Robert Lanza. Remember than name. Because well, he’s kind of a big deal. He’s a doctor, a physicist, and – well, an Einstein-like genius, in my humble opinion, though to me anyone who writes books on quantum physics is Einstein-like, so I may not be the best judge.
I know, kids, I know – there’s that subject again, quantum physics. You’ve heard it. You’ve read about it. You know. But there are books on quantum physics, and there are books on physics and quantum physics. Books that attempt to put it all in context.
Biocentrism is one of those books.
I’m going to give you a few of my notes on it so you have an idea of what you’re getting into. Basically, biocentrism is an alternate theory of everything – the only one I’ve ever bought. (Then again, there aren’t that many to choose from.) If you aren’t familiar with the theory of everythign idea, it’s exactly what it sounds like, with one twist: no cheating. No invoking God, no cirular logic. You have to account for “quantum weirdness,” of course, too.
In the following notes, I’ve taken some serious liberties. I’ve probably got a few details wrong. But anyone who’s reading – feel free to correct me. And if you happen to be Robert Lanza, well, I have a handwritten (!) letter for you with no address. I end this post with the question I asked you in it.
Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza, M.D., with Bob Berman
- “Our understanding of the universe as a whole has reached a dead end. The ‘meaning’ of quantum physics has been debated since it was first discovered in the 30’s, but we are no closer to understanding it now than we were then… This book proposes a new perspective: that our current theories of the physical world dont’ work, and can never be made to work, until they account for life and consciousness.” By “account for,” the author means “acknowledge teh primary importance of.” Basically, accorting to biocentrism, without life and consciousness, nothing truly exists in the way we think of existence. You might say that physics isn’t physical, really. It’s biological. (From the introduction.)
- Chapter One: “Our current model simply does not allow for consciousness… Our present model of physics does not even recognize this as a problem…”
At the quantum level, though, “particles seem to behave as if they respond to a conscious observer. Because that can’t be right, quanutm physicists have deemed quantum theory inexplicable or have come up with elaborate theories (such as infinite numbers of alternate universes) to try to explain it. The simplist explaination – that subatomic particles actually do interact with consciousness at some level – is too far outside the model to be seriously considered.”
- Of course, much else in physics is lacking. No plausible Grand (Centified?) Theory about the nature, existence and origin of the universe (also called a Theory of Everything). Some physicists invoke the idea of light or more extra dimensions in order to explain quantum physics in materialistic terms, “none of which have the slightest basis in human experience…”
- We understand the parts, but not the whole.
- Chapter Two-Four: There is no “out there” out there. Humans are dualistic (“us” and “them”) thinkers. We have to be, because that’s how we perceive things – as out there, removed from ourselves. But scientifically speaking, nothing we perceive is separate from ourselves and our consciousness.
- Take the proverbial tree falling in the woods. If no one was there to hear it, it would create “sound” waves, but no actual noice, since noise is something that occurs only in a brain that is interacting with an ear. And some with sight, smell, taste – nothing is seen if not for an eye – there is only UV light rays, no color, no shape, no pattern. And touch – same thing. There is no “hard” and “soft.” There are just charged particles that react in a particular way with the charged particles of your hand.
- So, stuff may exist in a certain way, but in no way we would recognize.
Electromagnetism has no visual properties.
- Chapter Five: “Some may imagine that there are two worlds, one ‘out there’ and a separate one being cognized inside the skull. But the ‘two worlds’ model is a myth…” [my question: why can’t there be two?]
“The ‘outside world’ is, therefore, located within the brain or mind.
- Chapter Seven: space and time aren’t real. They are tools. Totally theoretical.
- Chapter Eight: This chapter describes several different types of experiments involving photons passing through slits, all of which prove that photons (light particles) respond to the observer. “…The mere act of measurment, of learning the path of each photon, destroyed the photon’s freedom to remain blurry and undefined and take both paths until it reached the barriers.”
- “Without consciousness, ‘matter’ dwells in an undeterminded state of probablility. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.”
- Chapter Nine discusses the over 300 finely tuned elements and variables in the universe, each of which can be alterned almost not at all without removing the conditions necessary for life. The author concludes that it makes mroe sense that consciousness was first, not the physical matter.
- “By reminding us of its great successes at figuring out interim processes and the mechanics of things, and fashioning marvelous new devices out of raw materials, science gets away with patently ridiculous ‘explanations’ for the nature of the cosmos as a whole. If only it hadn’t given us HDTV and the George Foreman grill, it wouldn’t have held our attention and respect long enough to pull the old three-card Monte when it comes to these largest issues.”
- “…Life creates the universe, not the other way around. The universe is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self.*
- Chapter Ten discusses the impossiblity of time, and chapter 11, the impossiblity of space. Lots of Stephen Hawkins-like mind benders in here, such as “If one could travel at lightspeed, we would find oneself everywhere in the universe at once.” And, if we traveled at 99.9 percent of lightspeed across a 21 foot living room, the living room would shrink – actually shrink – and become “just a hundredth of an inch across – barely larger than the period at the end of this sentence.”
- Chapter Sixteen provides a simple reviewsheet of the principles of biocentrism.
- The final chapter of the book discuss matters of religion, death, eternity, more philosophy.
My Additional Thoughts:
Your dad doesn’t buy biocentrism. He thinks that yes, our experiences are mostly our perceptions, not “real stuff,” and that as we animals evolved through natrual selection the ability to perceive certain electromagnetic and other physical “stuff” the same way, in order to communicate about that stuff.* In other words, we may disagree about what to call a circle or what the circle is for, but we all perceive the circle as round, the ball as bouncy, the wall as flat and hard. However, as we have proven through various color perception tests, there is great variance even within these basic idea-forms/mind forms. But we can’t communicate then, because we use the same words to describe them.
My question for Lanza: If my food truly doesn’t exist except in my mind, why do I die when I don’t eat it?
Another question for Lanza: What’s the problem with the two worlds theory? Why can’t there be the worlds within our minds as well as the world of blurry, undefined particles? Is it because if we never observe it, it never chooses a form and materializes? But does that mean it’s not there at all? Can’t there be something other than consciousness – musn’t there be, in order for consciousness to have materials to create with? Or is the “material” consciousness, too – and as spiritual people say, “we are all one.” Even the cars, trucks and sidewalk? Kids, let’s talk about this stuff sometime. I can’t wait to hear your questions and opinions.
Links to More Info:
Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.