Top positive review
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Bold, brave, and not for the faint hearted.
on 6 August 2015
It is hard to disagree with Lanza's view at the start of this book. He describes the discipline of physics as almost desperate, as it not only fails to answer a number of quite fundamental questions through its theories, but also moulds and manipulates its current theories to fit. String theory and the many-worlds theory being two that have been concocted - without any evidence to back them up - in order to explain the current order of things. Of course, by its very nature science is always changing and many theories are updated with new evidence. However, as Lanza rightly says, most new theories in physics that seek to do some explaining can not be shown through experimentation and remain just ideas on paper. Perhaps they may not always be so, but they are as I type.
So Lanza attempts to put forward the theory of Biocentrism as an improved perspective that answers the questions physics slowly backs away from. And, it must be said, he largely succeeds. He argues very convincingly that the notions of space and time can be done away with and from here, moves on to the famous double slit experiment which exposes quantum weirdness and then some. That physics cannot explain this weirdness and Biocentrism can is what makes it so convincing. However, where Lanza was heading for victory, he soon - for me at least - engineered his own defeat. The latter half of the book becomes a little too 'hippy' for me, speaking as it does of Eastern philosophies and a universal 'one-ness'. I found these things a little hard to take, as I felt it shifted the book from a bold attempt at explaining a new theory, to just another book trying to link science with idealism. For a scientist with Lanza's background, this was as surprising as it was disappointing.
Another area where Lanza does succeed is in his call for a multi-disciplined approach to science. It is true that science tends to remain rigid in its own perspectives, and that by pooling knowledge more can be gained than by working in our own fields. Fitting human consciousness into a theory on the universe, Lanza has made inroads into a combination of biology and physics. For this he must be applauded. But this book really only touches the surface. Consciousness remains a puzzle to us, and as such the role it plays in our own creation and our reality is still a mystery. The book makes no attempt to explain consciousness and skims the surface of an explanation at best. Regardless, it is to Lanza's credit that he has made it a part of this theory.
I would not buy this book looking for answers. There are plenty of ideas, but nothing that you could say really explains it all. Some of the concepts described are heavy enough to keep you up at night and of course, such things cannot be unlearned. I had previously had a conversation with someone who said time did not exist and was just a 'flat surface'. I did not understand this concept until I read this book and as a result, my thinking about time has changed forever. So approach with caution, especially if you are a newcomer to the double slit experiment, but if you carry an open mind and agree that physics has had its chance and should step to one side, you may get a lot out of this.
I read another review of this book on Amazon which took issue with Lanza stating that once you leave your kitchen, it fails to exist as it is not being observed. The reviewer stated that you could merely leave the room having set up a camera to take a picture every 30 seconds to show that it remained there even without consciousness in it. I think this reviewer relied on time, which is, of course, a human construct. Once the camera is retrieved and the images observed, the kitchen becomes real...in the past. Because time does not exist and everything happens at once, the kitchen is being observed even with no-one observing it, because the observing comes from a person in the future which immediately affects the past. Because there's no such thing as either. And if this paragraph confuses or scares you....perhaps move on to another book.