Adapted from Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death, by Robert Lanza with Bob Berman (BenBella Books 2016). In the modern prevailing view of the cosmos, we sit here as tiny unimportant specks of protoplasm, flukes of nature, and stare out into an almost limitless void. Vast nameless tracts of emptiness …

Adapted from Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death, by Robert Lanza with Bob Berman (BenBella Books 2016). In the popular movie “Avatar,” humans mine a lush moon inhabited by blue-skinned extraterrestrials, the Na’vi, who live in harmony with nature. Human military forces destroy their habitat despite objections that it could …

Here we tell you what happens after you’re dead. Seriously. Okay, it’s not so serious, because you won’t actually die. To lay the groundwork, let’s recap the scientific view of death: essentially, you drop dead and that’s the end of everything. This is the view favoured by intellectuals who pride themselves on being stoic and …

The reality of the soul is among the most important questions of life. Although religions go on and on about its existence, how do we know if souls really exist? A string of new scientific experiments helps answer this ancient spiritual question. The idea of the soul is bound up with the idea of a …

Stephen Hawking recently said we should be very wary of developing “full artificial intelligence” as it “could spell the end of the human race.” His doomsday musings were hardly original. SpaceX’s Elon Musk had said the same thing earlier the same year, warning that it’s “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” The idea of computers possessing …

Somewhere around the age of seven, most kids ask uncomfortable questions. Is there an end to the universe? How did I get here? Some children, perhaps after a pet hamster has passed away, also start to worry about death. A few venture even more deeply. They know they’ve come into a world that seems complex …

We Are All Truly One

A New Scientific Ethics

There is no ethics or morality associated with the current scientific worldview. However, in time biocentrism may lead to an ethics not unlike the one the Na’vi had in the movie Avatar. Of course, the impact of a new paradigm takes time. The more people understand the basic premise, the more humanistic society’s inclinations will be.

We think there is an enclosing wall, a circumference to us. We suppose ourselves to be a pond, and if there is any justice it must approach upon these shores. However, there are consequences to our actions that transcend our ordinary, classical way of thinking. Biocentrism explains the union that the one man and creature have with the other.

Space and time are not the hard, cold walls we think. Our individual separateness is an illusion. Ultimately, we are all melted together, parts of a single entity that transcends space and time. The criminal and the victim are one and the same, not in our external embodiments but in our inner being. Justice is built into the very fabric of nature. Make no mistake about it: it will be you who looks out the eyes of the victim or the recipient of kindness – whichever you choose. Nature’s justice is inescapable and absolute.

As I left my house this morning, I saw a robin fly into a nearby bush with a worm in her mouth. We humans aren’t much different, really; we also evolved as hunters to feed our families and young. However, along the way we used our increased brain capacity to make guns and ICBMs and to wage war with each other. And not just with each other. Indeed, a new study showed that humanity is responsible for the loss of over fourth-fifths of all the wild mammals that populated the earth.

Science’s assumption of a dumb random universe, in which life arose by chance, has had the effect of isolating us from the world. This, together with the growing abandonment of religion has led to a sense that, in a cosmos ruled by accidents rather than by plan and/or perfection, we humans need to exploit the environment and grab what we can. It has set up an antagonistic outlook: Man against nature.

The current paradigm has proven more than merely incapable of providing any picture of reality that makes sense. It has also fundamentally alienated us from nature. The acceptance of biocentrism will have a positive psychological outcome on changing this mindset. Of course, truly seeing the reality that we are one with nature and not apart from it, that consciousness is correlative with the cosmos, immediately helps ameliorate our war with the environment.

Biocentrism shows that there are consequences to our actions that transcend our ordinary, classical way of thinking. Emerson was right: “Every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty.”

I remember a warm night in the summer, sitting out fishing in the pond. Now and then, I could feel the vibrations along the line linking me with the life prowling about the bottom. At length I pulled some bass, squeaking and gasping into the air. It was remarkable with what innocence I sat there. It was an epistemological puzzle to feel a tug, and to be conscious at the same time of a part of me that, as it were, wasn’t a part of me, but scale and fin, circling the hook, slow to strike. I was sensible of a certain doubleness as I grappled with the implications of quantum theory.

Surely, this is what Spinoza meant when he contended that consciousness can’t exist simply in space and time, and at the same time is aware of the interrelations of all parts of space and time. In order to have knowledge of a pout or a pickerel, I must have somehow been identical with them.

How can this be, you ask? How is it managed, that for real experiments with electrons, that a single particle can be at two places at once? See the loon in the pond or the North Star? How deceptive is the space that separates them and makes them solitary. Aren’t they the subjects of the same reality that interested John Bell, the physicist who proposed the experiment that once and for all answered the question of whether what happens locally is affected by nonlocal events?

Experiments from 2007 to 2021 have shown that this is indeed the case; in one recent study, entangled particles were sent zooming along optical fibers until they were seven miles apart. But whatever action they took, the communication between them happened instantaneously (faster than the speed of light). This is what Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” Today no one doubts the connectedness between bits of light or matter, or even entire clusters of atoms. They’re intimately linked in a manner suggesting there’s no space between them, and no time influencing their behavior.

In the same way, there is a part of us that is connected to the fish in the pond. It is the part that experiences consciousness, not in our external embodiments but in our inner being. We can only imagine and recollect things while in the body, for sensations and memories are molded into knowledge and thought in the brain. And although we identify ourselves with our thoughts and affections, it’s an essential feature of reality that we experience the world piece by piece, as, for instances, each of the fish that I caught that summer.

Everything you experience is a whirl of information occurring in your head; according to Biocentrism, space and time are simply the mind’s tools for putting it all together. However solid and real the walls of space and time have come to look, there is a part of us that is no more human than it is animal – even the fish, sporting there in the pond, a part of us unwittingly tempted by a bunch of worms strung on a thread.

As parts of such a whole there is natural justice. The bird and the prey are one. This was the world that confronted me there by the pond that warm summer night. From the shore, I could see the shiners dimpling the water with their tails in the moonlight. A bug furrowed the water, making a conspicuous ripple, which the fishes darted at. Only two diverging lines stood between them and natural justice.

Surely, you say, this solipsism is a work of the imagination. “Lanza and the modern anthropics,” a respondent once wrote, “like to imagine humans in the place of Berkeley’s God, using some smart quantum theory to bolster their opinions” (New Scientist, Feb 23, 1991). We are sure we are not connected to the fish in the pond, for they have scales and fin and we do not have any.

The situation is not unlike the one Alice found herself in Wonderland. “‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar. Alice replied, “I—I hardly know, Sir… ‘Who in the World am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle! …‘I’m sure I’m not Ada,’ she said, ‘For her hair goes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn’t go in ringlets at all; and I’m sure I can’t be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh, she knows such a very little. Besides, she’s she, and I’m I, and—oh dear, how puzzling it all is!”

“Non-separability,” Bernard d’Espagnat said, “is now one of the most certain general concepts in physics.”

However, this is not to say that our minds, like the particles in Bell’s experiment, are linked in any way that can violate the laws of causality. We may imagine two detectors situated on opposite sides of the universe, with photons from some central source flying off to each of them. If an experimenter changed the polarization of one beam, he might instantaneously influence events 20-to 60 billion light-years away. But no information can possibly be transmitted from point A to point B, or from one experimenter to another through this process.

The walls of time and space are a subjective condition of our understanding. We think there is an enclosing wall, a circumference to us. We suppose ourselves to be a pond; and if there is any consequence to our actions, if there’s any justice, it must approach upon these shores. Yet, Bell’s experiment suggests otherwise. “Men esteem truth remote,” wrote Thoreau, “in the outskirts of the system, behind the farthest star, before Adam and after the last man…. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.” Sitting along the shore of the pond that night, I sensed the union that the one man (or creature) has with the other. The fox and the hare, the criminal and the victim, are one and the same.

Justice is built into the fabric of nature. Make no mistake about it: it will be you who looks out the eyes of the victim or the recipient of kindness — whichever you choose. Nature’s justice is inescapable and absolute.

This is therefore the indispensable prelude to justice, and its highest form; we are forced to recall the words of the English poet John Donne, “Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Science is just beginning to grasp the non-linear dimensionality of nature. Heinz Pagels, the esteemed physicist, once stated “If you deny the objectivity of the world, unless you observe it and are conscious of it (as most physicists have), then you end up with solipsism – the belief that your consciousness is the only one.”

This may not unsettle you, except perhaps on a warm moonlit night with a fish gasping for life at the end of your rod. I knew then, at that moment, that Pagel’s conclusion was right. Only it was not my consciousness that was the only one, it was ours. According to biocentrism, our individual separateness is an illusion. Remember the words of Omar, who “never called the One two,” and of the old Hindu poem: “Know in thyself and All one self-same soul; banish the dream that sunders part from whole.”

There is no doubt; that consciousness which was behind the youth I once was, was also behind the mind of every animal and person existing in space and time. “There are,” wrote Loren Eiseley, noted anthropologist, “very few youths today who will pause, coming from a biology class, to finger a yellow flower or poke in friendly fashion at a sunning turtle on the edge of the campus pond, and who are capable of saying to themselves, ‘We are all one – all melted together.’”

Yes, I thought, all life is truly one. I let the fish go. With a thrash of the tail, I disappeared into the pond.

What Happens When You Die? Evidence Suggests Time Simply Reboots

What happens when we die? Do we rot into the ground, or do we go to heaven (or hell, if we’ve been bad)? Experiments suggest the answer is simpler than anyone thought. Without the glue of consciousness, time essentially reboots.

The mystery of life and death can’t be examined by visiting the Galapagos or looking through a microscope. It lies deeper. It involves our very selves. We awake in the present. There are stairs below us that we appear to have climbed; there are stairs above us that go upward into the unknown future. But the mind stands at the door by which we entered and gives us the memories by which we go about our day. Everything is ordered and predictable. We’re like cuckoo birds who appear through a door each morning. We fancy there’s a clockwork set in motion at the beginning of time.

But if you remove everything from space, what’s left? Nothing. The same applies for time — you can’t put it in a jar. You can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain (everything you experience is information in your mind). Biocentrism tells us space and time aren’t objects — they’re the mind’s tools for putting everything together.

I was a young boy when I realized there was something unexplainable about life that I simply didn’t understand. I learned this from one of the last smiths in New England, when I, as a child, tried to capture a woodchuck on his property.

Over his shop a chimney cap went round and round, squeak, squeak, rattle, rattle. One day the blacksmith came out with his shotgun and blew it off. The noise stopped. Mr. O’Donnell pounded metal on his anvil all day. No, I thought, I didn’t want to be caught by him. Yet, I had my purpose.

The woodchuck’s hole was in such close proximity to Mr. O’Donnell’s shop that I could hear the bellows fanning his forge. I crawled noiselessly through the long grass, occasionally stirring a grasshopper or a butterfly. After setting a new steel trap that I had just purchased at the hardware store, I took a stake and, rock in hand, pounded it into the ground. When I looked up, I saw Mr. O’Donnell standing there, his eyes glaring. I said nothing, trying to restrain myself from crying. “Give me that trap, child,” he said, “and come with me.”

I followed him into his shop, which was crammed with all manner of tools and chimes of different shapes and sounds hanging from the ceiling. Starting the forge, Mr. O’Donnell tossed the trap over the coals and a tiny flame appeared underneath, getting hotter until, with a puff it burst into flame. “This thing can injure dogs, and even children!” he said, poking the coals with a fork. When the trap was red hot, he took it from the forge, and pounded it into a little square with his hammer. He said nothing while the metal cooled. At length, he patted me upon the shoulder, and then took up a few sketches of a dragonfly. “I tell you what,” he said. “I’ll give you 50 cents for every dragonfly you catch.” I said that would be fun, and when I parted I was so excited I forgot about my new trap.

The next day I set off with a butterfly net. The air was full of insects, the flowers with bees and butterflies. But I didn’t see any dragonflies. As I floated through the last of the meadows, the spikes of a cattail attracted my attention. A huge dragonfly was humming round and round, and when at last I caught it, I hopped and skipped all the way back to Mr. O’Donnell’s shop. Taking a magnifying glass, he held the jar up to the light and made a careful study of the dragonfly. He fished out a number of rods, and with a little pounding, wrought a splendorous figurine that was the perfect image of the dragonfly. It had about it a beauty as airy as the delicate insect.

As long as I live I will remember that day. And though Mr. O’Donnell is gone now, there still remains in his shop that little iron dragonfly — covered with dust now — to remind me there’s something more elusive to life than the succession of shapes we see frozen into matter.

Before he died, Einstein said “Now Besso [an old friend] has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us … know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” In fact, it was Einstein’s theory of relativity that showed that space and time are indeed relative to the observer. Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. But if the world is observer-created, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s destroyed with each of us. Nor should we be surprised that space and time vanish, and with them all Newtonian conceptions of order and prediction.

It’s here at last, where we approach the imagined border of ourselves, the wooded boundary where in the old fairy tale the fox and the hare say goodnight to each other. At death, we all know, consciousness is gone, and so too the continuity in the connection of times and places. Where then, do we find ourselves? On stairs that, like Emerson said, can be intercalated anywhere, “like those that Hermes won with the dice of the moon, that Osiris might be born.” We think that the past is past and the future the future. But as Einstein realized, this simply isn’t the case.

Without consciousness, space and time are nothing; in reality you can take any time — whether past or future — as your new frame of reference. Death is a reboot that leads to all potentialities. That’s the reality that the experiments mandate. And when I see Mr. O’Donnell’s old shop, I know that somewhere the chimney cap is still going round and round, squeak, squeak. But it probably won’t rattle for long.