Adapted from The Grand Biocentric Design, by Robert Lanza and Matej Pavsic, published by BenBella Books (2020).
In The Wizard of Oz, the Good Witch of the North appears in a floating bubble that mysteriously materializes out of nowhere. Likewise, a recent scientific paper suggests it might be possible to set up bubbles of vacua with their own arrows of time, which could be used to instantaneously travel in space and time, but without the magic wand.
New scientific discoveries require us to rethink our ideas about time travel. “The histories of the universe,” said renowned physicist Stephen Hawking “depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective observer-independent history… There is no way to remove the observer—us—from our perceptions of the world… In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as a definite series of events, but according to quantum physics, the past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”
If the past and future are indefinite, and we—the observer—collapse this ‘spectrum of possibilities,’ then where does that leave time travel as described in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and the sci-fi classic Back to the Future (or my favorite, Peggy Sue Got Married)? Until the present is determined, how can there be a past? You cannot just travel into “the past” and “the future” because there is no one past and no one future; it’s a myth based on the old mechanical world view.
Bizarre? Maybe you think this is all a load of cow fertilizer, and that time just exists “out there” ticking away from past to future. But consider an experiment that was published in the prestigious scientific journal Science (315, 966, 2007). Scientists in France shot photons into an apparatus, and showed that what they did could retroactively change something that had already happened in the past. As the photons passed a fork in the apparatus, they had to decide whether to behave like particles or waves when they hit a beam splitter. Later on—well after the photons passed the fork—the experimenter could randomly switch a second beam splitter on and off. It turns out that what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle actually did at the fork in the past. At that moment, the experimenter chose his past.
Of course, we live in the same world. But some critics claim this behavior is limited to the microscopic world. But this ‘two-world’ view (that is, one set of physical laws for small objects, and another for the rest of the universe including us) has no basis in reason and is being challenged in laboratories around the world. From 1997 to 2021, experiments have consistently shown that quantum behavior extends into the everyday realm. For example, in a study published in Science in 2017 ( 356, 1140), scientists beamed entangled particles from a satellite to two locations on Earth 750 miles apart—and the particles were still mysteriously connected. Multiple tests on the ground confirmed that communication between the particles happened instantaneously (“spooky action at a distance,” as Einstein put it). Today no scientist doubts the connectedness between bits of light or matter. They’re intimately linked in a manner suggesting there’s no space between them, and no time influencing their behavior.
For years physicists have known that Newton’s laws, Einstein’s equations, and even those of quantum theory, are all time-symmetrical. Time plays absolutely no role. Thus, many scientists question whether time even exists. In a paper published in Annalen der Physik ( 528, 663, 2016)—which published Albert Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity—Dimitry Podolsky, a theoretical physicist and I explained how the arrow of time—time itself—is directly related to the nature of the observer (that is, us). In his papers on relativity, Einstein showed that time was relative to the observer. Our new paper took Einstein’s idea one step further, arguing that the observer creates it.
Indeed, according to biocentrism—a new theory of everything—time and space are simply tools of the mind. Wave your hand through the air—if you take everything away, what’s left? Nothing! The same thing applies for time. Remember you can’t see through the bone that surrounds your brain. Everything you see and experience right now is a whirl of information occurring in your mind. Time is simply the summation of spatial states—much like the frames of a film—occurring inside the mind. There’s also a peculiar intangibility to space. We can’t pick it up and bring it to the laboratory. Like time, space isn’t an external object. It’s part of the mental software that molds information into multidimensional objects.
Like breathing, we take for granted how our mind puts everything together. Consider dreams: even at night, with your eyes closed, your mind creates spatio-temporal experiences out of electrochemical information. We even think and feel things in our dreams, merging an “outer” 3D world with our “inner” temporal sensations. Life and existence as we know it are defined by this spatial-temporal logic, which traps us in the universe with which we’re familiar.
These mental algorithms are not only the key to consciousness, but why time and space—indeed the properties of matter itself—are relative to the observer. The structure of the universe provides the best support for this biocentrist viewpoint. Scientists have discovered that the universe appears to be exquisitely fine-tuned for the emergence of life. There are over 200 physical parameters within the universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose that they are random. These fundamental constants of the universe—constants that are not predicted by any theory—all seem to be carefully chosen, often with great precision, to allow for existence of life and consciousness. Why do the parameters of the universe, which are insanely improbable in terms of life-friendliness, allow for the observer? Answer: Because they are generated by the observer.
At present, our destiny is to live and die in the world of here and now. However, as explained in my new book The Grand Biocentric Design, this may change once we have a full understanding of the algorithms we employ to construct spatio-temporal reality. At some point in the future, we should be able to use this knowledge to recreate information systems to generate any consciousness-based physical reality. For instance, if we changed the algorithms so that instead of time being linear, it was 3-dimensional like space, consciousness would be able to move through the multiverse.
We would be able to walk through time just like we walk through space. Travelers could render new universes simply by defining global vacua that contain them. We could travel back to the Hadean Eon (when the Earth collided with the planet Ttheia to form the Moon) and follow the appearance of life forward in time through the Cambrian and Jurassic periods to man, and beyond us to purely spiritual beings based on completely different information systems like the Prophets in Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine.
After creeping along for 4 billion years, life will finally have the power to escape from its corporeal cage.
For over ten thousand years we have looked up to the sky for answers. We’ve sent spacecraft to Mars and beyond, and continue to build even bigger machines to find the “God particle” or the elusive critical piece of the puzzle that somehow is never solved. We’re like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” who went on a long journey in search of the Wizard, only to return home …
— and find that the answer was inside her all along.
Lanza’s new book “The Grand Biocentric Design” lays out his theory of everything.