Review Observer (2023, Robert Lanza, Nancy Kress)

“You are the observer. You create the universe every day, every hour, every nano-second. Everything that can exist, will exist, somewhere, including your beloved dead. They can once again be alive, walking around, solid as the chair you sit in now, solid as this book you hold in your hand.”

In the new science fiction novel ‘Observer’ – written by an actual scientist and a sci-fi writer – the mindblowing implications of quantum mechanics are taken to the next level.

The scientist is Robert Lanza, who in 2009 published his masterpiece ‘Biocentrism’, a non-fiction book about his theory based solely on science that concludes that life and consciousness create the universe, not the other way around. The writer is American science fiction author Nancy Kress, who won several awards for her work, which includes ‘After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall’ and ‘Fountain of Age’.

In ‘Biocentrism’, and its sequels ‘Beyond Biocentrism’ and ‘The Grand Biocentric Design’, Lanza explained how observers (humans and other animals) create physical reality. Without observers, the universe (spacetime and matter) would remain in a state of superposition. Being alive means you are collapsing wavefunctions and you are transforming a cloud of probabilities into one manifest reality.

The premise of ‘Observer’ is that this is indeed how reality works, and a group of scientists has developed new technology which changes the algorithms by which the brain processes information. This enables the characters to create alternative branches of the universe in which their deceased loved ones can once again be alive.

It happens often that new scientific views are communicated to the general public through popular culture. ‘Biocentrism’ has not yet transformed the mainstream scientific view that sees the universe as a huge space filled with marbles that accidentally also contains life and consciousness. ‘Observer’ is a solid attempt to translate the ideas of ‘Biocentrism’ into a compelling science fiction story. It was a smart move to team up with a writer because it has believable characters and reads like a bullet train.

One of the characters is physicist George Weigert who is basically a fictionalized version of Lanza himself. It is he who has developed the biocentric theory which he calls ‘the primacy of the observer’. His main motivation to do it is to see his dead wife Rose again. The main character is surgeon Caroline Soames-Walkins who joins the team on Cayman Brac to perform the operations needed to install the brain-chips that participants need in order to create other branches of the universe. She remains in doubt the whole time about the project and suspects that what the participants see is just an elaborate hallucination. What could convince her of the truth?

The book contains many of the same explanations that ‘Biocentrism’ first pioneered about the true nature of space, time and reality. Sometimes, they have characters explain these concepts in a way that’s not entirely believable. It is obviously Lanza talking. But this is a minor critique. What ‘Observer’ does very well is explaining real, revolutionary science in an understandable way. This doesn’t mean it becomes easy, because as Lanza has pointed out many times; language is a limited tool when it comes to explaining fundamental truths like the illusion of time.

Luckily, you don’t have to fully understand all the science to enjoy the story. If observers indeed create reality, this opens up many staggering possibilities. Some of these are explored in this book, but the writers didn’t overdo it. There is definitely a sequel suspended in superposition in which the future possibilities are explored further. Perhaps ‘Creator’ is a suitable title for this sequel?

Read also
Thinking, Fast & Slow; Dialogues on Reality (1)
Sunday Morning, 9 A.M.; Dialogues on Reality (2)

The Metaphysics of X-Men

In what type of universe do the X-Men live? I would argue it’s a mental one, since that is the only way we can explain some of their super powers. Most notably professor X (telepathy), Magneto (manipulating metal, a form of telekinesis) and Jean Grey (both telepathy and telekinesis).

These powers wouldn’t work in a material universe, in which each person has a personal mind created by the brain. How would professor X be able to enter every mind on earth using his super computer Cerebro if all minds were separate entities that were closed off from one another? Same for the powers of Jean Grey and Magneto. Since they are able to move objects with their minds, that must mean that in their universe there is a fundamental connection on a deep level between their mentality and objects made of both organic and non-organic matter. Only a field of mind underlying reality would make these abilities possible.

The metaphysics of most scientists today is materialism or physicalism, in which the mental powers applied by these mutants would be impossible to explain. But why have this discussion at all? There is no proof of telepathy and telekinesis whatsoever right? Not quite. Psi-researcher Dean Radin and others in this field have provided a lot of proof for the existence of these powers. However, they are not exactly in the same league as Magneto who, in one of the X-Men movies, is able to lift an entire football stadium with his mind alone and carry it across the sky.

Parapsychologist Radin supports the mental universe worldview and has undertaken some interesting experiments to support it using a random-number generator. A random-number generator converts random events of radioactive decay into random arrays of zeros and ones with the aid of a computer. Radin took these random-number generators to locations where people were meditating. He found that, in the presence of meditators, the behavior of random number generators became significantly more non-random than was statistically expected.

Radin suggested that the random-number generator should deviate maximally from randomness in the presence of coherent intentions. And he verified this idea, not only with people in meditation setting, but also with people watching the Super Bowl. In those situations, Radin found that intention indeed caused deviation from randomness. In situations where people were scatterbrained and not particularly intending anything, the random-number generators behaved normally. For example, in the corporate boardroom or at a university faculty meeting, random-number generators really generated random arrays of zeros and ones. In the meditation halls, they didn’t. This supports the new view of quantum physics that conscious intention affects outcomes(*1).

Radin also confirmed the existence of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) and psychokinesis. He combined the lab results of countless studies on these parapsychological phenomena and showed in the end that the results were far too strong (up to millions to one) to be coincidence. These studies were designed very carefully so that there was no doubt that the effects would have come about in a different way. Tests that were in doubt have been removed from the results and the results were still very convincing(*2).

In short, many experiments in psi-research and also in quantum mechanics confirm that we are living in a X-Men universe. Fictional are the mutations and the extreme level of the mental abilities, but in principle these abilities are not impossible if indeed the universe is entirely mental and matter is secondary to mind. The question then becomes: what feature or function (in our brains) stops us from being great telepaths? I have to ask professor X next time I mentally connect with him.

The X-Men Films From Worst To Best
10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
09. The Wolverine (2013)
08. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
07. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
06. X-Men 3: The Last Stand (2006)
05. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
04. X-Men (2000)
03. X-Men: First Class (2011)
02. X2 (2003)
01. Logan (2017)




*1 Goswami, A. The Everything Answer Book: How Quantum Science Explains Love, Death, and the Meaning of Life. Newburyport, Massachusetts: Hampton Roads Publishing, 2017

*2 Radin, D. The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1997

Review ‘The Grand Biocentric Design’

In 2017 I read the most important book of my lifetime: Biocentrism (2009) by renowned scientists Robert Lanza and Bob Berman. It deserves to have an impact at least as great as Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in the 17th century. And the main message is very similar: space and time are tools of the animal mind. Only how the authors reach their conclusions is different. Kant by brilliant philosophical reasoning. Lanza by backing up these insights by evidence from modern physics and astronomy.

In this third entry in the Biocentrism series (after Biocentrism and Beyond Biocentrism), Lanza wisely added a physicist to his writing team: Matej Pavšič. Also, there is no longer a reference from Deepak Chopra on the cover like there was on the previous books. This ‘name-dropping’ was understandable from the publisher’s position: Chopra can definitely add to the commercial success of any book that challenges the materialistic paradigm. But the science minded crowd is already extremely skeptical of any reference made to consciousness in relation to physics. So, the authors will have to be as credible as they can be to persuade the ones that may be persuaded.

I was already convinced by the first book. Not because of the credentials of the authors – that are extremely impressive – but because of the arguments presented. In the years after reading the mind blowing revelations of the first Biocentrism book, I tried to find counter arguments, but never found them. At least not arguments that cannot be easily refuted (which in this book, the authors do in one of the appendixes). Lanza and his co-authors successfully make their scientific perspective totally compatible with the findings of quantum mechanics and other unsolved mysteries of science.

The core of biocentrism is that consciousness is equivalent to reality itself. It is absolutely fundamental and cannot be reduced. If we accept this fact, everything falls into place. Quantum mechanics reveals that the physical world arises not from interactions, but the awareness of interactions. The mind computes the where and the when objects appear in relation to the observer. An observer with a functioning brain and memory is therefore crucial for the universe to be there. These authors make the case completely obvious.

The first two books were an exploration of how science in the past hundred years has been steadily moving towards this paradigm shattering realization. That conscious life and the cosmos are one and the same and cannot be separated. In the third book Lanza and his co-authors go further to explain how the mind manages the impressive feat of creating reality. The subject matter is complex, but through lucid writing the authors manage to make these ideas understandable for a wide audience.

Also some previously unexplored scientific topics are looked at through biocentric glasses, like Libet’s famous free will experiments that get a completely different interpretation than the usual ‘we are our brains’. They also offer fascinating insights on topics like animal consciousness and dreams. It is really great stuff.

Towards the end, Lanza and co give the readers a good sense of how this new perspective may impact science and what spectacular possibilities it offers for future science. Time travel is just one of them. Lanza and his co-authors did it again. They further improved my understanding of this ’mental thing’ that we’re all a part of. But no matter how much one reads about it or meditates on it, it remains mind-bending stuff. If you want to learn why the exploration of the universe must start within ourselves, this is your definitive guide.

⟿ Jeppe Kleijngeld, January 2021

Thinking, Fast & Slow; Dialogues on Reality (1)

By J.H. Kash

I was on my way to Vegas for a conference on quantum mechanics and the nature of reality with the famous Dr. Lanza. He was driving our fire red convertible as we discussed the difference between mind and brain.

“If the mind is not the brain, then what is it?” I asked.
“The mind is that which experiences. That which perceives. By definition, that means it cannot perceive itself”, he answered.
“But here’s the problem”, I objected. “How can it do anything if it is not physical? You say it’s some sort of super turbine creating reality as we know it.”
“Right. So if it is an engine, but it’s not made of anything, then how can it function? And this is not just me asking, but anyone being skeptical of the mind being anything other than the brain.”
He took a sip of his coffee.
“You ask good questions, Kash. You see, the mind is part of the non-local domain, that is powered by zero point energy. That is energy so powerful a teaspoonful could easily blow Nevada to smithereens. This mind field also possesses phenomenality. Because of this energy, of which we cannot even comprehend how powerful it is, it can create worlds without breaking a sweat. Including our world.”
“You’re a fucking lunatic”, I said. “I love it.”

“So how do you look at this mind-at-large concept?” I continued. “That what we experience is merely a fragment of the potential mind that encapsulates the cosmos?”
“It makes perfect sense. If the brain localises the consciousness to the body, it means it only uses a insignificantly small piece of the mind power that exists.”
“Many people who’ve had near-death experiences say they experienced this mind-at-large. When their consciousness was temporarily detached from their brain, due to say… cardiac arrest, they all of a sudden understood… quantum mechanics.”
“That’s very possible. The brain slows our thought processes way down to accommodate our experience on earth. Would we be in a different dimension, our conscious experience could be entirely different. Perhaps unbounded, completely free from filters.”
“Imagine that.”
“We can’t. Our slow brains normally prevent us from experiencing that.”
“Let’s drop some acid then.”
He laughed. “Yeah, let’s.”

Fragment from what might one day become a novel called ObserverWorld. Right now it merely exists in the ocean of possibilities we call the quantum realm. But it might be in the future manifested by a number of conscious agents, including me, Lanza and you dear readers.