Biocentrism by Dr. Robert Lanza
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
A biologist completely flips your world view and challenges mainstream science
I’ve been banging on about how consciousness is primary to existence over the physical world for a long time now on this blog. What I didn’t know was that there were serious scientists who supported this idea.
Biocentrism by Dr. Robert Lanza could be summed up as follows: the universe is in consciousness, not the other way around.
This is a radical shift in perspective, and yet you’ll see that it’s extremely logical. It’s only the implications that boggle the mind.
Why it’s Awesome
I like reading and reviewing books from serious scientists because I am not involved in academia. It allows me to share with you guys brilliant scientific insights that otherwise I wouldn’t feel qualified to speak about, plus allows me to speak the language and relate to the rationalist perspective.
Make no mistake, Dr. Robert Lanza is an extremely serious scientist with credentials galore. But his theory of Biocentrism is a major splitting off from mainstream scientific thinking.
As I already mentioned, Biocentrism is the idea that consciousness is primary to the physical universe. More specifically, here are the 7 principles to Lanza’s theory:
First Principle of Biocentrism
What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness.
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 –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.
So those are the principles. The rest of the book is spent by Lanza building his argument for each of these ideas.
First, he uses basic science to back up his ideas. We know, for instance, sound waves only become sound as well know it when an ear takes in the sound and then the sound is rendered in the brain. Absent of an ear/brain to render the sound, no sound can actually be spoken to exist.
This is the meaning of the famous Zen Koan, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” Scientifically, the answer is no.
But Lanza goes further, using the utterly bizarre results of quantum mechanics to show that an observer is necessary for the physical reality we all know to exist.
I won’t go too far into the details behind quantum mechanics because I’m not an expert here, but the general idea is that scientists have found that quantum particles exist as undefined probability waves until observed. Once observed, the particle immediately chooses an existence.
I’d like to add my own insights at this point for how I came to the relatively same conclusion as Lanza. To me, all it takes is some clear seeing.
From most people, they see their life as them moving through space in a separate, physical world “out there”. They imagine that when they drive somewhere, they are actually traveling some distance.
This idea is extremely internally consistent. When you walk, objects move in respect to you walking and of course it seems you are moving.
But look closer. Notice that as much as you move, no matter where you go, you never leave your own head.
Never. In fact, it doesn’t even make sense. How could you claim you were somewhere you weren’t conscious of?
You don’t live your life in the physical world. You live it in your consciousness. Even the physical sensation of touch is just another element in consciousness.
It’s like a movie. In the movie, a character might drive a car and travel great distances. But of course they’ve never actually left the screen. They’ve never actually gone anywhere.
Where is the movie actually happening? It’s happening nowhere.
So assuming Biocentrism is correct, what does this all mean? This blog is largely about practical results, which means there must be a reason for understanding all this.
For Lanza, he believes Biocentrism may have a great effect on our impression of life and death. If consciousness is far more than just a derivative of the physical world, then perhaps the sense of existing does not die with our bodies.
I hesitate to endorse this. Whether or not consciousness goes on after death, we can assume that all thoughts, memories and our physical bodies will not. So don’t take this “live forever” thing too personal.
For me, the Biocentrism paradigm becomes significant when you realize you are deeply connected with everything around you and the entire universe. You are not, as Lanza calls it, a random process caused by accident from a stupid, mechanical universe.
If nothing else, Biocentrism is a major leap in our understanding in how the universe works. And for that reason, it’s worth learning.
Why Does It Suck
It doesn’t matter how good Biocentrism is as a model of the world, you’re not going to really understand it just by reading about it.
Everyone has to do the math for themselves. We’ve lost this in the information age where everything can simply be Googled.
So assume Biocentrism as a tentative hypothesis and work it out for yourself. Ask yourself, what does it mean to be conscious? What does it mean have perceptions?
Don’t think this is only for the deep philosophers or brainy scientists with fancy degrees. EVERYONE is capable of deriving deep insights into the nature of reality. You just have to do the work.
The Wrap Up
Amazing book by and amazing scientist. I admire Lanza’s willingness to challenge mainstream scientific thinking and speak about something which most people would claim he doesn’t have the authority.
Read this book if you’re a scientifically minded person interested in understanding consciousness and the nature of reality. You will not be disappointed.