Moreover, Harold had the sense that he had been trained to react in all sorts of stupid ways. He had been trained, as a guy, to be self-contained and smart and rational, and to avoid sentimentality. Yet maybe sentiments were at the core of everything. He’d been taught to think vertically, moving ever upward, whereas maybe the most productive connections were horizontal, with peers. He’d been taught that intelligence was the most important trait. There weren’t even words for the traits that matter most—having a sense of the contours of reality, being aware of how things flow, having the ability to read situations the way a master seaman reads the rhythm of the ocean. Harold concluded that it might be time for a revolution in his own consciousness—time to take the proto-conversations that had been shoved to the periphery of life and put them back in the center. Maybe it was time to use this science to cultivate an entirely different viewpoint.
At first, Harold found the talk a little chilling: it seemed that the revolution the scientist was describing was bound to lead to cold, mechanistic conclusions. If everything could be reduced to genes, neural wiring, and brain chemistry, what happened to the major concepts of life—good and evil, sin and virtue, love and commitment? And what about the way Harold made sense of his life as he lived it, the everyday vocabulary of morals, moods, character, aspirations, temptations, values, ideals? The scientist described human beings as creatures driven by deep mechanisms, almost like puppets on strings, not as ensouled human beings capable of running their own lives.
In the past few decades, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything we could have imagined. A more accurate understanding of the world requires that we consider it biologically centered. It’s a simple but amazing concept that Biocentrism attempts to clarify: Life creates the universe, instead of the other way around. Understanding this more fully yields answers to several long-held puzzles. This new model — combining physics and biology instead of keeping them separate, and putting observers firmly into the equation — is called biocentrism. Its necessity is driven in part by the ongoing attempts to create an overarching view, a theory of everything. Such efforts have now stretched for decades, without much success except as a way of financially facilitating the careers of theoreticians and graduate students.
For several centuries, starting roughly with the Renaissance, a single mindset about the construct of the cosmos has dominated scientific thought. This model has brought us untold insights into the nature of the universe, and countless applications that have transformed every aspect of our lives. But this model — failing us now in a myriad of ways — may be reaching the end of its useful life.