Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death
**This episode originally aired October 4, 2016.
Fast on the heels of our episode on pansychism, Paul Kennedy has his understanding of reality turned-upside-down by Dr. Robert Lanza in this paradigm-shifting hour. Dr. Lanza provides a compelling argument for consciousness as the basis for the universe, rather than consciousness simply being its by-product.
Biologists describe the origin of life as a random occurrence in a dead universe, but have no real understanding of how life began or why the universe appears to have been exquisitely designed for its emergence.- Dr. Robert Lanza
"Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligences?", questioned the Roman philosopher Cicero. Over 2,000 years later, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza responds to Cicero's philosophical query with a groundbreaking book Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death.
What is Biocentrism?
Dr. Lanza writes:"In this model, the universe was presented as a kind of self-operating machine. It was composed of stupid stuff, meaning atoms of hydrogen and other elements that had no innate intelligence. Nor did any sort of external intelligence rule. Rather, unseen forces such as gravity and electromagnetism, acting according to the random laws of chance, produced everything we observe... As for how consciousness could arise in the first place, no one even has guesses. We cannot fathom how lumps of carbon, drops of water, or atoms of insensate hydrogen ever came together and acquired a sense of smell. The issue is apparently too baffling to raise at all."
In this model the universe is regarded as objective — existing independent of any observer — made of matter, ruled by mechanistic laws. Consciousness — or the observer — is simply a part of the matter-based universe.
But this model not only fails to fully address the conundrum of consciousness. It also fails to answer other puzzling questions: what was there before the Big Bang? Why does the universe seem exquisitely designed for the emergence of life? Why is there something instead of nothing? This is where Dr. Lanza's biocentric theory of the universe comes in, to show us the inherent flaw in the standard explanation for origins of the universe.
Most people believe that there's an independent physical universe "out there" that has nothing to do with our awareness of it. This seeming truth persisted without much dissent until the birth of quantum mechanics. Only then did a credible science voice appear, which resonated with those who claimed that the universe does not seem to exist without a perceiver of that universe.- Dr. Robert Lanza
Life is not a byproduct of the universe, but its very source
Dr. Lanza says the problem is we have everything upside down. He takes the common assumption that the universe led to the creation of life and argues that it's the other way around: that life is not a byproduct of the universe, but its very source. Or put another way, consciousness is what gives rise to our sense of there being an "out there" when, in fact, the world we experience around us is actually created in our consciousness.
As if anticipating our bemused response, Dr. Lanza writes: "But, you may protest, aren't there two worlds? The external 'real world', and then another, separate visual world in your head? No, there is only one. Where the visual image is perceived is where it actually is. There is nothing outside of of perception ... but the illusion of an external world comes from language. Everyone you meet participates in the same charade. It's not malevolent, but useful, as when you say, 'Please pass the salt over there.' What purpose would it serve to ask for that salt shaker 'inside your head'? It is customary to allude to the world as existing outside of us."
Dr. Robert Lanza is a noted scientist, who has been called by U.S. News & World a "genius" and "renegade thinker", likening him to Albert Einstein. He is head of Astellas Global Regenerative Medicine, Octata Chief Scientific Officer, and adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.
- Time Might Only Exist in Your Head. And Everyone Elses - Wired Magazine
- Robert Lanza on Biocentrism
- Beyond Biocentrism by Robert Lanza
Watch: Dr. Robert Lanza on the theory of Biocentrism
**This episode was produced by Frank Faulk.