Showing posts with label Robert Lanza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robert Lanza. Show all posts

Friday, February 19, 2021

Of butterflies and dreaming sages

The Grand Biocentric Design : How Life Creates Reality
Robert Lanza, MD and Matej Pavšič with Bob Berman
Non-fiction, 289 pages

In this third book on biocentrism, Matej Pavšič joins the authors of the first two, but it is Lanza who speaks loudest. The book offers several new scientific findings and four additional principals of biocentrism to the original seven.

The first third of the book reiterates points made in the previous two: 1) on the atomic level everything remains in superposition until an observer collapses a wave-function and brings things into existence. More , 2) time and space are tools of the mind rather than qualities of reality.

At this point new evidence is introduced. Consider the eighth principle of biocentrism: 

“Biocentrism offers the only explanation of how the mind is unified with matter and the world by showing how modulation of ion dynamics in the brain at the quantum level allows all parts of the information system that we associate with consciousness to be simultaneously interconnected.” 

I don’t fully grasp why this is important; I hope a commentator will explain it to me.

Another piece of evidence supports the idea that reality is an invention of the mind. Speculating that it’s possible for “two observers to experience different, conflicting realities,” a group of physicists used six entangled particles to create separate realities for each observer. The study was published in Science Advances in 2019. “Realities can be made incompatible so that it is impossible to agree on objective facts about an experiment. These results suggest that objective reality does not exist.”

This begs the question, if objective reality is observer dependent, how can there be any sort of consensual reality? The authors answer:

“If you learn from somebody the outcomes of their measurements of a physical quantity, knowing those outcomes will also influence the outcomes of your own measurements, freezing the reality according to a consensus between your measurements and those of other observers. In this sense a consensus of different opinions regarding the structure of reality defines its very form.

Recall that time itself, as well as the direction of the arrow of time, becomes defined due to the process of wave function collapse (or decoherence). Once such temporal collapse happens, one can start asking questions about the dynamics of the process of decoherence for other physical quantities that we as observers can measure. These dynamics—how quickly the collapse of quantum blur toward a particular realization of measurable quantities happens, how long it stays collapsed, the detailed structure of the probability waves defining observed reality—strongly depend on how the measurements or observations by different observers are distributed within spacetime. If there are many observers and the number of observations made by them is very large, the probability waves of the measurement of a macroscopic quantity remain largely ‘localized,’ not spreading much, and reality is largely fixed, deviating slightly from the consensus only every once in a while.”

Another new idea in this book addresses an old problem. Quantum physics does a good job of explaining three of the four fundamental forces, while relativity theory does a fine job of explaining gravity. However the two theories of quantum physics and relativity can not be unified into one. The authors claim that when the role of observers is considered, gravity becomes compatible with quantum theory.

Despite new research and more in-depth explanation, this book leaves a lot out. In the second book on biocentrism, the authors wrote that death is an illusion. Here they take it further:

“In your awakened State, you experience your consensus reality. Then you go to bed, fall asleep, and start dreaming. And when you wake up, you find yourself again existing as a person in a consensus reality. Through dreams you enter alternate worlds and switch from one consensus reality to another, from experiencing the life of one organism to that of another. Once awake, you can find yourself as being any person, at any time without having memories about ever being another person or animal. You can even find yourself as a newborn, without any idea about the reality you are living. If so, gradually, piece by piece, you discover your reality, your world. By observing your world, you keep collapsing probability waves, and thus you effortlessly create an ever-more detailed world that includes comprehensive reinforcing memories. The observations also include what others tell you about the world and its history and still you build your consensus reality.”

How can this be? I didn’t wake up as someone else this morning, or did I? I remember Chuang Tzu wrote of something similar:

“Formerly, I, Kwang Kâu, dreamt that I was a butterfly, a butterfly flying about, feeling that it was enjoying itself. I did not know that it was Kâu. Suddenly I awoke, and was myself again, the veritable Kâu. I did not know whether it had formerly been Kâu dreaming that he was a butterfly, or it was now a butterfly dreaming that it was Kâu. But between Kâu and a butterfly there must be a difference.”

As Chuang Tzu said, “there must be a difference.” If there were no difference, “mind” could control any body at any time. And in that case would mind be a singular or plural entity? That question and others of similar nature are not addressed, yet require answers if biocentrism is to become a strong theory.

If mind is the thing that creates matter, what is mind?

“Biocentrism shows that the external world is actually within the mind—not ‘within’ the brain. The brain is an actual physical object that occupies a specific location. It exists as a spatiotemporal construction. … The mind is what generates the spatiotemporal construction in the first place. Thus, the mind refers to pre-spatiotemporal and the brain to post spatiotemporal. You experience your mind’s image of your body, including your brain, just as you experience trees and galaxies. The mind is everywhere. It is everything you see, hear and sense.”

And after that explanation, I still don’t know. If biocentrism is to become a useful theory, it will need to explain what is meant by mind. Replacing one mystery with another isn’t helpful. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

It's like the egg laying the chicken - or mixing metaphors - Ouroboros

Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death

Robert Lanza and Bob Berman

Non-fiction, 224 pages

In their first book, Lanza and Berman presented Biocentrism, a view that accounts for some of the anomalies of physics. This book takes the argument further. The science is solid, but I question the validity of the authors’ conclusions.


The scientific argument begins with with a hard nut that physicists have tried to crack for nearly one hundred years. Things are not as they seem. The model of an atom one first encountered in elementary school is not realistic. In reality, electrons don’t cross atomic nucleuses in neat orbits. In reality, they’re everywhere at once. Electrons exist in a superposition of all possible locations until interfered with. As soon as a measurement is taken, the electron’s “wave function” collapses and it shows itself. Since observation is required to determine an electron’s position, the role of consciousness plays a key part in how the universe operates. Hence, life itself, steers the universe’s unfolding.


While the authors’ argument is novel, the science is not. I don’t question that the authors are on to something. I only question that something’s implications. Let’s skip over the science and go directly to conclusions:


“What is not in doubt even in these early research stages is that the observer is correlative with the cosmos. That time does not exist. And perhaps the most cheerful takeaway from biocentrism: Since there’s no self-existing space-time matrix in which energy can dissipate, it’s impossible for you to ‘go’ anywhere.


In a nutshell, death is illusory. ... Consciousness and awareness never began, and will never end.”


And yet, when one sleeps can one be said to be conscious? For that matter, how can there be a “when” if time is illusory?


Backing up a bit, the authors note that logic and science are not the only methods of gaining knowledge. Intuitions arise from neither and are generally correct. Upon seeing a corpse, intuition tells us that the body’s former occupant has departed. But where did it go? Here’s the explanation:


“The feeling of “me,” of consciousness itself, could be considered a 23-watt energy cloud, which is the brain’s energy consumption in producing our sense of ‘being’ and its myriad sensory manifestations. Energy, as we learned in high school physics, is never lost. It can change form but it never dissipates or disappears. So what happens when those brain cells die?”


The answer is that death is an illusion. One can’t die because, “neither space nor time are real in any sense except as appearances or tools of the mind.”


In the first appendix we learn the difference between mind and brain. “The brain is a physical object occupying a specific location. It exists as a spatio-temporal construction ... .” Other objects like tables must also be constructions, yet you can’t crowd those constructions into brains. Paradoxical. Space isn’t real, but you still have to watch where you place things. Luckily we don’t have to worry about where one places one’s mind. “But the mind has no location. It is everywhere you observe, smell, or hear anything.”


I can’t quite wrap my own mind around this. Maybe with more explanation. The authors are releasing another book in November. I can barely wait.