418 • The Pianist’s Extended Mind

The Extended Mind Thesis (Clark & Chalmers) states that "... the human organism is linked with an external entity in a two-way interaction, creating a coupled system that can be seen as a cognitive system in its own right. ... Remove the external component and the system's behavioral competence will drop, just as it would if we removed part of its brain."

In other words: if you don’t rely on your in-brain memory alone and use a notebook to augment your memory, the notebook serves your memory not unlike a cognitive function, as an actual extension of the mind. Loose the notebook and you might forget to remember something potentially essential.

If the notebook is an extension of the mind, the grand piano and the infinite potential that comes with and from is not only an extension of the biological mind but also of the artist's ineffable soul. As pianists we inevitably have to subscribe to the EMT directive - we have to play the piano as an extension of our minds and souls. The transcendent pianist does not play the piano as an instrument of the external world, but rather as an extension of his internal mind and soul.

The artistic believe that there is an other level of human awareness might have yet another scientific inspiration: if we play our instrument with the understanding that it is an extension of our minds and souls, rather than a separate object of the material world, we may be able to understand ourselves more truly as creatures of this universe.


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