Consciousness Is the Key to Understanding Reality

In order to understand the true nature of reality, science must first recognize the importance of consciousness, says Dr. Robert Lanza, a stem-cell biologist whose work has earned him high acclaim. He also sees a greater role for consciousness in the quest for a “Theory of Everything,” larger than even physics. According to Lanza, everything that we experience—including Newtonian physics and quantum physics—is a system created by our consciousness. Even space and time are just tools used by the mind to piece together all the information of the universe.

“Reality involves your consciousness,” said Lanza in a talk on biocentrism (see below) at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2010. “It could not be there without your consciousness.”

Biocentrism is the term that Lanza gives to this concept—that the universe arises from life, not the other way around. He writes more about this radical idea in his 2010 book, Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, co-written with astronomer Bob Berman.

In his book, Lanza explores famous paradoxes of quantum physics, such as the double-slit experiment and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Both of these show that the behavior of particles changes when we observe them. But why should particles care if you are watching them? Lanza says they don’t; it’s just that we are creating the reality that we are observing.

Or as Neils Bohr said: “When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not measuring the world, we are creating it.”

Lanza also questions why life exists in the first place. According to what is known as the Goldilock’s Principle, hundreds of parameters in the universe are in the exact right range for life to survive. If you change one or more of these factors—such as the strong nuclear force or the gravitational constant—life would have never arisen.

Some possible explanations for this include that God created the universe, or that among a multitude of possible universes we happen to live in the one where life is possible. Lanza, though, says that the main reason our universe can support life is that consciousness created the parameters that have made the universe so hospitable to our existence.

The old theory of the universe has yet to sufficiently answer these fundamental questions. Lanza says that in order for science to move forward, it needs to venture into new territory.

“Science hasn’t confronted the one thing that’s most familiar and most mysterious, and that is, of course, consciousness,” he said. Source: Robert Lanza: Consciousness Is the Key to Understanding Reality

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One Response to Consciousness Is the Key to Understanding Reality

  1. alfy says:

    A very interesting post, Jim. The physicist, Julian Barbour, comes to similar conclusions in his book, “The End of Time”. He discusses the problem of time. We still do not know what it is, and have to describe it in metaphors. Is it like a flowing river, or like a journey, where the rock behind us is in the past, and the tree ahead is in the future? Is it like an Einsteinian stick of seaside rock, a continuum where the infant we once were is still there, and the old person we expect to become, is also there already?
    Barbour suggests that time is an illusion of human consciousness, and so is motion. He is not the first thinker to suggest this. The idea goes back as far as the ancient Greeks. It seems counter-intuitive, to use the modern term. We sit in a chair and throw the ball to the dog, who jumps to catch it in his mouth. Nothing could be simpler to demonstrate the reality of motion. What other explanation could there be?
    The process might be like the frames of a cine-film. Our consciousness has arranged them in a particular way, It is also possible for the dog to rise from the floor, open his mouth to allow the ball to fly through the air into our outstretched hand. Alternative the dog could remain permanently in the air, with his mouth open, and the ball forever a few inches away. It just depends on exactly how our consciousness chooses and arranges the separate frames.
    Barbour points out that there is no way of independently proving that motion of any kind really exists, including all the celestial motions. All the evidence is mediated through human consciousness, which brings us to the point which Dr Lanza is making in the clip.
    Incidentally, I initially assumed that the lecture was being given in a university room and filmed on a mobile phone, but maybe it was in a café offering free burgers to anyone with a bus pass. It reminded me of a maths lecture, also shown on deskarati, apparently filmed in a corridor with scores of passing students. I wonder what mental processes,(if that is not too wild an exaggeration) go on in the minds of organisers. “Ya see we got this guy to give a talk on a reeeally difficult idea that needs a helluva lot of concentration. Where’ll we stick him? How bout the trainee hairdressing salon? Nah, let’s go with the big burger bar.”

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