The Spread Mind: How to experience myself and the world as one

With Riccardo Manzotti  •  Feb 9–23, 2019

A 3-part Webinar Series

The goal of this webinar is to apply the Spread Mind to our everyday life and to experience ourselves neither as immaterial selves nor as brain processes, but as a part of the world. Both science and philosophy have traditionally conceived of the self as though it were separate from the world. It’s time to make one step forward. The Spread Mind allows us to nd our true nature in the very world that surrounds us. We are the starry sky, the clouds, a rainbow, trees, people, even simple objects such as an apple or a rock. We are not inside our body, we are out there, in the world! Perceiving is being.

We can achieve a new perspective about us and the world. We can experience our existence and the world as a unity. Thus, the participants will complete take-home activities by means of which memory, dreams, and thoughts will be removed from the alleged “inner mental world” and will be relocated in the world of objects. The Spread Mind aims to set individuals free from the prison of the brain/body, without committing to the notion of an immaterial soul.

Each session will provide both practical activities and theoretical notions. Thanks to the most recent evidence from neuroscience and physics, the Spread Mind is not only a practice but also a theoretical framework bridging the gap between science and philosophy. Yet it is not only a theory. Rather it is a state of mind in which we overcome the constraints that previous models of the mind have imposed on ourselves. The Spread Mind sets aside old ways to conceive of our consciousness.We can achieve a new perspective about us and the world. We can experience our existence and the world as a unity. Thus, the participants will complete take-home activities by means of which memory, dreams, and thoughts will be removed from the alleged “inner mental world” and will be relocated in the world of objects. The Spread Mind aims to set individuals free from the prison of the brain/body, without committing to the notion of an immaterial soul.

Each session will provide both practical activities and theoretical notions. Thanks to the most recent evidence from neuroscience and physics, the Spread Mind is not only a practice but also a theoretical framework bridging the gap between science and philosophy. Yet it is not only a theory. Rather it is a state of mind in which we overcome the constraints that previous models of the mind have imposed on ourselves. The Spread Mind sets aside old ways to conceive of our consciousness.

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Part 1 – The Spread Mind. Consciousness and the world are one

Feb 10, 2019

In contrast with a common misconception, neuroscience has never provided any evidence that consciousness is inside the brain. Consequently, it is important to consider a different view – the Spread Mind – according to which, conscious experience is literally one and the same as the world. If consciousness is the external world, what will change in our everyday experience? Can we experience the identity between us and the world? If we look inside ourselves, we get in the world. This view allows us to move from introspection to extraspection, finding ourselves outside our body.

Take-Home Activity: A series of practices to shift the center of our being from the body to the external world. A series of questions (radical introspectionism) will dissolve our prejudice about our ideas being inside our head. Radical introspection looks outward.

Duration: 90 mins

Duration: 1 hours, 30 minutes

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Part 2 – I am not my body. Yet the body is key. The relative nature of the world

Feb 17, 2019

Everything is relative but this does not mean that what is relative is not real. Reality is relative. In our case relative is relative to our body. While consciousness is neither inside our body nor inside our brain, the body has a fundamental role in shaping the world that is ourselves. In fact, the body is the gate that brings a world into existence. How does this world unfold in space and time? What is it made of? What are its physical limits? Of course, these questions will also allow us to understand the spatiotemporal extension of ourselves. Can we be older and bigger than our body? How can we connect our existence to the ultimate reality?

Take-Home activity. Recognize the relative nature of all physical phenomena. Finding the relation between the objects in our life and our body. Revealing the constitutive relationship between our body and the universe.

Duration: 90 mins

Duration: 1 hours, 30 minutes

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Part 3 – Beyond standard consciousness: dreams, hallucinations, and illusions

Feb 24, 2019

What about cases of nonstandard conscious experience? What are dreams and hallucinations made of? Are we more than we usually believe? Moving from well-known cases of illusions (the café wall-illusions, Kitaoka’s color illusions, afterimages) we will learn that perception is never mistaken. We may have mistaken beliefs about what we perceive, but we cannot perceive something that is not real. We will then extend this key insight to dreams and hallucination. Why do we dream and what do they mean? Are dreams real? We will reveal the (un)reality of the unreal.

Homework: Testing actual cases of illusions. Checking one’s consciousness in specific situations: before sleeping, after sleeping. Comparing mental images and current perception. Trying to create impossible mental imagery.

Duration: 90 mins

Duration: 1 hours, 30 minutes

Riccardo Manzotti

Riccardo Manzotti has a PhD in Robotics and degrees in Philosophy of Mind and Computer Science. He teaches Psychology of Perception atIULM University, Milan (Italy), and has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at MIT. He has specialized in AI, artificial vision, perception and, most of all, the issue of consciousness. After working in the field of artificial vision, he focused his research on the nature ofphenomenal experience, how it emerges from physical processes and how it is related to objected perceived. He is now defending and developing a theory of the mind called The Spread Mind theory (www.thespreadmind.com) which suggests an identity between one’s consciousness of and object and the external object one is conscious of. This theory runs afoul the widespread and popular notion that consciousness is inside the brain. In contrast, he claims that our experience is one and the same with the surrounding world. www.consciousness.it

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