Shared Brains

Communities operate on the principle of putting to use, what each member can provide, in the best possible manner. They act as “Shared Brains” which are open to criticism, knowledge transfer, augmentation, and evolution. The same is the case when you operate in a team; the fact that you are collectively engaging with others to produce results often clues us towards a shared mental state which every member of the team is a part of and contributing to. On an individual level, there is a shared mental state as well. Examples include the book one is taking notes into, acquiring knowledge from, the computer one is typing code into, or a tool one is using to build something.

But, shared mental state is far more than an object or a person or a community, it is an added level of abstraction over what we are. A great implication from this thought is that a shared mental state allows us to lose our identity pretty quickly and do things with the best of our abilities. If we regard every action we take as one which is governed by the shared mental state, it would be very soon that we realize it was not us, but the shared brain that was operating and taking charge.