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Beyond Biocentrism / Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death

Beyond Biocentrism Front Book Cover
Biocentrism shocked the world with a radical rethinking of the nature of reality … but that was just the beginning.

In Beyond Biocentrism, acclaimed biologist Robert Lanza, one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014, and leading astronomer Bob Berman, take the reader on an intellectual thrill-ride as they re-examine everything we thought we knew about life, death, the universe and the nature of reality itself.

It starts acknowledging that our existing model of reality is looking increasingly creaky in the face of recent scientific discoveries. Science tells us with some precision that over 95% of the universe is mostly composed of dark matter and dark energy, but must confess that it doesn’t really know what dark matter is, and knows even less about dark energy. Science is increasingly pointing towards an infinite universe, but has no ability to explain what that really means. Concepts such as time, space and even causality are increasingly being demonstrated as meaningless.

All of science is based on information passing through our consciousness, but science doesn’t have a clue what consciousness is. Studies have repeatedly established a clear linkage between subatomic states and observation by conscious observers, but science cannot explain this linkage in any satisfactory way. Biologists describe the origin of life as a random occurrence in a dead universe, but we have no real understanding of how life began, or why the universe appears to be exquisitely designed for the emergence of life.

Biocentrism isn’t a rejection of science. Rather, biocentrism challenges us to fully accept the implications of the latest scientific findings in fields ranging from plant biology and cosmology to quantum entanglement and consciousness.

By listening to what the science is telling us, it becomes increasingly clear that life and consciousness are fundamental to any true understanding of the universe. This forces a fundamental rethinking of everything we thought we knew about life, death, and our place in the universe.

FROM THE BACK COVER

“Robert Lanza and Bob Berman present an audacious program to restore meaning to science—to provide explanations that go deeper than today’s physical theories. Beyond Biocentrism is a joyride through the history of science and cutting-edge physics, all with a very serious purpose: to find the long-overlooked connection between the conscious self and the universe around us.” — Corey S. Powell, former Editor-in-Chief, Discover Magazine

“This intriguing and provocative book will challenge some of what you know and push you into rethinking your view of science — all the while entertaining you with a fast-paced, exhilarating narrative journey.” — David J. Eicher, Editor-in-Chief, Astronomy magazine

Lanza and Berman’s latest statement of their theory of “biocentrism” changes the way we think about age-old religious questions such as the origin of the universe and human immortality. Based on cutting edge work in physics and biology and explained with exceptional clarity, Beyond Biocentrism is must reading for anyone interested in science and religion.” — Ronald M Green, Professor Emeritus for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, and former Chairman of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College

Beyond Biocentrism delves further into the role of the observer and consciousness. It offers a neurobiological point of view to help answer questions about the world around us. Lanza and Berman make the journey towards a better understanding of the role of consciousness and perception. I liked the book quite a lot! It was a fun read.” — Kwang-Soo Kim, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, McLean Hospital

In Beyond Biocentrism, stem cell pioneer Robert Lanza, writing with astronomer Bob Berman, presents a lucid tour de force of his thrilling but controversial theory that consciousness creates reality and the cosmos itself. Will machines ever achieve consciousness? Are plants aware? Is death an illusion? These are some of the big questions tackled in Beyond Biocentrism, which serves up a new, biology-based theory of everything that is as delightful to read as it is fascinating. Tremendously clear and lovely writing — a huge achievement. — Pamela Weintraub, Aeon Magazine, and former Executive Editor of Discover Magazine and Editor-in-Chief of OMNI (Internet/Magazine)

FROM OTHER SCIENTISTS AND WRITERS

“Lanza and Berman employ cutting edge science to rediscover ancient truths about life and death and reconceptualize our very notions of reality and consciousness. Beyond Biocentrism is an enlightening and fascinating journey that will forever alter your understanding of your own existence.” — Deepak Chopra, Bestselling Author (heralded by Time magazine as one of the top heroes and icons of the century)

Beyond Biocentrism is a must read for anyone who has ever wondered where modern science (and the weirdness of relativity and quantum mechanics) is going. What does it all mean? Brilliant and insightful. Few books come along in our lives that change the way we see the world. Beyond Biocentrism is such a book.” — Ralph D Levinson MD, Health Sciences Professor, UCLA

“Lanza and Berman take the reader on a remarkable journey, setting out to prove that there is more to life and existence than we have assumed. They present scientific evidence that makes us re-consider everything we’ve thought to be true about the nature of reality. Beyond Biocentrism is a fascinating and thought-provoking “must-read” book that shows us a new way of looking at the universe and ourselves.” — Anthony Atala, MD, W. H. Boyce Professor, Chairman, and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University

“There are few intellectual endeavors more thrilling than contemplating the role of human consciousness in creating reality and the universe, and Lanza and Berman bring to life the quest for understanding how that can possibly be so. If you know just enough physics to wonder whether the moon is still there when no one is looking at it, and even if you’ve never thought about anything so seemingly preposterous, you’ll have a great time reading Beyond Biocentrism.” — Sharon Begley, Senior Science Writer at Stat, and former Science Editor and Correspondent for Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Reuters

FROM TOP AMAZON ‘VINE VOICE’ REVIEWERS

Eugenia, Amazon VINE VOICE Reviewer

The first thing I must say about this book it that there are not enough stars to describe what a good read this book truly is… I studied physics and can say for myself that I have a mind of a scientist that is (over) loaded with logic. But I am also a yoga teacher and since my father’s death nearly 10 years ago, I have been actively looking for answers about death, immortality and nature of space and time. I read so many books about the topic, I lost count. That was until I came across this book. Authors finally put it all together for me that both my scientific, logical mind and my spiritual mind could put it all together in a manner that it finally all made sense… This book opened my eyes to possibilities that no one has ever presented in such a concise and beautiful way before… it is priceless and I am keeping it as a reference in my library. It has underlining all over the place and I just cannot stop talking about it to everyone I know.

 

… there are not enough stars to describe what a good read this book truly is… it is priceless and I am keeping it as a reference in my library. It has underlining all over the place and I just cannot stop talking about it to everyone I know.”

Mike, Amazon VINE VOICE Reviewer

Beyond Biocentrism is another masterpiece by Robert Lanza… This is a great book that can be appreciated regardless of “spiritual” or “religious” backgrounds (or lack thereof) because it doesn’t try to push any of those concepts (nor does it render them bull$h!t either) so those with spiritual or religious beliefs as well as true atheists can still appreciate what is presented here. The fact is, Lanza is just presenting what has been discovered through the scientific process, not preaching any type of doctrine.

Amazon TOP 500 VINE VOICE Reviewer

Perhaps the highest praise I can give a book is that it is thought provoking and original…so very few books manage one or the other…this does both quite well. Initially the book sounded intriguing (how could it not?) but I feared it would be filled with a lot of new age feel good ideas that were light on substance and heavy on dogma. The author avoided those traps with ease. Instead, the reader is greeted from the earliest pages of the book with some of the limits on what we know…and don’t know…about the universe, time and space. These are not conspiracy theories not do they attempt to negate science – it is simply a statement about the known limits as currently found in science today. Those form the foundation for what could be possible alternative perspectives held throughout history. Once again, the author does not require the reader to put his/her brain on the shelf in order to engage in a bit of mental gymnastics but rather present a compelling presentation to show why certain ideas were originally adopted and why they fell out of favor. Once the reader has found a footing the real fun begins. While it would be unlikely to agree with everything presented, it would also be a rare reader that didn’t leave with a few new ideas, thoughts or considerations in mind. Very engaging, reader friendly, original and thought provoking.

L.M. Keefer, Amazon TOP 500 VINE VOICE Reviewer
FIVE STARS ‒ Wow!

If the last time you picked up a book on physics you read about string theory, you will be surprised that the physics world has moved on. Biocentrism is a new focus. I never took physics – which my husband reminds me when I hang up his pants incorrectly (he hangs them up now) – but am fascinated by the deep metaphysical questions as to clues to how we are supposed to live our life. What matters? What are the laws governing the universe, and what are their implications for us? This book can be a page-turner if you are interested in those topics. I understood about 80% of it on a first read. It’s narrated in an amusing, let-me-let-you-in-on-the-latest-discoveries-and-what-they-could-mean style. One critic called the style infectious, and that’s an apt description. … Loved this book – very provocative in a good way and quite readable even for folks who don’t understand physics well enough to hang up a pair of pants correctly.

FROM OTHER AMAZON REVIEWERS

By Jennifer, Amazon Reviewer

Finally. Something that makes sense of it all!!! Every page is MIND BLOWING … I started to try to bookmark and highlight as I was reading, but I realized I was doing it with every page! It’s just that amazing. Every page has another revelation. Science has always been my “religion” but I think this might be my new “Bible” if you will.

By Dmitry Shamenkov, Amazon Reviewer
By Yooper7, Amazon Reviewer
FIVE STARS ‒ A Life Changer!!

One of the most enlightening books I’ve ever read. Life changing is not a stretch with this one.

By Daniel, Amazon Reviewer
FIVE STARS ‒ A Work of Genius!
By Tron Enger, Amazon Reviewer
FIVE STARS ‒ Beyond belief
By R Sridhar, Amazon Reviewer
FIVE STARS ‒ Brilliant

That was the most poignant and comprehensive account of modern physics in a long time. The earliest I could recall was the book by Stephen Hawking – A Brief History of Time. But this treatment is more comprehensive, considered several aspects and Disciplines in unravelling the greatest mysteries in science … I wish I could articulate this better, but never mind – just read this book!!!!

By Bask In My Awesomeness, Amazon VINE VIOCE Reviewer

This is a great book that can be appreciated regardless of “spiritual” or “religious” backgrounds (or lack thereof) because it doesn’t try to push any of those concepts (nor does it render them bull$h!t either) so those with spiritual or religious beliefs as well as true atheists can still appreciate what is presented here. The fact is, Lanza is just presenting what has been discovered through the scientific process, not preaching any type of doctrine.

By John Knapp, Amazon Reviewer

First, let me say that I write as a Christian, one who takes the Bible very seriously. And second, this is not a Christian book, nor does it purport to be. That said, let me begin. I am still very serious about science and especially “up-to-date” science–real science that takes experimental evidence seriously and reports it honestly. With a background in science ed (PhD) I firmly believe that mind had to precede matter as philosopher Kurt Ward does, and as Lanza strongly implies, though he doesn’t say it quite that way. While gently brushing aside “New Ageism,” he builds his theory on the foundation of brand-new quantum theory research telling us, in a whimsical and easy-to-follow way, what science can demonstrate–and, sometimes, he offers quantum activities that the reader can duplicate for himself. This book is a great–and readable–review of quarks and such, as well as atomic theory, electromagnetism, gravity (another mystery), and other forces. Even more, this can be read, and reread, in small pieces. You can easily put it down and pick it up again.

This book, and Lanza’s earlier, BIOCENTRISM, are favorites on my electronic bookshelf.

By Deetro, Amazon Reviewer

Make note of this name Lanza, because this is the most accurate view of the universe or (theory of everything) I’ve come across. Unfortunately this won’t be popular until 100 years from now. As a society, we’re not enlightened enough to understand most of what’s here.

From Beyond Biocentrism

Reality Figure graphic image from the Beyond Biocentrism book

Reality is an active process that always involves our consciousness. Everything we see and experience is a whirl of information occurring in our minds, shaped by algorithms (represented here by digital 0s and 1s) that create brightness, depth, and a sense of time and space. Even in dreams, our mind can assemble information into a 4D spatiotemporal experience. “Here,” said Emerson, “we stand before the secret of the world, there where Being passes into Appearance, and Unity into Variety.”
‒ From Beyond Biocentrism

ROBERT LANZA, M.D.

Dr. Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world—a U.S. World & News Report cover story called him a “genius” and “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. He is currently chief scientific officer of the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine and professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Lanza was recognized by TIME Magazine in 2014 on its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” PROSPECT Magazine named him one of the Top 50 “World Thinkers” in 2015.

Dr. Lanza’s current research focuses on stem cells and regenerative medicine and their potential to provide therapies for some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating conditions. He is credited with several hundred publications and inventions, and over 30 scientific books, including the definitive references in the fields of stem cells and regenerative medicine.

As a former Fulbright Scholar, Lanza studied with polio-pioneer Jonas Salk and Nobel laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter. He also worked closely (and co-authored a series of papers) with noted Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. Dr. Lanza received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. Lanza was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo, as well as the first to successfully generate stem cells from adults using somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning). In 2001 he was also the first to clone an endangered species, and recently published the first-ever report of pluripotent stem cell use in humans.

“Robert Lanza is the living embodiment of the character played by Matt Damon in the movie “Good Will Hunting.” Growing up underprivileged in Stoughton, Mass., south of Boston, the young preteen caught the attention of Harvard Medical School researchers when he showed up on the university steps having successfully altered the genetics of chickens in his basement. Over the next decade, he was “discovered” and taken under the wing of scientific giants such as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His mentors described him as a “genius,” a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein.”U.S. News & World Report, cover story

DISCOVER Interview with Robert Lanza

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Stem cell and cloning guru Robert Lanza has battled the Catholic Church, the White House, and violent protesters.

Whether defying the dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine so he could publish a book on world health or challenging the titans of cosmology, Robert Lanza has never followed the script. It’s no wonder, then, that this renegade doctor would lead the charge into medicine’s most controversial turf: the creation of cloned embryos for therapy and the engineering of spare human parts.

The value of therapeutic cloning has long been clear to Lanza, who did his early work with South African heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. Starting from those early days, Lanza understood that the barrier to tissue transfer was rejection by the recipient. From an entire organ to a dose of embryonic stem cells, if the tissue’s DNA came from anyone else, the transplant would be rejected without the aid of harsh immunosuppressive drugs. “The treatment could be worse than the problem,” Lanza found. But embryonic clones, the source of an endless supply of stem cells imprinted with one’s personal DNA, could alter the equation in favor of the patient and augur a paradigm shift in medicine on par with the changes brought about by antibiotics and vaccines.

Lanza’s single-minded quest to usher in this new age has paid dividends in scientific insights and groundbreaking discoveries. Today a world force in the field of regenerative medicine, he’s close to delivering cellular therapies that might reseed the immune system, heal damaged hearts, even save limbs.

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American Scientist Featured in Encyclopedia Britannica

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The advance raised new possibilities for regenerative medicine

Robert P. Lanza, American scientist known for his research on cloning, particularly his contributions to the refinement of a somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique that enabled the generation of the world’s first human embryonic stem (ES) cells from aged somatic (body) cells …The advance raised new possibilities for regenerative medicine, where transplantation with ES cells derived from adult cells held therapeutic promise for a wide array of diseases and disorders.

As a youth, Lanza emerged from disadvantaged circumstances to win recognition for a science-fair project in which he used nuclear protein to induce melanin (pigment) production in white chickens. He eventually published his findings in the journal Nature. Lanza went on to receive B.A. (1978) and M.D. (1983) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. During his studies he spent time in the laboratories of such renowned scientists as the American physician and medical researcher Jonas Salk and the American psychologist B.F. Skinner. Lanza also traveled to South Africa to study heart-transplant medicine with surgeon Christiaan Barnard.

… He later helped generate human ES cells from single blastomeres—cells produced through cleavage of the fertilized egg prior to embryo formation—potentially circumventing the issue of embryo destruction. Lanza also contributed to research in which ES cells were successfully differentiated into retinal pigment epithelium, the cell layer that nourishes the retina of the eye. The work led to the first clinical trials to test ES cells in human patients…

Lanza was the recipient of various awards. He also wrote or cowrote numerous books, notably Biocentrism (2009; with Bob Berman), in which he elaborated on the idea that life and consciousness are fundamental elements of the universe rather than accidents of the laws of physics. In 2014 Lanza was among the 100 honoured by Time magazine as the world’s most influential people.

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Robert Lanza Featured in The Pennsylvania Gazette

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Robert Lanza C’78 M’83 has racked up a slew of scientific accolades—and generated an equal amount of controversy—for his pioneering work on cloning and stem cells. And then there’s the private island stocked with dinosaur fossils, the Good Will Hunting comparisons … and his “theory of everything.”

Sixteen miles outside Boston, in the back corner of an unfinished basement, a teenage boy lowers his syringe to a chicken egg and takes aim.

It’s 1969 and this is Robert Lanza’s first time experimenting with embryos. He isn’t yet a well-known scientist. He hasn’t achieved all those cloning and stem-cell firsts, hasn’t been called genius or renegade. He doesn’t have to worry about being killed on his way to work. Journalists haven’t come up with the “real-life Good Will Hunting” analogy or suggested that he open his own Jurassic Park. He hasn’t worked with B.F. Skinner and Jonas Salk, hasn’t told off the former dean of Penn’s medical school. He doesn’t have a private 10-acre island and a house filled with dinosaur bones. That will all come later. Today he’s still just a kid, and he wants to win the school science fair.

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Robert Lanza Featured in Fortune Magazine

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Lanza published a paper in The Lancet earlier this year detailing the results of early clinical trials involving two women suffering from macular degeneration. A UCLA ophthalmologist injected each woman with 50,000 retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells, and according to the paper, both claim to have better vision as a result. They’re not 20/20. But after a single injection one now walks the mall alone, uses her computer, and can pour a cup of coffee. The other sees colors and can read five letters on the eye chart. If Lanza is remembered one day as the man who saved millions from blindness, his story will provide a ready-made biopic for Ben Affleck. Born in the hardscrabble town of Roxbury and raised by a professional gambler, he escaped the economic underclass through intelligence and imagination. At 13, he altered the DNA of a chicken to make it change color; the experiment was published in Nature. His sisters never graduated from high school. He received an MD from Penn and a Fulbright scholarship, and has collaborated with giants, including B.F. Skinner and Jonas Salk. He was the first ever to clone an endangered species, and now he’s the standard-bearer for stem cell research.

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Robert Lanza Featured in Der Spiegel, Europe’s Largest News Magazine

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The Dawning of a New Era of Hope

Stem cell researcher Robert Lanza hopes to save thousands of lives — and for a long time this caused him to fear for his own… At the time, a doctor was threatened at a nearby fertility clinic, and a pipe bomb exploded at a bio lab in Boston. “Back then I thought that there was probably a 50-50 chance that I was going to get knocked off because I was so visible,” says the doctor. “I said, okay, try to kill me — I’m still going to do what I think is right.” In Lanza’s case, doing what is “right” involves working with therapies based on human stem cells. The blind shall see again; the paralyzed shall walk again; the hemophiliac shall not bleed anymore. That may sound like something out of the Bible, but Lanza is no faith healer. In fact, the US business magazine Fortune called him “the standard-bearer for stem cell research.” Lanza is often compared to the main character played by Matt Damon in the film “Good Will Hunting,” a highly talented outsider who, like Lanza, comes from a humble background.

Initial Success: “We have some surprisingly good visual outcome,” says Steven Schwartz, an eye surgeon at UCLA. He says that one of his patients can read a clock again and go shopping, while another can recognize colors again. Lanza is a “genius” and his work is “stellar,” Schwartz says.

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