he continuously evolving world of science is sometimes in contradiction to all the lessons left behind in history by philosophers. The field of physics has been thoroughly studied throughout the 20th century in order to find a better definition of time. Some say that time had been invented by us because we love to measure things, such as life. In this article, I will discuss the theory of Biocentrism invented by Robert Lanza.
What is Biocentrism?
Robert Lanza is a scientist with expertise within multiple fields of science who a few years ago invented Biocentrism. Within this theory, Lanza defines biology is the most important field of science above them all. In general, biocentrism defines from an ethical perspective that all life deserves equal moral consideration or has equal moral standing.
Although this ideology had been preset throughout history, it had never been addressed in a systematic manner. The most logical definition of Biocentrism had been presented in 2011 when Robert Lanza published his book entitled “Biocentrism” where he presents that Time, as well as Death, are illusions created by the human mind. A very argued theory, but well thought out.
To simplify his theory, if you are indoctrinated for many years that you will see a light at the end of the tunnel when you die, your mind will definitely see the light. A more spiritual entity that humanity still isn’t able to measure lives on in the infinite amount of universes. The idea behind the theory is that the universe arises from our lives. It sort of looks at life and the universe is interconnected and the beginning of the universe or its creation being a more biological phenomenon rather than an accident of physics.
Biocentrism is trying to give the best and most logical scientific explanation to consciousness, something that we don’t yet understand because we cannot measure. As mentioned before, humanity loves to measure things, if something cannot be measured it does not exist. But, what if consciousness is unmeasurable?
Based on historical cultures through time, every culture believes that our consciousness lives on in some sort of way. We cannot see consciousness when it leaves someone’s body, but what if it’s just in our mind? That is biocentrism in simplified terms.
Biocentrism compared to Philosopher’s point of view on Time
The field of physics is still quite new and has done incredible strides at measuring life, but what about the theories created by philosophers on life, death, and time? Who else to mention first but the famous Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.), who in my opinion is the father of philosophy. Aristotle created fatalism, arguably one of the first theories that tried to explain time and life. Aristotel through this theory argued that whatever will happen in the future is already unavoidable.
Fatalism is trying to define the fate a person has in life. As if your life is a book that had been written before you were born and now you are just playing along with the book. Every decision that you will have to make in this life is already made. Fatalism and Aristotle’s doctrine, in general, could agree with biocentrism in the sense that the universe is created and supported by our lives as everything that occurs is destined to already happen whilst the universe grows from our unavoidable actions.
Plato (427–347 B.C.E.) spent many years of his life as a philosopher trying to understand life whilst taking into consideration time and death. His philosophical doctrine famously known as Platonism looks at the existence of abstract life which is not defined by space or time. For example, objects don’t have minds, therefore they cannot create a cause and effect that would alter the future. They are unchanging and entirely causally inert.
If time itself respects the laws of physics and it cannot end or change its pattern, then it can be considered abstract as it does not have a mind of its own that would create a cause and effect. Aristotle had argued in his doctrine that time cannot have a beginning as that would mean time once had an end in order to start from the beginning. From the view of Plato, time should be indefinite or infinite in order to exist as an abstract, but that would disagree with biocentrism.
Think of the structure of time as a straight line. If time had a beginning then something else must have come before time, but if time is what defines life then biocentrism is wrong as this would mean that the universe is what created life and not the other way around.
Just like the laws of physics cannot be bent to one’s will, time cannot be controlled as it can only go forward. This is very well described in the phrase “The Arrow of Time” which was coined in 1927 by Sir Arthur Eddington (1882–1944). The phrase tries to explain that time can only go in one direction, just like an arrow. However, the dimensions of space have no preferred orientation.
Eddington made three specific points in regards to time from this theory:
- It is vividly recognized by consciousness.
- It is equally insisted on by our reasoning faculty, which tells us that a reversal of the arrow would render the external world nonsensical.
- It makes no appearance in physical science except in the study of the organization of a number of individuals. Here the arrow indicates the direction of progressive increase of the random element.
With views to biocentrism, this does support it as it tries to manifest the idea that time can only be comprehended by something unmeasurable such as consciousness. One of my personal views and questions to this is why would our consciousness have to follow the arrow of time if these things happen only in our mind?
If the action of me writing this article is only an illusion created by my mind, why can’t I go back to change this exact sentence in the future? This is where biocentrism fails to explain time or a replacement of time. I must agree with biocentrism in the retrospective that it is very hard to grasp life without taking into consideration time as a measurement of life.
Could life be as simple as once you die you “respawn” just like a video game character in a similar “timeline” just within a different body? Or is this also an illusion created by a pre-determined culture? When biocentrism argues that death is only an illusion, it refers to the idea that our consciousness will never die, it only moves forward, but if time doesn’t exist, what laws bound it to only move forward?
If Aristotle is correct with his theory of fatalism, then does the world have a predetermined end? Biocentrism agrees that the universe had a beginning, but the evolution of the universe was affected by life and we are only at the beginning of shaping the universe. Space and time are seen by biocentrism as tools used by our minds to weave everything together.
As Plato has defined in his writing, time is like an empty container in which anything you place won’t ever affect it. Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) on the other hand argues that time is affected by actions and therefore it exists as these changes in time can be measured. For example, the day keeps slowly but surely getting longer, right now a full day is 23 hours and 56 minutes.
In the ideology of biocentrism, the time of day can be as long as we want it to be because it is an illusion in our minds. Humanity created time only to measure how long it survives on Earth. The association between death and time is made because without death there is no need to measure time, therefore no need for time.
The idea that time is simply too complicated for science to be able at this moment in time to explain seems like an obsolete statement based on how much science has achieved in the past 20 years within the field of physics. I think time is something that we cannot simply comprehend due to the logic of our minds.
Taking into consideration well-known ancient philosophy, if time and death were truly an illusion, then life would be infinite and we would all be immortals living eternally.