like a circular definition.  "Experience is the object one is conscious of" might make more sense?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Lotusmile

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 02:27:42 am »
buddhism elaborated in details all beings and non beings or forms and non forms are inseparable, omnipresent beyond life & death.

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 440
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 04:52:21 am »
I think the Spread Mind site is just another attempt to use poor logic to put forward the idea that consciousness is somewhere else apart from the place where it arises, which in our particular case is the brain. There may be other consciousnesses arising in other places on other worlds, and there may be consciousnesses her in the future arising in manufactured things such as computers.

My own view is that all living things have some degree of consciousness, but whether any have the kind of self-consciousness that seems to set us apart is another question.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Lotusmile

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 03:08:08 am »
Spread Mind theory claimed that “Yet consciousness is real, and like any other real phenomenon, is physical. “

All physical or existence and non existence are impermanent in Buddhism, thus is duality. Buddhism teaching emphasise the non dualism

Offline Lotusmile

  • Member
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 02:08:12 am »
Spread Mind is created by human. Any creation of teaching other than teaching from the founders of mainstream religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Catholic, Christianity, Islam, Hindu and Confucius could not represent the truth.
Spread Mind personality in long term will either falls into interference of mala or unknowingly subtle demon instrusion, and is definitely still within the cycles of karma reincarnation.

Can Buddhism assist spread mind personality to enjoy their way of approach while at the same time, liberated from cycle of karma reincarnation. The answer is yes. Spread Mind personality if applying the policy of Pureland Buddhism personality, i.e to cognise Buddha Amitayus as a spread mind’s consciousness and all the external encounters or in their perception is recognised as consciousnesses, as Creation of Buddha Amitayus, in another word is own consciousness, and vow to rebirth in it upon death. In this manner, they will not fall into subtle demons interference when deeply into it and upon the moment of death

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 440
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 02:51:48 am »
Spread Mind is created by human. Any creation of teaching other than teaching from the founders of mainstream religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Catholic, Christianity, Islam, Hindu and Confucius could not represent the truth.
No. The Buddha was human. That's the whole point of Buddhism. No magic, just us. There is no 'truth' in mainstream religion, merely other ways of looking at the world, which either appeal enough for us to follow, or which don't, in which case we don't, unless forced to by circumstances of birth.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5217
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 02:46:32 am »
I think the Spread Mind site is just another attempt to use poor logic to put forward the idea that consciousness is somewhere else apart from the place where it arises, which in our particular case is the brain.

So is it anything to do with that new-age nonsense about "Cosmic Consciousness"?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 440
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2018, 03:48:07 am »
I think the Spread Mind site is just another attempt to use poor logic to put forward the idea that consciousness is somewhere else apart from the place where it arises, which in our particular case is the brain.


So is it anything to do with that new-age nonsense about "Cosmic Consciousness"?

Slightly different from my reading of these things. Spread Mind is a philosophical treatise which pulls in scientific ideas, then plays around linguistically with terminology to argue for mind being everywhere, rather than located in the brain. For Spread mind, ‘In a nutshell, the spread mind is a mind-object identity theory that states that one's consciousness of an object is the object one is conscious of.’ (from http://www.thespreadmind.com )

It goes on to say that science is wrong to think that our 'consciousness is different than everyday physical objects' ie that our current thinking that the consciousness arises from the brain is wrong, and that is is part of the objects around us. It says that 'Our mind is made of what lies outside our bodies. The Spread Mind is a physicalist theory — it suggests that the thing we are is physical, but it is not our body. By means of our bodies, the mind is a collection of objects producing a joint effect.' It concludes by saying 'One's consciousness is physically outside one's body . It is made by the object one perceives.'

How far it would link itself to Cosmic Consciousness is not really clear. Wiki describes Cosmic Consciousness like this: 'Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind is a 1901 book by Richard Maurice Bucke, a Canadian psychiatrist. In this book, he explored the concept of cosmic consciousness, which he defined as "a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man".' Which, I think, is somewhat different from Spread Mind in that we are, for Bucke, able to aspire to reach this higher form of consciousness with our own.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5217
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2018, 01:34:40 am »
For Spread mind, ‘In a nutshell, the spread mind is a mind-object identity theory that states that one's consciousness of an object is the object one is conscious of.’ (from http://www.thespreadmind.com )



I don't find this convincing.  We don't experience objects directly, what we experience are sensory phenomena "produced" by the object.   For example when looking at a tree we're not directly conscious of the tree, rather we are conscious of a particular shape and colour which we then perceive as "tree".  In Buddhist jargon you would say that sense-objects arise at the sense bases, resulting in consciousness.  For example eye-consciousness arises in dependence upon the eye and visible form.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 440
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2018, 04:14:13 am »
For Spread mind, ‘In a nutshell, the spread mind is a mind-object identity theory that states that one's consciousness of an object is the object one is conscious of.’ (from http://www.thespreadmind.com )


I don't find this convincing.  We don't experience objects directly, what we experience are sensory phenomena "produced" by the object.   For example when looking at a tree we're not directly conscious of the tree, rather we are conscious of a particular shape and colour which we then perceive as "tree".  In Buddhist jargon you would say that sense-objects arise at the sense bases, resulting in consciousness.  For example eye-consciousness arises in dependence upon the eye and visible form.


Which is why I have very little time for Buddhist jargon talking about what might be happening when we perceive things. Before we 'see' a tree light enters the eye, but is sent to non conscious parts of the brain. The brain then uses stored memories to add to the data from the eye, in effect constructing an image which is sent to the conscious part of the brain for us to be aware of. The so-called 'eye consciousness' is 90% dependent on a 'fake' image constructed in and sent by the brain.

When we meditate, particularly when we undertake insight meditation, the rewiring that takes place in the brain allows different areas to be connected in different ways, so changing how we perceive the tree. We start to change our relationship with ourselves and the world by changing how we construct 'reality'. If we add in following the Buddhist path, we can bring an element of choice to the changes taking place.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal