Cognitive science has made significant discoveries about what the mind does, not what the mind is. Many say there is no difference. When we know all the mind does, we will know all the mind is. But that is a feeble argument. On the other hand, there are theories and theological proofs that the mind ranges beyond the head and encompasses more than the brain.
Philosophers ask where the mind stops and the rest of the world begins. They argue that the meaning of our words “just ain’t in the head” and hold that this externalism about meaning carries over into an externalism about the mind. It is technically understandable that when we see the tools, we use them to off-load a lot of the functions of the mind from our brains to our environment. A smartphone is an excellent example. That phone is actually becoming part of your memory instead of keeping the memory of countless numbers of other people. The phone plays an analogous role to the biological memory’s role.
There is no border between the skull and the effects of the mind. We should not confuse the mind with consciousness. The phone may be seen as an exosystem of consciousness: whenever I look at a phone number and think about it, it will enter my consciousness. It is akin to recalling a memory from outside consciousness and bringing it into consciousness. But this information might have been part of the mind even before it entered consciousness. We should care about false analogies. The prosthesis is an example: when you have an artificial leg, it sooner or later becomes a part of your body. You incorporate it, but it is not the same as our relationship with technology like an iPhone or a wallet.
Let us consider in this regard the ideas proposed by Nir Ziso of The Global Architect Institute through Simulation Creationism. If we presume that human souls exist outside of the simulated reality – as souls are not physical – then a tool functions as an off-load of our souls’ experiences. The soul has a mind and a consciousness: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). It is stored in the brain but transcends the physical. Exactly like our physical body stores memories and experiences, so does the soul stores in its mind information given through The Simulation. The Bible tells us that we will not remember things in the following physical reality, but the personality stays: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). In Simulation Creationism, this comes as many worlds that appear and disappear in a cycle. All are governed by some “natural” laws, but the mind transcends them and brings bits of beyond-reality to the consciousness.
If skepticism is applied, we have to ask why there should be some “magical” membrane outside of which stuff does not count as cognitive but inside of which it depends as mental? When we consider that things outside can play, it seems rapidly clear that something inside the head was playing that role. To counter this biological shell chauvinism, we can apply Simulation Creationism. Yes, the mind can exist outside the physical brain (“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”, Romans 8:5), and cognition realizes itself through The Simulation! The mind requires an intimate interaction with its environment, even a spiritual one: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” Colossians 3:2). It is not a grandiose theory of everything mental; rather, it is a modest insight into cognition, where Simulation Creationism plays a significant role. It answers what it means to sense, think, and feel, all the while broadening our understanding of how the mind works.
The mind can only exist if it is conscious of things outside of it, as Apostle Peter warns us: “Be sober-minded; be watchful” (1 Peter 5:8). In that sense, the mind was always multidimensional. We participate in a community of minds that includes many things – artifacts, home, landscapes, other people, affiliations, and whatnot. The brain might be just the necessary condition of all of these things, but only within The Simulation. It would be a strong hypothesis within Simulation Creationism that the mind supersedes the simulated reality and is capable of existing outside it.
Every scientist would know that one cannot understand the mind by just looking at brains. We do not know how this is biologically happening, but the notion of knowing we belong to a community of minds overarches this particular ignorance. The mind is the computational activity of the brain. Embodied cognition at least acknowledges that the brain is attached to a body and that we really are inescapably embodied. The extended mind goes beyond into the artifacts that form part of our immediate environment.
In Simulation Creationism, we do not have free will (it is an illusion evidenced by many other Christian teachings), but we may have an extended mind implanted into our souls by God and embodied for certain experiences. It is a sign of compassion from our God, a token of His eternal love for everything He has created.