Biocentrism Says Time and Death Are Illusions You’ve Invented
Biocentrism is a theory that sees our lives as a string on unconnected Nows with no real time or death.
Okay, I admit it. They had me at “You won’t actually die.” I want to believe. Dr. Robert Lanza MD and astronomer Bob Berman (no relation to me) have developed an explanation of the universe in which none of us dies. It’s called “biocentrism,” and states that life and consciousness create the reality we experience, and without those two elements, it’s just not there. They’ve written a book about it, Beyond Biocentrism.
The idea sprang from Lanza’s observation of a spider monitoring its web. Lanza imagined the spider totally in touch with the slightest vibration within the web—his/her universe—though not much beyond, and saw something familiar: “We humans, too, lie at the heart of a great web of space and time whose threads are connected according to laws that dwell in our minds.”
In a column Lanza and Berman wrote for Aeon, they say “It turns out that everything we see and experience is a whirl of information occurring in our head… Rather, space and time are the tools our mind uses to put it all together.” Thus, time is just a narrative construct we employ to make sense of all this sensory input—this is the key to the not-dying part.
The authors cite a range of intellectual luminaries who themselves had doubts about times’ reality, including Albert Einstein, who wrote on the passing of his friend Michele Besso, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
British physicist Julian Barbour also says time isn't real: “Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction at which we arrive through the changes of things.” Barbour says he and other physicists think of each moment as a complete, self-contained entity and that, “We live in a succession of ‘Nows.’ We have the strong impression that things are there in definite positions relative to each other, but there are Nows, nothing more, nothing less.”
In biocentrism, we could think of time like a CD music album: All the music’s all there all the time; the only thing that changes, essentially, is which song we listen to. All of the CD’s moments exist simultaneously, in superposition, or in our lives in quantum superposition. Of course, we seem to lack Fast-Forward and Rewind buttons.
Instead of death in this timeless scheme, we merely reach “the imagined border of ourselves.” Lanza and Berman conclude, “And if death and time are illusions, so too is the continuity in the connection of nows. Where, then, do we find ourselves? On rungs that can be shuffled and reshuffled anywhere.”
Of course, not everyone buys biocentrism, but it’s an interesting system, and an extrapolation of other revered thinkers’ thoughts. It’s comforting, too. Now it just needs to be right.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
- "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose," Sherlock Holmes famously remarked.
- In this lesson, Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes, teaches you how to optimize memory, Holmes style.
- The goal is to expand one's limited "brain attic," so that what used to be a small space can suddenly become much larger because we are using the space more efficiently.
The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.
- U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
- A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
- Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
- Our ability to behave rationally depends not just on our ability to use the facts, but on our ability to give those facts meaning. To be rational, we need both facts and feelings. We need to be subjective.
- In this lesson, risk communication expert David Ropeik teaches you how human rationality influences our perception of risk.
- By the end of it, you'll understand the pitfalls of your subjective risk perception system so that you can avoid these traps in the future.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.