January 8, 2023
Well-written, clear, funny, and mind-blowing, this book presents the scientific evidence for biocentricism, the view that life is central to the universe, that perception creates reality. This view is not new, but the book shows how modern science supports it. Lanza and co-authors develop the ideas of twentieth-century physicists such as E. Schrodinger who regarded consciousness as “absolutely fundamental” to reality. Those holding the antithetical view – that matter is central and life inessential – must ignore or else endure the discomfort of quantum physical discoveries such as nonlocality, entanglement, and superposition (which the authors explain very clearly). Physiocentrism (i.e. materialism) is thus weaker because it can only remained baffled by such phenomena. The biocentric view, by contrast, embraces those phenomena with love and tenderness because they, with the rest of the reality, harmonize smoothly with its all-encompassing view of the universe.
One of the key distinctions of biocentrism is that life, not just humans, is central to reality. This includes animals and even plants that “store memories and respond to their spatial environment.” Thus it disarms criticisms of anthropocentrism, so common an attack-strategy of the materialist camp. More importantly, however, it does justice to the perception of the world as larger and more mysterious than any one species can hope to comprehend, including humans.
The authors tackle the questions of free will, life after death, and time-travel. They also affirm the idea of a multiverse, which in my view remains speculative and unconvincing, though inessential to the main point of the book. The volume includes appendices addressing counter-arguments of critics, and a technical paper showing that the observer creates “arrow of time,” which quantum gravity will never be able to explain.
This challenging book is intended for “all of society,” not just the scientific community. To fully absorb the important information it presents, us lay-men should read it more than once. Doing so will affirm a generous and benevolent worldview of wonder and interconnectedness.
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