Why do we live in a universe that seems so perfectly constructed to allow us, that is, conscious lifeforms, we humans, to exist?
(I’m sure my readers are familiar with the idea, popular in modern cosmology, that we exist in such a universe because such a universe is required for us to exist. That is, that there may have existed or exist now [possibly] countless numbers of universes that don’t/didn’t have the required “laws of nature” [laws of physics] that allow us to be alive and conscious, but since we can only exist in a universe which allows us to exist, inevitably we find ourselves in a universe that seems miraculously constructed to allow our existence.)
A new article recently written by an odd source, Robert Lanza, a businessman in cell research, is bringing this question into the public debate. (And it’s got some ideas that seem to me to be important for consciousness research and self-development as well…)
Robert Lanza suggests a new model of physics, one that recognizes that our physics is “our physics”, that we have to recognize that our biology shapes our understanding of the physics of this universe.
I love this sentence from Lanza – “Space and time are not objects or things â€” they are forms of animal sense perception.â€.
“…life has taught us that time and space are external and eternal realities. They bound all experiences and are more fundamental than life itself. They are above and beyond human experience.
As animals, we are organized, wired, to think this way. We use dates and places to define our experiences to ourselves and to others. History describes the past by placing people and events in time and space. Scientific theories of the big bang, geology, and evolution are steeped in the logic of time and space. They are essential to our every movement and moment. To place ourselves as the creators of time and space, not as the subjects of it, goes against our common sense, life experience, and education. It takes a radical shift of perspective for any of us to entertain the idea that space and time are animal sense perceptions, because the implications are so startling.
Yet we all know that space and time are not thingsâ€”objects that you can see, feel, taste, touch, or smell. They are intangible, like gravity. In fact they are modes of interpretation and understanding, part of the animal logic that molds sensations into multidimensional objects.
We live on the edge of time, where tomorrow hasnâ€™t happened yet. Everything before this moment is part of the history of the universe, gone forever. Or so we believe.
Think for a minute about time flowing forward into the future and how extraordinary it is that we are here, alive on the edge of all time. Imagine all the days and hours that have passed since the beginning of time. Now stack them like chairs on top of each other, and seat yourself on the very top. Science has no real explanation for why weâ€™re here, for why we exist now. According to the current physiocentric worldview, itâ€™s just an accident, a one-in-a-gazillion chance that I am here and that you are there. The statistical probability of being on top of time or infinity is so small as to be meaningless. Yet this is generally how the human mind conceives time.”
“Lanza: Of course they should be funded. I don’t think that everything should be changed. What I am saying is that there is a missing piece to the puzzle of how the universe works. The answer is biology. It is as simple as that. The biological picture of space and time must be integrated into our understanding of physics.
WN: Why do you think that there is such a deep misunderstanding of what time and space really are?
Lanza: Our minds are structured to think that way. Even Einstein avoided the question of what space and time are. He simply defined them as what we measure with clocks and measuring-rods. However, the emphasis should be on the “we,” not the measuring.
WN: Do you expect that some people will read your article and think you mean that they can sit on a mountaintop and meditate to change the world around them with mind powers?
Lanza: We can’t decide that we want to jump off the roof and not get hurt. However much we want, we can’t violate the rules of spatiotemporal logic.
WN: In your article, you make the assertion that time and space do not exist. What do you mean by that?
Lanza: There is something very unusual about them. We can’t put them in a marmalade jar and take them back to the lab for analysis. Space and time are forms of animal sense perception. Space and time are not objects or things — they are forms of animal sense perception.”