by Robert Lanza with Bob Berman
Every now and then, a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationships with the world. “If the earth were really round,” it was argued, “Then the people at the bottom would fall off.” For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure.
Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this new paradigm, life is not just an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics.
Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe—our own—from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism shatters the reader’s ideas of life, time and space, and even death. At the same time, it releases us from the dull worldview that life is merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.
Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Robert Lanza’s essay “A New Theory of the Universe,” on which Biocentrism is based:
Like “A Brief History of Time” it is indeed stimulating and brings biology into the whole. Any short statement does not do justice to such a scholarly work. Almost every society of mankind has explained the mystery of our surroundings and being by invoking a god or group of gods. Scientists work to acquire objective answers from the infinity of space or the inner machinery of the atom. Lanza proposes a biocentrist theory which ascribes the answer to the observer rather than the observed. The work is a scholarly consideration of science and philosophy that brings biology into the central role in unifying the whole. The book will appeal to an audience of many different disciplines because it is a new way of looking at the old problem of our existence. Most importantly, it makes you think.” —E. Donnall Thomas, 1990 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine
“It is genuinely an exciting piece of work…. The idea that consciousness creates reality has quantum support … and also coheres with some of the things biology and neuroscience are telling us about the structures of our being. Just as we now know that the sun doesn’t really move but we do (we are the active agents), so [it is] suggesting that we are the entities that give meaning to the particular configuration of all possible outcomes we call reality.” —Ronald Green, director of Dartmouth College’s Ethics Institute
“Robert Lanza, a world-renowned scientist who has spanned many fields from drug delivery to stem cells to preventing animal extinction, and clearly one of the most brilliant minds of our times, has done it again. ‘A New Theory of the Universe’ takes into account all the knowledge we have gained over the last few centuries … placing in perspective our biologic limitations that have impeded our understanding of greater truths surrounding our existence and the universe around us. This new theory is certain to revolutionize our concepts of the laws of nature for centuries to come.” —Anthony Atala, internationally recognized scientist and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
From the Paperback
“An extraordinary mind . . . Having interviewed some of the most brilliant minds in the scientific world, I found Dr. Robert Lanza’s insights into the nature of consciousness original and exciting. His theory of biocentrism is consistent with the most ancient traditions of the world which say that consciousness conceives, governs, and becomes a physical world. It is the ground of our Being in which both subjective and objective reality come into existence.” —Deepak Chopra, Bestselling Author (heralded by Time magazine as one of the top heroes and icons of the century).
“This is a brave new book. Instead of placing life as an accidental byproduct, the authors place life at the apex of universal existence and purpose. It is a very thrilling and disturbing read. While the proposals made in Biocentrism seem radical and counter-intuitive at first, a bit of reflection will soon make the images clearer and place us on the pathway to a better and more commonsensical mindset” —Michael Gooch, Author of Wingtips and Spurs
“. . . both interesting and worth the effort of reading it . . . From the way Lanza chooses to present his arguments, it’ss clear he has a solid grasp on esoteric disciplines . . . His style is conversational and his sense of wonder is as infectious as it is delightful.” —Midwest Book Review
From Other Scientists
“It’s a masterpiece — truly a magnificent essay. Bob Lanza is to be congratulated for a fresh and highly erudite look at the question of how perception and consciousness shape reality and common experience. His monograph combines a deep understanding and broad insight into 20th century physics and modern biological science; in so doing, he forces a reappraisal of this hoary epistemological dilemma. Not all will agree with the proposition he advances, but most will find his writing eminently readable and his arguments both convincing and challenging. Bravo” —Michael Lysaght, Professor of Medical Science and Engineering, Brown University and Director of Brown’s Center for Biomedical Engineering
“As an astrophysicist, I focus my attention on objects that are very large and very far away, ignoring the whole issue of consciousness as a critical part of the Universe. Reading Robert Lanza’s work is a wake-up call to all of us that even on the grandest scale we still depend on our minds to experience reality. Issues of “quantum weirdness” do have a place in the macroscopic world. Time and space do depend on perception. We can go about our daily lives and continue to study the physical Universe as if it exists as an objective reality (because the probabilities allow that degree of confidence), but we do so with a better awareness of an underlying biological component, thanks to Dr. Lanza.” —David Thompson, Astrophysicist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“Biomedical researcher Robert Lanza has been on the frontier of cloning and stem cell studies for more than a decade, so he’s well-acclimated to controversy. But his book Biocentrism is generating controversy on a different plane by arguing that our consciousness plays a central role in creating the cosmos. ‘By treating space and time as physical things, science picks a completely wrong starting point for understanding the world,’ Lanza declares. Any claim that space and time aren’t cold, hard, physical things has to raise an eyebrow. . .Other physicists point out that Lanza’s view is fully in line with the perspective from quantum mechanics that the observer plays a huge role in how reality is observed.” —Alan Boyle, Science Editor, MSNBC
“So what Lanza says in this book is not new. Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do not say it—or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private—furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!’” —Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
“One of the most interesting books to cross my desk this summer was Biocentrism, written by Dr. Robert Lanza, who is probably best known for his groundbreaking work with stem cells. The book is an out-and-out challenge to modern physics. I found the attack on physics to be pretty compelling” —Eric Berger, Science Editor, Houston Chronicle
“Now that I have spent a fair amount of time the last few months doing a bit of writing, reading and thinking about this, and enjoying it and watching it come into better focus,
And as I go deeper into my Zen practice,
And as I am about half way through re-reading Biocentrism,
My conclusion about the book Biocentrism is:
Holy shit, that’s a really great book! —Ralph Levinson, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
From visionary physicist Scott Tyson’s new book “The Unobservable Universe”
“I downloaded a digital copy of [biocentrism] in the privacy of my home, where no one could observe my buying or reading such a “New Agey” sort of cosmology book. Now, mind you, my motivation was not all that pure. It was my intention to read the book so I could more effectively refute it like a dedicated physicist was expected to. I consider myself to be firmly and exclusively entrenched in the cosmology camp embodied by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Lisa Randall, Brain Greene, and Edward Witten. After all, you know what Julius Caesar said: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I needed to know what the other camps were thinking so I could better defend my position. It became necessary to penetrate the biocentrism camp.
The book had the completely opposite effect on me. The views that Dr. Lanza presented in this book changed my thinking in ways from which there could never be retreat. Before I had actually finished reading the book, it was abundantly obvious to me that Dr. Lanza’s writings provided me with the pieces of perspective that I had been desperately seeking. Everything I had learned and everything I thought I knew just exploded in my mind and, as possibilities first erupted and then settled down, a completely new understanding emerged. The information I had accumulated in my mind hadn’t changed, but the way I viewed it did –in a really big way.”
Review of Biocentrism by Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University (Journal of Scientific Exploration)
“The heart of [biocentrism], collectively, is correct. On page 15 they say “the animal observer creates reality and not the other way around.” That is the essence of the entire book, and that is factually correct. It is an elementary conclusion from quantum mechanics.
So what Lanza says in this book is not new. Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do NOT say it–or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private–furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!
Bless Robert Lanza for creating this book, and bless Bob Berman for not dissuading friend Robert from going ahead with it. Not that I think Robert Lanza could be dissuaded–this dude doesn’t dissuade! Lanza’s remarkable personal story is woven into the book, and is uplifting. You should enjoy this book, and it should help you on your personal journey to understanding.
Review of Biocentrism by Nick Shindo Street
There are periods when I read from this book every morning, in the same way that I read Song dynasty Ch’an masters like Ta-Hui or Yuan-wu. I read for inspiration and for a much-needed infusion of wonder, in an effort to counterbalance the jaundiced view of life I have just reinforced by scanning the New York Times.
Probably the most remarkable thing for me about this book is that it sounds so much like Nyogen Roshi, the Zen teacher I have been listening to for some 13 years now. This teacher, who has read the book and who has no background in science, has said that the author’s words mirror his own experiences in the practice of zazen as closely as anything he has encountered in a modern writer.
If I had to reduce this book to one statement it would be: My perceptions are reality. They are the only reality I can ever know because the universe is literally in my head; it was born when I was born, it will die when I die. From the common point of view, this is outrageously narcissistic. From the standpoint of neuroanatomy, however, it is indisputable: Everything we perceive is processed within different parts of the brain. In the author’s words, “‘The animal observer creates reality and not the other way around.”
This premise is fleshed out in a number of fascinating ways in the book’s almost 200 pages. The main author, Robert Lanza, works in the field of stem-cell research, but he takes on the same basic issues that have preoccupied the great theoretical physicists of our time. He approaches the subject from a fundamentally different angle – that of consciousness – and does it in a way that is accessible and relevant to people untrained in science.
This insight, no matter how conceptual or superficial, can also serve as the starting point for personal responsibility. If I can be aware that my universe is the only one there is, then maybe I can treat it with more care. And that could potentially make your universe a little better. It is astounding — not to mention humbling — that I appear to be doomed to forget this fact almost every moment of my waking life. Fortunately, I do have the ability to remind myself, and to the degree that I am able to do that (which increases with my own sense of urgency to do so), I get to experience life in a more open, sane and engaging way. In-between these tiny moments of awareness, I have people like Ta-Hui, Yuan-Wu and Dr. Robert Lanza to remind me.
Review of Biocentrism by Eric Berger, Science Editor at the Houston Chronicle
One of the most interesting books to cross my desk this summer was Biocentrism, written by Dr. Robert Lanza, who is probably best known for his groundbreaking work with stem cells.
The book is an out-and-out challenge to modern physics, and its inability to reconcile the fundamental forces of nature and make sense of our universe. Lanza believes that is because physicists fail to take consciousness into account as part of their theories.
As a result he proposes a new theory, biocentrism, that says the universe cannot exist without life and consciousness. The book basically has three components: the attack on physics, the explanation of biocentrism and details about Lanza’s personal life.
I found the attack on physics to be pretty compelling, I’m not yet sure what to make of Lanza’s theories. But they’re certainly worth debate. So I spoke to him last week about the book and I’ve published a transcript of our interview below.
Interview/discussion of Biocentrism with Deepak Chopra
My special guest is Dr. Robert Lanza and his extraordinary mind, I just finished reading his book Biocentrism and I said to myself, “Finally, aha, somebody that I can totally relate to.” The book is Biocentrism it’s in the bookstores and online bookstores. I actually have it on my Kindle because I read it over and over again. Let me just tell you who Dr. Lanza is if you haven’t heard about him and you should have. Dr. Lanza is considered one of the leading scientists in the world, he’s currently chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology and adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has hundreds of publications and inventions and over 20 scientific books. Among them Principles of Tissue Engineering which is recognized as the definite reference in the field. I could go on for a long time giving his credentials.
I had on my show Dr. Michio Kaku who is the person that first described string theory and he’s written a new book called Physics of the Impossible which the Science Channel is going to do a twelve part series on and you know he was basically saying based on what we understand in biophysics and I’m going to come to your take on this later because I agree more with you [Robert Lanza] than with anyone else that I have ever met… what you’re saying right now in your book Biocentrism is that the physical universe would not exist unless there was a consciousness in which it could be conceived, constructed, and came into existence…. you know what you say is just totally music to my ears.
Review of Biocentrism by Colin Gonsalves
Robert Lanza’s concept of Biocentrism is as profound as Copernicus’ heliocentric model was in the 1400s. Lanza postulates that it is life that creates the universe instead of the other way around. He asserts that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, unless you include consciousness (the observer) in the equation. He admits that his theory doesn’t provide all the answers but should serve as a launching pad for future research to explain the inner workings of universe. This topic though difficult for most to comprehend if you are new to this subject is very well written. Lanza’s concept of Biocentrism compared to other theories comes closest to what spiritual masters already know. This is a much better book compared to Stephen Hawking’s ‘The Grand Design’ which I have to admit I didn’t finish due to its extremely dry writing.
Review of Biocentrism by Stephen J. Hage, Midwest Book Review
In this book, Lanza deals with some of the ideas presented by Samuel Avery in Transcendence of the Western Mind. His central thesis is “life creates the universe instead of the other way around.” And, while he doesn’t use the word what his thesis supports is solipsism.
What makes this book both interesting and worth the effort of reading it; is the unique perspective Lanza brings to the subject matter as a physician. Physicians are, by definition, intellectual chimeras because the discipline of medicine is an amalgam of hard science, healing, philosophy, metaphysics and ethics. Each physician must decide what to take and use from that intellectual palette and the decisions they make, in that regard, to a large extent define who they are, how they practice and what kind(s) of relationships they cultivate with patients and colleagues. I know this because I worked with physicians for most of my adult life in hospitals.
From the way he chooses to present his arguments, it’s clear he has a solid grasp of esoteric disciplines like quantum theory, special relativity and particle physics. And what makes his presentation more compelling than other efforts I’ve encountered is his ability and willingness to weave personal experience into the thoughts and ideas presented.
His style is conversational and warm which tends to pull you along through the exposition gently. And his sense of wonder and befuddlement at shop worn enigmas like the double slit experiment, Bell’s theorem, non-locality and Schrödinger’s cat is as infectious as it is delightful….I very much like what Lanza has to say in Biocentrism.