In his essay A New Theory of the Universe, published in The American Scholar in 2007, Robert Lanza expounds his theory of Biocentrism. It was the most interesting essay I’d read in a long time (I seem to keep on saying that!), and very relevant to my own ideas.
According to Wikipedia the theory of Biocentrism states that ‘life’ or consciousness creates the universe rather than the other way around (as has been traditionally assumed), and that “there is no independent external universe outside of biological existence.” Just like Kant, Lanza maintains that “what we call space and time are forms of animal sense perception, rather than external physical objects”. He says that the behaviour of particles “is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer”, and that what we perceive as reality is “a process that involves our consciousness”. He backs up this view with (among other arguments) the fact that “the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life”, or as he puts it elsewhere “the laws of the world were somehow created to produce the observer”, and “there are over 200 physical parameters within the universe so exact that it is seen as more probable that they are that way in order to allow for existence of life and consciousness, rather than coming about at random.” I looked up that ‘fine-tuning‘ business and was quite impressed by its implications: if it isn’t evidence for Lanza’s theory that consciousness creates the universe, then it points to something along the lines of ‘intelligent design’; the very least it seems to indicate is that there’s a lot we don’t yet know about the universe. And the idea that the internal and external, subjective and objective worlds seem to be a lot more connected, and in a more complex way, than has generally been thought, is a very plausible explanation for such a set of seemingly unlikely facts (although there are others, such as the anthropic principle). (more…)