Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe - by Bob Berman and Robert Lanza

my notes:

Everyone knows that something is screwy with the way we visualize the cosmos.

Nothing in modern physics explains how a group of molecules in your brain create consciousness.

Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our current model simply does not allow for consciousness, and our understanding of this most basic phenomenon of our existence is virtually nil. Interestingly, our present model of physics does not even recognize this as a problem.

One of the most widely known and popularized “explanations” about the origin and nature of the cosmos abruptly brakes at a blank wall at the very moment when it seems to be arriving at its central point.

There is more to life than can be explained by our science.

This view of the world in which life and consciousness are the bottom line in understanding the larger universe—biocentrism—revolves around the way a subjective experience, which we call consciousness, relates to a physical process.

It is the biological creature that fashions the stories, that makes the observations, and that gives names to things.

George Berkeley, for whom the campus and town were named, came to a similar conclusion: “The only things we perceive,” he would say, “are our perceptions.”

If the most primary questions of the universe have traditionally been tackled by physicists attempting to create grand unified theories—exciting and glamorous as they are—such theories remain an evasion, if not a reversal of the central mystery of knowledge: that the laws of the world somehow produced the observer in the first place!

Indeed, a bit of thought will make it obvious that without perception, there can be no reality.

Once one fully understands that there is no independent external universe outside of biological existence, the rest more or less falls into place.

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.

As real as the rainbow looks, it requires your presence just as much as it requires sun and rain.

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 separated.

If life—yours, mine, and Bubbles’s (who is still alive today, under assisted care)—originally began because of random molecular collisions in a matrix of a dead and stupid universe, then watch out. We’re as likely to be screwed as pampered.

Before matter can peep forth—as a pebble, a snowflake, or even a subatomic particle—it has to be observed by a living creature.

Quantum theory, as we mentioned in the last chapter, has a principle called complementarity, which says that we can observe objects to be one thing or another—or have one position or property or another, but never both. It depends on what one is looking for and what measuring equipment is used.

So where did the carbon in our bodies come from? The answer was found a half-century ago, and, of course, involves those factories where all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are manufactured—in the centers of suns.

“Small changes to seemingly boring properties of the universe could have easily produced a universe in which nobody would have been around to be bored.”

Has anyone offered any credible suggestion for how, some 14 billion years ago, we suddenly got a hundred trillion times more than a trillion trillion trillion tons of matter from—zilch? Has anyone explained how dumb carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules could have, by combining accidentally, become sentient—aware!—and then utilized this sentience to acquire a taste for hot dogs and the blues?

Our sense of the forward motion of time is really only the result of an unreflective participation in a world of infinite activities and outcomes that only seems to result in a smooth, continuous path.

Because thinking itself occurs strictly in the “now”—where is time? Does time exist on its own, apart from human concepts that are no more than conveniences for our formulas or for the description of motion and events?

An actual sphere or cube is sometimes said to require four dimensions because it continues to endure. That it persists and perhaps even changes means that something “else” besides the spatial coordinates is part of its existence, and we call this time.

If time ran backward, everything including our own mental processes would operate in the same new direction as well, so we’d never notice anything amiss.

Time’s is—a biocentric fabrication, a biologic creation that is solely a practical operating aid in the mental circuitry of some living organisms, to help with specific functioning activities.

We see only that for which we are looking.

Time is the inner form of animal sense that animates events—the still frames—of the spatial world.

Time can be defined as the inner summation of spatial states; the same thing 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.

Spatial units are stagnant and there is no “stuff ” between the units or frames. The weaving together of these frames occurs in the mind.

“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.

Space and time are forms of animal understanding—period. We carry them 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.

Einstein shrugged off that issue, simply saying that, “Time is what we measure with a clock. Space is what we measure with a measuring rod.” The emphasis for physicists is on the measuring . However, the emphasis could just as easily be on the we, the observer,

Science has no real explanation for why we’re alive now, existing on the edge of time.

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.

“Name the colors, blind the eye” is an old Zen saying, illustrating that the intellect’s habitual ways of branding and labeling creates a terrible experiential loss by displacing the vibrant, living reality with a steady stream of labels.

There can be no break between the observer and the observed. If the two are split, the reality is gone.

Cosmologists, biologists, and evolutionists do not seem at all flabbergasted when they state that the universe—indeed the laws of nature themselves—just appeared for no reason one day.

The Greeks also found a logical way to mathematically prove that one plus one equals three, and all manner of other wonderful stuff, likely as the result of having excessive leisure time in that wonderful Aegean climate.

Consider this, told to a condemned man: Speak! If you lie, you will be hanged. If you tell the truth, you will be put to the sword. So the prisoner says: I will be hanged! After much tortured discussion, the jailors decide they have no choice but to release him.

Logic and verbal language are the wrong tools for the job of understanding quantum theory. Math works much better

Logic also fails when discussing things that have no comparatives.

We are the colorblind when it comes to the deepest issues of the cosmos. Because the universe in its entirety, the sum of all nature and consciousness, has no comparative because there is nothing else like it, nor does it exist within any other matrix or context, our logic and language lack any meaningful way to apprehend or visualize it as a whole.

Mystery is never disproof.

Not everyone will feel comfortable seeking knowledge by looking in unaccustomed places, turning over stones that normally stay put.

If time is an illusion, if reality is created by our own consciousness, can this consciousness ever truly be extinguished?

In short, science seeks to discover the properties and processes within the cosmos.

Our concepts about the universe are reminiscent of a common classroom world globe, which is a tool allowing us to think about Earth as a whole. However, the Grand Canyon or Taj Mahal are only real when you go there. And having a globe doesn’t guarantee you can actually get to the North Pole or Antarctica. Likewise, the universe is a concept we use to represent everything that is theoretically possible in experience in space and time. It’s like a CD—the music only leaps into reality when you play one of the songs.

We can be sure of one thing only: our perceptions themselves—nothing else.

Offering a new way to conceive the cosmos always means battling the inertia of the existing cultural mindset.

How neural information is discriminated, integrated, and reported still doesn’t explain how it is experienced.

The CD itself contains only information, yet when the player is turned on, the information leaps into fully dimensional sound. In that way, and in that way only, does the music exist.

Our minds are so good at creating a three-dimensional universe that we rarely question whether the universe is anything other than we imagine it.

Everything we observe is the direct interaction of energy and mind. Anything that we do not observe directly exists only as potential—or more mathematically speaking—as a haze of probability.

Eternity doesn’t mean a limitless temporal sequence. Rather, it resides outside of time altogether.

Artificial intelligence, The development of such sophisticated circuitry will reveal—probably faster than human brain research can—the realities and modalities of time and space as being entirely observer-dependent.

Currently, the disciplines of biology, physics, cosmology, and all their sub-branches are generally practiced by those with little knowledge of the others.