notes: biocentrism by robert lanza
biocentrism: how life and consciousness are the keys to understanding the true nature of the universe, by robert lanza, md, with bob berman. benbella books, 2009
“if the big bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop. if the strong nuclear force were decreased 2 percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and plain-vanilla hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe. if the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars (including the sun) would not ignite. these are just three of just more than two hundred physical parameters within the solar system and universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose that they are random – even if that is exactly what standard contemporary physics baldly suggests. these fundamental constants of the universe – constants that are not predicted by any theory – all seem to be carefully chosen, often with great precision, to allow for the existence of life and consciousness (yes, consciousness raises its annoying paradoxical head yet a third time). the old model has absolutely o reasonable explanation for this. but biocentrism supplies answers, as we shall see. there’s more. brilliant equations that accurately explain the vagaries of motion contradict observations about how things behave on the small scale. (or, to affix the correct labels on it, einstein’s relativity is incompatible with quantum mechanics.)” p7
“the pulses of air by themselves do not constitute any sort of sound, which is obvious because 15-pulse air puffs remain silent no matter how many ears are present. only when a specific range of pulses are present is the ear’s neural architecture designed to let human consciousness conjure the noise experience. in short, an observer, an ear, and a brain are every bit as necessary for the experience of sound as are the air pulses. the external world and consciousness are correlative. and a tree that falls in an empty forest creates only silent air pulses – tiny puffs of wind. when someone dismissively answers ‘of course a tree makes a sound if no one’s nearby,’ they are merely demonstrating their inability to ponder an event nobody attended. they’re finding it too difficult to take themselves out of the equation. they somehow continue to imagine themselves present when they are absent.” P20-1
“charges of the same type repel each other, so the bark’s electrons repel yours, and you feel this electrical repulsive force stopping your fingers from penetrating any further. nothing solid ever meets any other solids when you push on a tree. the atoms in your fingers are each as empty as a vacant football stadium in which a single fly sits on teh fifty-yard line. if we needed solids to stop us (rather than energy fields), our fingers could easily penetrate the tree as if we were swiping at fog.” p22
“Three components are necessary for a rainbow. there must be sun, there must be raindrops, and there must be a conscious eye (or its surrogate, film) at the correct geometric location. if your eyes look directly opposite the sun (that is, at the antisolar point, which is always marked by the shadow of your head), the sunlit water droplets will produce a rainbow that surrounds that precise spot at a distance of forty-two degrees. but your eyes must be located at that spot where the refracted light from the sunlit droplets converges to complete the required geometry. a person next to you will complete his or her own geometry, and will be at the apex of a cone for an entirely different set of droplets, and will therefore see a separate rainbow. their rainbow is very likely to look like yours, but it needn’t be so. the droplets their eyes intercept may be of a different size, and larger droplets make for a more vivid rainbow while at the same time robbing it of blue. then, too, if the sunlit droplets are very nearby, as from a lawn sprinkler, the person nearby may not see a rainbow at all. your rainbow is yours alone. but now we get to our point: what if no one’s there? answer: no rainbow.” p22-3
“in the absence of anyone or any animal, it is easy to see that no rainbow is present. or, if you prefer, there are countless trillions of potential bows, each one blurrily offset from the next by the minutest margin.” p23
“The visual image of that butter, that is, the butter itself, actually exists only inside your brain. that is its location. it is the only place visual images are perceived and cognized. 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. nothing is perceived except the perceptions themselves, and nothing exists outside of consciousness. only one visual reality is extant, and there it is. right there. the ‘outside world’ is, therefore, located within the brain or mind. of course, this is so astounding for many people, even if it is obvious to those who study the brain, that it becomes possible to over-think the issue and come up with attempted refutations. ‘yeah, but what about someone born blind?’ ‘and what about touch; if things aren’t out there, how can we feel them?’ none of that changes the reality: touch, too, occurs only within consciousness or the mind.” p36
“”more recent experiments by libet, announced in 2008, analyzing separate, higher-order brain functions, have allowed his research team to predict up to ten seconds in advance which hand a subject is about to decide to raise. ten seconds is nearly an eternity when it comes to cognitive decisions, and yet a person’s eventual decision could be seen on brain scans that long before the subject was even remotely aware of having made any decision. this and other experiments prove that the brain makes its own decisions on a subconscious level, and people only later feel that ‘they’ have performed a conscious decision. it means that we go through life thinking that, unlike the blessedly autonomous operations of the heart and kidneys, a lever-pulling ‘me’ is in charge of hte brain’s workings. libet concluded that the sense of personal free will arises solely from a habitual retrospective perspective of the ongoing flow of brain events. what, then, do we make of all this? first, that we are truly free to enjoy the unfolding of life, including our own lives, unencumbered by the acquired, often guilt-ridden sense of control, and the obsessive need to avoid messing up. we can relax, because we’ll automatically perform anyway.” p39
“as more sophisticated experiments were devised, it became obvious that mere knowledge in the experimenter’s mind is sufficient to cause the wave-function to collapse.” p51
“before bell, it was still considered possible (though increasingly iffy) that local realism – an objective independent universe – could be the truth. before bell, many still clung to the millennia-old assumption that physical states exist before they are measured.” p53
constants: atomic mass unit, avogadro’s number, bohr magneton, bohr radius, boltzmann’s constant, compton wavelength, deuteron mass, electric constant, electron mass, electron-volt, elementary charge, faraday constant, fine structure constant, hartree energy, hydrogen ground state, josephson constant, magnetic constant, molar gas constant, natural unit of action, newtonian constant of gravitation, neutron mass, nuclear magneton, planck constant, planck length, planck mass, planck time, proton mass, rydberg constant, stefan boltzmann constant, speed of light in vacuum, thompson cross section, wien displacement law constant. p85-6
“you either have an astonishingly improbably coincidence revolving around the indisputable fact that the cosmos could have any properties but happens to have exactly the right ones for life or else you have exactly what must be seen if indeed the cosmos is biocentric. either way, the notion of a random billiard-ball cosmos that could have had any forces that boast any range of values, but instead has the weirdly specific ones needed for life, looks impossible enough to seem downright silly.” p91
“at first it was assumed that such uncertainty in quantum theory practice was due to some technological insufficiency on the part of the experimenter or his instruments, some lack of sophistication in the methodology. but it soon became apparent that the unertainty is actually built into the fabric of reality. we see only that for which we are looking. of course, all of this makes perfect sense from a biocentric perspective: time is the inner form of animal sense that animates events – the still frames – of the spatial world. the mind animates the world like the motor and gears of a projector. each weaves a series of still pictures – a series of spatial states – into an order, into the ‘current’ of life. motion is created in our minds by running ‘film cells’ together. remember that everything you perceive – even this page – is actively, repeatedly, being reconstructed inside your head. it’s happening to you right now. your eyes cannot see through the wall of the cranium; all experience including visual experience is an organized whirl of information in your brain. if your mind could stop its ‘motor’ for a moment, you’d get a freeze frame, just as the movie projector isolated the arrow in one position with no momentum. in fact, time can be defined as the inner summation of spatial states; the same t hing measured with our scientific instruments is called momentum. space can be defined as position, as locked in a single frame. thus, movement through space is an oxymoron. heisenberg’s uncertainty principle has its root here: position (location in space) belongs to the outer world and momentum (which involves the temporal component that adds together still ‘film cells’) belongs to the inner world. by penetrating to the bottom of matter, scientists have reduced the universe to its most basic logic, and time is simply not a feature of the external spatial world.” p100
“werner heisenberg when he said, “a path comes into existence only when you observe it.’ there is neither time nor motion without life. reality is not ‘there’ with definite properties waiting to be discovered but actually comes into being depending upon the actions of the observer.” p101
“the demotion of time from an actual reality to a mere subjective experience, a fiction or even social convention, is central to biocentrism. its ultimate unreality, except as an aid and mutually agreed-upon convenience in everyday life, is yet one more piece of evidence that calls into serious doubt the ‘external universe’ mindset.” p104
“that time is a fixed arrow is a human construction. that we live no the edge of all time is a fantasy. that there is an irreversible, on-flowing continuum of events linked to galaxies and suns and the earth is an even greater fantasy. space and time are forms of animal understanding – period. we carry t hem around with us like turtles with shells. so there simply is no absolute self-existing matrix out there in which physical events occur independent of life.” p106
“the persistent human perception of time almost certainly stems from the chronic act of thinking, the one-word-at-a-time thought process by which ideas and events are visualized and anticipated. in rare moments of clarity and mental emptiness, or when danger or novel experience forces a one-pointed focus upon one’s consciousness, time vanishes, replaced by an ineffably enjoyable feeling of freedom, or the singular focus of escaping immediate peril. time is never cognized normally in such thought-less experiences: ‘i saw the whole accident unfolding in slow motion,’ in sum, from a biocentric point of view, time does not exist in the universe independent of life that notices it, and really doesn’t truly exist within the context of life either.” p109
“life has seemingly taught that time and space are external – and perhaps eternal – realities. they appear to encompass and bind all experiences, and are fundamental rather than secondary to life. they seem to lie above and beyond human experience, the gridwork within which all adventures unfold. as animals, we are organized and wired to use places and time to specify our experiences to ourselves and to others. history defines the past by placing people and events in time and space.” p112
“space, which is solely the conceptual mind’s way of clearing its throat, of pausing between identified symbols. at any rate, this subjective truth of this is now supported by actual experiments (as we saw in teh quantum theory chapters) that strongly suggest distance (space) has no reality whatsoever for entangled particles, no matter how great their apparent separation” p 114-5
“the generation to which einstein belonged had been taught that there existed an objective physical world that unfolded itself according to laws independent of life. ‘the belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject, einstein later wrote, ‘is the basis of all natural science.’ the universe was viewed as a great machine set in motion at the beginning of time, with wheels and cogs that turned according to immutable laws independent of us.” p116
“biocentrism, of course, shows that space is a projection from inside our minds, where experience begins. it is a tool of life, the form of outer sense that allows an organism to coordinate sensory information, and to make judgments regarding the quality and intensity of what is being perceived. space is not a physical phenomenon per se – and should not be studied in the same way as chemicals and moving particles. we animal organisms use this form of perception to organize our sensations into outer experience. in biological terms, the interpretation of sensory input in the brain depends on the neural pathway it takes from the body.” p117
“so we have multiple illusions and processes that routinely impart a false view of space. shall we count the ways? (1) empty space is not empty. (2) distances between objects can and do mutate depending on a multitude of conditions, so that no bedrock distance exists anywhere, between anything and anything else. (3) quantum theory casts serious doubt about whether even distant individual items are truly separated at all. (4) we ‘see’ separations between objects only because we have been conditioned and trained, through language and convention, to draw boundaries.” p118
“what, then, is the true nature of this space? empty? seething with energy and therefore matter-equivalent? real? unreal? a uniquely active field? a field of mind? moreover, if one accepts that the external world occurs only in mind, in consciousness, and that it’s the interior of one’s brain that’s cognized ‘out there’ at this moment, then of course everything is connected with everything else.” p125-6
“the fact that space can both seem to change its appearance through aberration, and actually shrink drastically at high speed, so that the entire universe is only a few steps from end to end, illustrates that it has no inherent, let alone external, structure. it is, rather, an experiential commodity that goes with the flow and mutates under varying circumstances.” p126
“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 – 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 t hing. 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.” p127
“what weinberg and others who have pondered the issue complain about is that, given all the chemistry and physics we know, given the brain’s neurological structure and complex architecture, and its constant trickle-current, it is nothing short of astonishing that the result is – this! the world in all its manifold sights and smells and emotions. a subjective feeling of being, of aliveness, that we all carry so unrelentingly that few give it a moment’s thought. there is no principle of science – in any discipline – that hints or explains how on earth we get this from that.” p174
“it is not solely atoms and proteins that hold the answer to the problem of consciousness. when we consider the nerve impulses entering the brain, we realize that they are not woven together automatically, any more than the information is inside a computer. our thoughts and perceptions have an order, not of themselves, but because the mind generates the spatio-temporal relationships involved in every experience. even taking cognition to the next step by fabricating a sense of meaning to things necessitates the creation of spatio-temporal relationships, the inner and outer forms of our sensuous intuition.” p175