Biocentrism: How Life And Consciousness Are The Keys To Understanding The Nature Of The Universe
I am an avid reader of anything that’s got to do with astronomy, cosmology and the Universe in general. It’s just such an exciting stuff, and you will not know it until you’ve tried for yourself to get your teeth into it.
Well, I once singed up to receive monthly the Astronomy Magazine, a wonderful publication that truly gives insights into what’s going on over our heads. As a reward for my curiosity the Astronomy Magazine revealed to me an amazing and eye-opening book written by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman, and carrying a somewhat sinister title “Biocentrism: How Life And Consciousness Are Thy Keys To Understanding The Nature Of The Universe”. Not only did I get the book but I’ve read it open-mouthed, and I cannot recommend it enough. But be warned, you must be a bit of a scientist to digest it since it is not only abstract but philosophical on top of it.
Here is an extended synopsis of the book.
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 1930s, but we are no closer to understanding it now than we were then. The “theory of everything” that was promised for decades to be just around the corner has been stuck for decades in the abstract mathematics of string theory, with its unproven and unprovable assertions.
But it’s worse than that. Until recently, we thought we knew what the universe was made of, but it now turns out that 96 percent of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy, and we have virtually no idea what they are. We’ve accepted the Big Bang, despite the increasingly greater need to jury-rig it to fit our observations (as in the 1979 acceptance of a period of exponential growth, known as inflation, for which the physics is basically unknown). It even turns out that the Big Bang has no answer for one of the greatest mysteries in the universe: why is the universe exquisitely fine-tuned to support life?
This book proposes a new perspective: that our current theories of the physical world don’t work, and can never be made to work, until they account for life and consciousness. This book proposes that, rather than a belated and minor outcome alter billions of years of lifeless physical processes, life and consciousness are absolutely fundamental to our understanding of the universe. We call this new perspective biocentrism. In this view, life is not an accidental by-product of the physics. Nor is the nature or history of the universe the dreary play of billiard balls that we’ve been taught since grade school
Through the eyes of a biologist and an astronomer, we will unlock the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. The twenty-first century is predicted. I the century of biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science. Lot with imaginary strings that occupy equally imaginary unseen dimensions, but with a much simpler idea that is rife with so many shocking new perspectives that we are unlikely ever to see reality the same way again.
Biocentrism cements the groundwork for new lines of investigation in physics and cosmology. This book will lay out the principles of biocentrism, all of which are built on established science, and all of which demand a rethinking of our current theories of the physical universe
Seven Principles of Biocentrism
First Principle of Biocentrism: What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An “external” reality, if it existed, would—by definition—have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.
Second Principle of Biocentrism: Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.
Third Principle of Biocentrism: The behavior of subatomic particles—and indeed all particles and objects—is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.
Fourth Principle of Biocentrism: Without consciousness, “matter” dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.
Fifth Principle of Biocentrism: The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. The universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes perfect sense as life creates the universe, not the other way around. The “universe” is simply the complete spatiotemporal logic of the self.
Sixth Principle of Biocentrism: Time does not have a real existence outside of animal-sense perception. It is the process by which we perceive changes in the universe.
Seventh Principle of Biocentrism: Space, like time, is not an object or a thing. Space is another form of our animal understanding and does not have an independent reality. We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells. Thus, there is no absolute self-existing matrix in which physical events occur independent of life.
On Death and Eternity
The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the human body, but there is some part of it that remain eternal.
How does the biocentrism conception of the world change our lives? How can it affect our emotions of love, fear, and grief? How, above all, does it enable us to cope with our apparent mortality and the relationship of the body and our consciousness?
Lucretius the Epicurean taught us two thousand years ago not to fear death. The contemplation of time and the discoveries of modern science lead to the same assertion—that the mind’s awareness is the ultimate reality, paramount and limitless. Does it die, then, with the body?
This is the point at which we leave science for a bit and contemplate what biocentrism suggests and allows, rather than what it can prove. The following is frankly speculative, yet it is more than mere philosophizing, as it follows logically and sensibly from a consciousness-based universe. Those who wish to stick strictly with “Just the facts. Ma’am,” are under no compulsion to accept any of these rather provisional conclusions.
As Emerson described it in The Over Soul, “The influences of the senses has in most men overpowered the mind to the degree that the walls of space and time have come to look solid, real and insurmountable; and to speak with levity of these limits in the world is the sign of insanity.”
Religions may go on and on about the afterlife, but how do we know this is true? Physics may tell us that energy is never ever lost. And that our brains, minds, and hence the feeling of life operate by electrical energy, and therefore this energy like all others simply cannot vanish, period. And while this sounds very intellectually nice and hopeful, how can we be sure that we will still experience the sense of life—that mystery neuro-researchers pursue with such futility, like the dream hallway that stretches ever longer the farther along the corridor we run?
The biocentric view of the timeless, spaceless cosmos of consciousness allows for no true death in any real sense. When a body dies, it does so not in the random billiard-ball matrix but in the all-is-still-inescapably-life matrix.
Our current scientific world-view offers no escape for those afraid of death. But why are you here now, perched seemingly by chance on the cutting edge of all infinity? The answer is simple—the door is never closed! The mathematical possibility of your consciousness ending is zero.
Logically, everyday experience puts us in a milieu where defined objects come and go, and everything has a natal moment. Whether pencil or kitten, we see items entering the world and others dissolving or vanishing. Logic is a fabric woven of such beginnings and endings. Conversely, those entities that are timeless by nature, such as love, beauty, consciousness, or the universe as a whole, have always dwelt outside the cold grasp of limitation.
So the Great Everything, which we now know to be synonymous with consciousness, could hardly fit within the ephemeral category. Instinct joins with what science we can employ here, to affirm that it is so, even if no argument, alas, can demonstrate immortality to everyone’s satisfaction.
Our inability to remember infinite time is meaningless because memory is a particularly limited and selective circuit within the neural network. Nor by definition could we recall a time of nothingness: no help there either.
Eternity is a fascinating concept, one that doesn’t indicate a perpetual existence in time without end. Eternity doesn’t mean a limitless temporal sequence. Rather, it resides outside of time altogether. The Eastern religions have of course argued for millennia that birth and death are equally illusory. (Or at least, their core teachings have done so. For the masses in every religion, there are more peripheral notions; in Eastern sects these include reincarnation.) Because consciousness transcends the body, because internal and external are fundamentally distinctions of language and practicality alone, we’re left with Being or consciousness as the bedrock components of existence.
The concept of death has always meant one thing only: an end that has no reprieve or ambiguity. It can only happen to something that has been born or created, something whose nature is bounded and finite. That fine wine glass you inherited from your grandmother can have a death when it falls and shatters into a dozen fragments; it’s gone for keeps. Individual bodies also have natal moments, their cells destined to age and self-destruct after about ninety generations, even if not acted upon by outside forces. Stars die too, albeit after enjoying many lifespans usually numbered in the billions of years.
Now comes the biggie, the oldest question of all. Who am I? If I am only my body, then I must die. If I am my consciousness, the sense of experience and sensations, then I cannot die for the simple reason that consciousness may be expressed in manifold fashion sequentially, but it is ultimately unconfined. Or if one prefers to pin things down, the “alive” feeling, the sensation of “me” is, so far as science can tell, a sprightly neuro-electrical fountain operating with about 100 watts of energy, the same as a bright light bulb. We even emit the same heat as a bulb, too, which is why a car rapidly gets warmer, even during a cold night, especially when a driver is accompanied by a passenger or two.
Now the truly skeptical might argue that this internal energy merely “goes away” at death and vanishes. But one of the surest axioms of science is that energy can never die, ever. Energy is known with scientific certainty to be deathless; it can neither be created nor destroyed. Similarly, the essence of who you are. Which is energy, can neither diminish nor “go away”—there simply isn’t any “away” in which to go. We inhabit a closed system.
Soon after the death of his son, Emerson wrote: “Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature.”
By striving to see through the veil of our ordinary perceptions, we can come closer to understanding our profound relationship to all created things—all possibilities and potentialities—past and present, great and small.