“What is the role of your presence in this particular time and space?” I asked that question exactly two years ago today in a piece I curated on Biocentrism. It’s a theory that lends a unified view of the foundations of science by turning reality outside-in. In other words, it assumes the primacy of consciousness by asserting that life creates the universe, rather than the other way around.
I can’t say the perspective is entirely “shocking” for me. Partially because I’m stimulated by ideas that conjoin the camps of Science and Religion. I see them both as allies in ensuring the survival of our species. What’s cool about Biocentrism is that we can assume consciousness plays role in shaping our universe. Why is that cool? Well, in case you haven’t noticed, you’re a highly conscious mind with a brain unlike any other. I’d like to think you could make an impact.
You should know the key proponent of Biocentrism is Robert Lanza, a stem cell researcher, who has been so bold to turn the table on physics by suggesting that life doesn’t emerge from matter. Rather than keeping biology and physics separate, his model combines them and places we, the observers, firmly in the equation.
I returned to Biocentrism because of a piece that Howard Rheingold had scooped from Maria Popova’s curation of Christof Koch‘s, In Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. As a neuroscientist, Koch explains he’s a reductionist, because he seeks “quantitative explanations for consciousness in the ceaseless and ever-varied activity of billions of tiny nerve cells, each with their tens of thousands of synapses”. He points out he’s “romantic” in his “insistence that the universe has contrails of meaning that can be deciphered in the sky about us and deep within us”.
Maira says his book explores how “subjective feelings, or consciousness, come into being.” Seems worth noting that how we feel may matter, if we assume the Biocentric view, which I wouldn’t say Koch does, but he is said to bridge philosophy, evolutionary biology and technofuturism to predict a “global Übermind not unlike McLuhan’s “global village,” but one in which our technology melds with what Carl Jung has termed the “collective unconscious” to produce a kind of sentient global brain.”
You see, Koch suggests individual self-awareness is an emergent phenomena of an ongoing complexification that is speeding up and becoming more technologically sophisticated. And here’s the part that really grabbed me:
“I foresee a time when humanity’s teeming billions and their computers will be interconnected in a vast matrix — a planetary Übermind. Provided mankind avoids Nightfall — a thermonuclear Armageddon or a complete environmental meltdown — there is no reason why this web of hypertrophied consciousness cannot spread to the planets and, ultimately, beyond the stellar night to the galaxy at large.”
Most of the content I digest here in the Global Guts blog has something to do with these kinds of stories. I take great pleasure in musing about the “planetary Übermind” from a Biocentric perspective, because it expands our role as observers outward into the universe, where we can become one with the process of creation. I’d like to think it’s rooted in a sincere scientific endeavor that H.G. Wells calls “Constructive Sociology”; or what Peter Russell calls “Psychotechnology”; or what we Nemeticians call Nemetics. But, we needn’t call it anything other than Science, to be frank. ;P