Rethinking the Universe

Nothing has the capacity to make me feel stupid like reading about cosmology, something I, enthusiastically but masochistically, persist in. From the time I was a small child, I’ve been reading about the nature of the universe, the big bang, trying to get my mind around it all without remotely having the mathematical background to really understand it.

But I persisted, despite how much it seemed like nonsense. The universe was once the size of a pea (once it had grown a bit). The universe was expanding rapidly, and would either expand forever (ever more slowly) or crash together into the size of a pea again. Before the big bang – well you can’t ask questions about before the big bang because time didn’t exist yet. Also, there’s something called dark matter, which no one knows exactly what it is but it’s required for the universe to behave as it does. Oh, and subatomic particles are “unresolved” until observed by a conscious observer, leading one of the greatest physicists of our time, John Wheeler, to suggest that whole sections of the universe are “unresolved” because no one has yet observed them.

Then – surprise – it turns out that universe is not only expanding, it’s expanding faster and and faster. We just recently found this out! It’s expanding, it turns out because of something called dark energy, which is 74% of the mass-energy in the universe. So we know in detail what happened in the first three minutes of the universe, but we didn’t suspect that 74% of it even existed.

Anyone smelling a rat? I was, but I would never say a word, because, deep down, I was pretty sure that whatever wasn’t making sense to me was just a result of me not really understanding the theories.

But it turns out that even the physicists are starting to despair. And then I read the manuscript for Biocentrism, written by two highly respected scientists, Robert Lanza and Bob Berman.

Of all the books we’ve ever published, Biocentrism may be the most difficult to explain in brief…and the most mind-expanding once read. The book was just released, but already has had an excerpt in Discover, and more coming.

To quote from the book:

“This book proposes a new perspective: that our current theories of the physical world don’t work, and can never be made to work, until they account for life and consciousness. This book proposes that, rather than a belated and minor outcome after billions of years of lifeless physical processes, life and consciousness are absolutely fundamental to our understanding of the universe. We call this new perspective biocentrism.”

Biocentrism explains a lot, including the mystery of the anthropic universe, the mindboggling issues of observer-dependency in quantum theory, the complete failure of science to explain consciousness, and more. Is it completely right? I have no idea. But it’s definitely on to something, and if it’s half right it’ll revolutionize cosmology.

Not bad for a book. If you are interested in the nature of the universe, this is a must-read.

No video on Biocentrism, but here’ s author Robert Lanza, one of the nation’s leading experts on stem cells, speaking with Barbara Walters:

2 thoughts on “Rethinking the Universe”

  1. The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) recently sponsored an essay contest in which I submitted a piece called “Rethinking the Universe.” Afterward I Googled to find this prior instance of the title. Be that as it may, readers here may have an interest in not only my essay, but other entries, many of which address questions about the appearance of life and consciousness, and what they have to do with theories of physics.

    http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2838

  2. The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) recently sponsored an essay contest in which I submitted a piece called “Rethinking the Universe.” Afterward I Googled to find this prior instance of the title. Be that as it may, readers here may have an interest in not only my essay, but other entries, many of which address questions about the appearance of life and consciousness, and what they have to do with theories of physics.

    http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2838

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