Author Topic: Is the new “Spread Mind” philosophy actually Buddhism?  (Read 247 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 (, 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: 144
    • 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: 5138
  • 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: 21
    • 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: 361
  • 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


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal