Saturday, December 12, 2009


I have recently come across an interesting science theory call Biocentrism as proposed by scientist Robert Lanza. I was fascinated with the many connections between it and much Buddhist philosophy. I will give you a quick run-down of what Biocentrism is about via wikipedia, which isn't the best source but it's the easiest for my purposes but I encourage you to read about it further. Biocentrism posits that life created the universe and not the other way around as traditional science has taught us. This blends nicely into the Buddhist concept that reality is what our limited and deluded mind makes of it. The seven principles of Biocentrism are as follows. Note the similarities between it and Buddhist thought:

1). What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An "external" reality, if it existed, would by definition have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.

2). Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.

3). The behavior of subatomic particles, indeed all particles and objects, is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.

4). Without consciousness, "matter" dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.

5). The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. The universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes perfect sense as life creates the universe, not the other way around. The "universe" is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self.

6). Time does not have a real existence outside of animal-sense perception. It is the process by which we perceive changes in the universe.

7). Space, like time, is not an object or a thing. Space is another form of our animal understanding and does not have an independent reality. We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells. Thus, there is no absolute self-existing matrix in which physical events occur independent of life.

James: Then there is this following excerpt from a different article about how scientist Robert Lanza rediscovered this idea that Buddhists have believed for eons. It is a nice image of what is being talked about with this theory and startlingly reminds me of Indra's Net metaphor:
The farther we peer into space, the more we realize that the nature of the universe cannot be understood fully by inspecting spiral galaxies or watching distant supernovas. It lies deeper. It involves our very selves. This insight snapped into focus one day while one of us (Lanza) was walking through the woods. Looking up, he saw a huge golden orb web spider tethered to the overhead boughs. There the creature sat on a single thread, reaching out across its web to detect the vibrations of a trapped insect struggling to escape. The spider surveyed its universe, but everything beyond that gossamer pinwheel was incomprehensible. The human observer seemed as far-off to the spider as telescopic objects seem to us. Yet there was something kindred: We humans, too, lie at the heart of a great web of space and time whose threads are connected according to laws that dwell in our minds.
James: As Nobel physicist John Wheeler once said, “No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.” I look forward to reading more about this theory as I am very fascinated with interactions between science and Buddhism. If everyone and everything is interdependent and interconnected then I see no reason why Buddhism and science have to be mutually exclusive. It seems to me that many of the theories posited by both are quite similar.

PHOTO CREDIT: University of Chicago Press