Posted in biology, chemistry, literature

Biocentrism

I saw this book featured on MSNBC and it peaked my curiousity. The abridgment published online is based on “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe,” by Robert Lanza with Bob Berman, published by BenBella Books. The authors of the book say cosmology misses the big picture unless it includes biology.

The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science, not with imaginary strings that occupy equally imaginary unseen dimensions, but with a much simpler idea that is rife with so many shocking new perspectives that we are unlikely ever to see reality the same way again.

In the past few decades, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything we could have imagined. A more accurate understanding of the world requires that we consider it biologically centered. It’s a simple but amazing concept that Biocentrism attempts to clarify: Life creates the universe, instead of the other way around. Understanding this more fully yields answers to several long-held puzzles. This new model — combining physics and biology instead of keeping them separate, and putting observers firmly into the equation — is called biocentrism. Its necessity is driven in part by the ongoing attempts to create an overarching view, a theory of everything. Such efforts have now stretched for decades, without much success except as a way of financially facilitating the careers of theoreticians and graduate students.

Could the long-sought Theory of Everything be merely missing a component that was too close for us to have noticed?  Some of the thrill that came with the announcement that the human genome had been mapped or the idea that we are close to understanding the “Big Bang” rests in our innate human desire for completeness and totality.  But most of these comprehensive theories fail to take into account one crucial factor: We are creating them. It is the biological creature that fashions the stories, that makes the observations, and that gives names to things. And therein lies the great expanse of our oversight, that science has not confronted the one thing that is at once most familiar and most mysterious — consciousness.  As Emerson wrote in “Experience,” an essay that confronted the facile positivism of his age: “We have learned that we do not see directly, but mediately, and that we have no means of correcting these colored and distorting lenses which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. Perhaps these subject-lenses have a creative power; perhaps there are no objects.”

Read the full, not-so-abridged abridgement. (Not that I’m complaining.)

Got a book you think should be featured here? Reviewed? Let me know in the comments!

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Author:

Beth Kelley is a writer and researcher with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.

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