I’ve been doing some reading lately about the role of consciousness in the Universe. Now up is Beyond Biocentrism, by Robert Lanza, one of the world’s most famous scientists. Lanza’s premise is that life is not merely an accidental outcome of a meaningless Universe. Instead, life — and consciousness, are an integral component of the Universe. They are “indispensable cosmic atrributes”.
Lanza explains how quantum physics upended our assumptions about the nature of reality and of observers as merely incidental. Instead, the very act of observing changes the physical behavior of particles in measurable ways. Somehow these particles “know” someone is watching and adjust their behavior accordingly. Other features of the physical world once thought to be fixed and concrete — such as space and time — are actually only meaningful in reference to an observer. They are concepts invented by our minds to help us understand the world.
Lanza’s argument bolsters the idea that the Universe is not simply an arbitrary and meaningless collection of things moving this way and that. Instead, it is fundamentally meaningful. It also reminds us that the true nature of reality is not the mechanical world as we’ve come to understand it since Newton. There is something else in the picture, a true nature we are only beginning to understand.