Is Reality Predicated on Perception?

Exhibit 2: The Fermi paradox. Human sentience at this point in the evolution of the universe is explainable only if life is commonplace. Yet there is a mathematically conspicuous absence of observable extraterrestrial life. So where are they?

Fortunately, science holds a built-in capacity for change as no other human institution. Surprising as it may seem now, fifty years ago the Big Bang was a just another red pill that the scientific establishment could not swallow.

In those days the steady state theory of the universe was the standard model for cosmology. Any notion that the universe had a "beginning" was just an idiocentric fossil of religious mythology. By the middle of the twentieth century, good scientists could safely dismiss "In the Beginning" as an obsolete metaphor.

Then in 1964 a couple of commercial astronomers came accidentally upon evidence that the universe did indeed have a beginning in time and space. And in 1978, Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson won the Noble Prize for discovering the microwave signature of the Big Bang.

Even so, the great Sir Fred Hoyle went to his death in 2001 still insisting on his trusted steady state.

But the minds of young scientists change quickly, and the oldsters die away as they should. So now the Big Bang is old news in modern cosmology.

What a mad, mad, mad, mad, world.

And now in Biocentrism, Robert Lanza has proposed a millennial reorientation of science in which reality is redefined as an outcome of consciousness.

In his book, Dr. Lanza identifies seven principles of biocentrism:

1. What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An "external" reality, if it existed, would -- by definition -- have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.

2. Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.

3. The behavior of subatomic particles -- indeed all particles and objects -- are inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.

4. Without consciousness, "matter" dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.

5. The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. The universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes perfect sense as life creates the universe, not the other way around. The "universe" is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self.

6. Time does not have a real existence outside of animal-sense perception. It is the process by which we perceive changes in the universe.

7. Space, like time, is not an object or a thing. Space is another form of our animal understanding and does not have an independent reality. We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells. Thus there is no absolute self-existing matrix in which the physical events occur independent of life.

The Copernican revolution displaced the Earth as the center of creation, and placed it instead as a small blue planet circling an average star in a rather run-of-the-mill galaxy that we call the Milky Way. But Nicholas Copernicus's concept of a heliocentric universe was so shocking to society and the establishment of the time, that he could not safely publish his findings until he was on his death bed.

Now five hundred years after Copernicus comes another idea that's just as maddening for the righteous defenders of "scientific orthodoxy:" a phenomenological discovery that consciousness creates its own reality.

The signs of Jungian synchronicity appear everywhere over time and space, beginning with the Big Bang and ending with this improbable moment. Yet science today remains hyper-vigilant against any reasonable hypothesis that does not honor the vaunted principle of mediocrity.

Meanwhile, back on a reportedly uninhabited planet in the Omicron Delta region, Dr. Leonard McCoy has just witnessed the unexpected passage of a rather large but well-dressed white rabbit, followed quickly by little girl named Alice.

On witnessing the phenomenon, Dr. McCoy picked up his mobile phone to convey the story to Captain Kirk, still in orbit aboard the Enterprise.

Kirk took the call on speaker.

"On this supposedly uninhabited planet," McCoy reported in his dry Dixie tone. "I just saw a large rabbit pull a gold watch from his vest and claim that he was late."

"That's pretty good, Bones." Kirk laughed. "Alright. I've got one for you. The rabbit was followed by a little blond girl, right?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," said McCoy. "They disappeared through a hole in a hedge."

The captain didn't stop laughing until Dr. McCoy physically showed him the rabbit tracks and the girl's footprints.

Then Kirk became suddenly decisive. "You follow the rabbit," he ordered, frowning at the inexplicable marks in the soil. "I'll backtrack the girl. I'll meet you round the other side of the hill."

"Good," Dr. McCoy replied, rocking back a little on his heels. "I've got a personal grudge against that rabbit, Jim."

You said it, Doc.  And Goldilocks, too.