Just like nothing can arise out of nothing, every sensation thought and idea we have originates in stimuli, discussions and shared opinions we have received from the external world. This means that to varying degrees we are beholden for everything we feel, think and do to:
- Our immediate and extended environment (both natural and man-made)
- Our contact with and access to books, films, songs and stories
- The input we are exposed to from traditions and culture
- The contact we have with friends, family, enemies and strangers
The extended mind hypothesis is a deeply thought-through attempt to explain cognition as a process driven by "the active externalism of the world." According to that hypothesis the boundary where mind stops does not end at the point where skin and bone meets air.
The implications of this are deeper than at first appear:
- No matter how ‘smart’ we are the things we see and understand have come from someone else and some place else. We are maybe better at seeing them than others.
- There is no original creation but there is, perhaps, an original way of seeing things and articulating them.
- We are always beholden to the world we live in for who we are and what we become.
- We are never truly isolated. In true isolation our complex brains become warped.
All of this has a corresponding element to everything we do. If you are active in marketing, sales and advertising you understand that a large component of the outcomes you seek is based on human interactions and human behavior. If you are dealing with content creation and SEO, you know that understanding human intent is critical to creating great content and websites that meet visitor expectations.
If you are building a business you cannot successfully do so for long if you fail to grasp the fundamental drivers of human behavior, including your own.
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