Does Death Exist? – New Theory Says ‘No’
Many of us fear death. We believe in death because we have been told we will die. We associate ourselves with the body, and we know that bodies die. But a new scientific theory suggests that death is not the terminal event we think. One well-known aspect of quantum physics is that certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely.
Instead, there is a range of possible observations each with a different probability. One mainstream explanation, the “many-worlds” interpretation, states that each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe (the ‘multiverse’).
A new scientific theory – called biocentrism – refines these ideas. There are an infinite number of universes, and everything that could possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death does not exist in any real sense in these scenarios. All possible universes exist simultaneously, regardless of what happens in any of them. Although individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the alive feeling – the ‘Who am I?’- is just a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain. But this energy doesn’t go away at death. One of the surest axioms of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed. But does this energy transcend from one world to the other?
Consider an experiment that was recently published in the journal Science showing that scientists could retroactively change something that had happened in the past. Particles had to decide how to behave when they hit a beam splitter. Later on, the experimenter could turn a second switch on or off. It turns out that what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle did in the past. Regardless of the choice you, the observer, make, it is you who will experience the outcomes that will result. The linkages between these various histories and universes transcend our ordinary classical ideas of space and time.
Think of the 20-watts of energy as simply holo-projecting either this or that result onto a screen. Whether you turn the second beam splitter on or off, it’s still the same battery or agent responsible for the projection.
According to Biocentrism, space and time are not the hard objects we think. Wave your hand through the air – if you take everything away, what’s left? Nothing. The same thing applies for time. You can’t see anything through the bone that surrounds your brain. Everything you see and experience right now is a whirl of information occurring in your mind. Space and time are simply the tools for putting everything together. Death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world.
In the end, even Einstein admitted,
“Now Besso” (an old friend) “has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us… know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Immortality doesn’t mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether.
What happens when we die?
Do we rot into the ground, or do we go to heaven (or hell, if we’ve been bad)?
Experiments suggest the answer is simpler than anyone thought. Without the glue of consciousness, time essentially reboots.
The mystery of life and death can’t be examined by visiting the Galapagos or looking through a microscope. It lies deeper. It involves our very selves. We awake in the present. There are stairs below us that we appear to have climbed; there are stairs above us that go upward into the unknown future.
But the mind stands at the door by which we entered and gives us the memories by which we go about our day. Everything is ordered and predictable. We’re like cuckoo birds who appear through a door each morning. We fancy there’s a clockwork set in motion at the beginning of time. But if you remove everything from space, what’s left? Nothing.
The same applies for time – you can’t put it in a jar. You can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain (everything you experience is information in your mind). Biocentrism tells us space and time aren’t objects – they’re the mind’s tools for putting everything together.
Before he died, Einstein said,
“Now Besso [an old friend] has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us… know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
In fact, it was Einstein’s theory of relativity that showed that space and time are indeed relative to the observer.
Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. But if the world is observer-created, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s destroyed with each of us. Nor should we be surprised that space and time vanish, and with them all Newtonian conceptions of order and prediction.
It’s here at last, where we approach the imagined border of ourselves, the wooded boundary where in the old fairy tale the fox and the hare say goodnight to each other. At death, we all know, consciousness is gone, and so too the continuity in the connection of times and places. Where then, do we find ourselves?
On stairs that, like Emerson said, can be intercalated anywhere,
“like those that Hermes won with the dice of the moon, that Osiris might be born.”
We think that the past is past and the future the future. But as Einstein realized, this simply isn’t the case. Without consciousness, space and time are nothing; in reality you can take any time – whether past or future – as your new frame of reference. Death is a reboot that leads to all potentialities. That’s the reality that the experiments mandate.
Evidence Suggests Your Past Isn’t Set in Stone.
Recent discoveries require us to rethink our understanding of history.
“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.”
Is it possible we live and die in a world of illusions?
Physics tells us that objects exist in a suspended state until observed, when they collapse in to just one outcome. Paradoxically, whether events happened in the past may not be determined until sometime in your future – and may even depend on actions that you haven’t taken yet.
In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment, which showed that particles of light “photons” knew – in advance – what their distant twins would do in the future. They tested the communication between pairs of photons – whether to be either a wave or a particle. Researchers stretched the distance one of the photons had to take to reach its detector, so that the other photon would hit its own detector first. The photons taking this path already finished their journeys – they either collapse into a particle or don’t before their twin encounters a scrambling device.
Somehow, the particles acted on this information before it happened, and across distances instantaneously as if there was no space or time between them. They decided not to become particles before their twin ever encountered the scrambler. It doesn’t matter how we set up the experiment. Our mind and its knowledge is the only thing that determines how they behave. Experiments consistently confirm these observer-dependent effects.
More recently (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. 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 history.
Of course, we live in the same world. Particles have a range of possible states, and it’s not until observed that they take on properties. So until the present is determined, how can there be a past?
According to visionary physicist John Wheeler (who coined the word “black hole”),
“The quantum principle shows that there is a sense in which what an observer will do in the future defines what happens in the past.”
Part of the past is locked in when you observe things and the “probability waves collapse.”
But there’s still uncertainty, for instance, as to what’s underneath your feet. If you dig a hole, there’s a probability you’ll find a boulder. Say you hit a boulder, the glacial movements of the past that account for the rock being in exactly that spot will change as described in the Science experiment.
But what about dinosaur fossils? Fossils are really no different than anything else in nature. For instance, the carbon atoms in your body are “fossils” created in the heart of exploding supernova stars.
Bottom line: reality begins and ends with the observer.
“We are participators,” Wheeler said “in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past.”
Before his death, he stated that when observing light from a quasar, we set up a quantum observation on an enormously large scale. It means, he said, the measurements made on the light now, determines the path it took billions of years ago.
Like the light from Wheeler’s quasar, historical events such as who killed JFK, might also depend on events that haven’t occurred yet.
There’s enough uncertainty that it could be one person in one set of circumstances, or another person in another. Although JFK was assassinated, you only possess fragments of information about the event. But as you investigate, you collapse more and more reality.
According to biocentrism, space and time are relative to the individual observer – we each carry them around like turtles with shells. History is a biological phenomenon – it’s the logic of what you, the animal observer experiences. You have multiple possible futures, each with a different history like in the Science experiment. Consider the JFK example: say two gunmen shot at JFK, and there was an equal chance one or the other killed him. This would be a situation much like the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment, in which the cat is both alive and dead – both possibilities exist until you open the box and investigate.
“We must re-think all that we have ever learned about the past, human evolution and the nature of reality, if we are ever to find our true place in the cosmos,” says Constance Hilliard, a historian of science at UNT.
Choices you haven’t made yet might determine which of your childhood friends are still alive, or whether your dog got hit by a car yesterday.
In fact, you might even collapse realities that determine whether Noah’s Ark sank.
“The universe,” said John Haldane, “is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
We watch our loved ones age and die, and we assume that an external entity called time is responsible for the crime. But experiments increasingly cast doubt on the existence of time as we know it. In fact, the reality of time has long been questioned by philosophers and physicists. When we speak of time, we’re usually referring to change. But change isn’t the same thing as time.
To measure anything’s position precisely is to “lock in” on one static frame of its motion, as in a film. Conversely, as soon as you observe movement, you can’t isolate a frame, because motion is the summation of many frames. Sharpness in one parameter induces blurriness in the other. Consider a film of a flying arrow that stops on a single frame. The pause enables you to know the position of the arrow with great accuracy: it’s 20 feet above the grandstand. But you’ve lost all information about its momentum. It’s going nowhere; its path is uncertain. Numerous experiments confirm that such uncertainty is built into the fabric of reality.
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a fundamental concept of quantum physics. However, it only makes sense from a biocentric perspective. According to biocentrism, time is the inner sense that animates the still frames of the spatial world. Remember, you can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain; everything you experience is woven together in your mind. So what’s real? If the next image is different from the last, then it’s different, period.
We can award change with the word “time,” but that doesn’t mean that there’s an invisible matrix in which changes occur.At each moment we’re at the edge of a paradox described by the Greek philosopher Zeno. Because an object can’t occupy two places simultaneously, he contended that an arrow is only at one place during any given instant of its flight. To be in one place, however, is to be at rest.
The arrow must therefore be at rest at every instant of its flight.
Thus, motion is impossible.
But is this really a paradox? Or rather, is it proof that time (motion) isn’t a feature of the outer, spatial world, but rather a conception of thought?
An experiment published in 1990 suggests that Zeno was right. In this experiment, scientists demonstrated the quantum equivalent of the adage that “a watched pot doesn’t boil”.
This behavior, the “quantum Zeno effect,” turns out to be a function of observation.
“It seems,” said physicist Peter Coveney, “that the act of looking at an atom prevents it from changing”.
Theoretically, if a nuclear bomb were watched intently enough – that is, if you could check its atoms every million trillionth of a second – it wouldn’t explode. Bizarre? The problem lies not in the experiments but in our way of thinking about time. Biocentrism is the only comprehensible way to explain these results, which are only “weird” in the context of the existing paradigm.
In biocentrism, space and time are forms of animal intuition. They’re tools of the mind and thus don’t exist as external objects independent of life. When we feel poignantly that time has elapsed, as when loved ones die, it constitutes the human perceptions of the passage and existence of time. Our babies turn into adults. We age. That, to us, is time. It belongs with us. New experiments confirm this concept.
In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment that showed that within pairs of particles, each particle anticipated what its twin would do in the future.
Somehow, the particles “knew” what the researcher would do before it happened, as if there were no space or time between them. In a 2007 study published in Science, scientists shot particles into an apparatus and showed that they could retroactively change whether the particles behaved as photons or waves (Experimental Realization of Wheeler’s Delayed-Choice Gedanken Experiment). The particles had to “decide” what to do when they passed a fork in the apparatus. Later on, the experimenter could flip a switch. It turns out what the observer decided at that point determined how the particle had behaved at the fork in the past. Thus the knowledge in our mind can determine how particles behave.
Of course, we live in the same world. Critics claim that this behavior is limited to the quantum world. But this “two-world” view (that is, the view that there is one set of laws for quantum objects and another for the rest of the universe, including us) has no basis in reason and is being challenged in labs around the world.
Last year, researchers published a study in Nature suggesting that quantum behavior extends into the everyday realm. Pairs of ions were coaxed to entangle, and then their properties remained bound together when separated by large distances (“spooky action at a distance,” as Einstein put it) as if there were no time or space. And in 2005, KHCO3 crystals exhibited entanglement ridges half an inch high, demonstrating that quantum behavior could nudge into the ordinary world of human-scale objects.
In the Oct. 2010 issue of Discover, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow state,
“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”.
That night, while lying awake at my neighbor’s house, I had found the answer – that the missing piece is with us.
As I see it, immortality doesn’t mean perpetual (linear) existence in time but resides outside of time altogether. Life is a journey that transcends our classical way of thinking. Experiment after experiment continues to suggest that we create time, not the other way around. Without consciousness, space and time are nothing.
At death, there’s a break in the continuity of space and time; you can take any time – past or future – as your new frame of reference and estimate all potentialities relative to it. In the end, even Einstein acknowledged that,
“the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Life is just one fragment of time, one brushstroke in a picture larger than ourselves, eternal even when we die.
This is the indispensable prelude to immortality.
“Time and space are but the physiological colors which the eye maketh,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay ‘Self-Reliance.’
“But the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night.”
Do You Only Live Once?
We think we die and rot into the ground, and thus must squeeze everything in before it’s too late.If life – yours, mine – is a just a one-time deal, then we’re as likely to be screwed as pampered. But experiments suggest this view of the world may be wrong.
Life is a flowering and adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking, an interlude in a melody so vast and eternal that human ears can’t appreciate the tonal range of the symphony.
The results of quantum physics confirm that observations can’t be predicted absolutely. Instead, there’s a range of possible observations each with a different probability. One mainstream explanation, the “many-worlds” interpretation, states that there are an infinite number of universes (the “multiverse”). Everything that can possibly happen occurs in some universe. The old mechanical – “we’re just a bunch of atoms” – view of life loses its grip in these scenarios.
Biocentrism extends this idea, suggesting that life is a flowering and adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking. Although our individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the “me” feeling is just energy operating in the brain. But this energy doesn’t go away at death. One of the surest principles of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed. When we die, we do so not in the random billiard ball matrix but in the inescapable life matrix.
Life has a non-linear dimensionality – it’s like a perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse. A series of landmark experiments show that measurements an observer makes can influence events that have already happened in the past. One experiment (Science 315, 966, 2007) confirmed that flipping a switch could retroactively change a result that had happened before the switch was flipped. Regardless of the choice you, the observer, make, it’ll be you who will experience the outcomes – the universes – that will result.
“Whenever anything in nature seems to us ridiculous, absurd or evil,” said Spinoza “it is because we have but a partial knowledge of things.”
Life has a power that transcends any individual history or universe.
Five Reasons You Won’t Die
We’ve been taught we’re just a collection of cells, and that we die when our bodies wear out. End of story.
Textbooks have been written showing how cells can be engineered into virtually all the tissues and organs of the human body. But a long list of scientific experiments suggests our belief in death is based on a false premise, that the world exists independent of us – the great observer.
A long list of scientific experiments suggests our belief in death is based on a false premise. This article provides five compelling reasons why you won’t die. Here are five reasons you won’t die.
You’re not an object, you’re a special being. According to biocentrism, nothing could exist without consciousness.
Remember you can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain. Space and time aren’t objects, but rather the tools our mind uses to weave everything together.
“It will remain remarkable,” said Eugene Wigner, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 “in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.”
Consider the uncertainty principle, one of the most famous and important aspects of quantum mechanics.
Experiments confirm it’s built into the fabric of reality, but it only makes sense from a biocentric perspective. If there’s really a world out there with particles just bouncing around, then we should be able to measure all their properties. But we can’t. Why should it matter to a particle what you decide to measure?
Consider the double-slit experiment:
if one “watches” a subatomic particle or a bit of light pass through slits on a barrier, it behaves like a particle and creates solid-looking hits behind the individual slits on the final barrier that measures the impacts.
Like a tiny bullet, it logically passes through one or the other hole. But if the scientists do not observe the trajectory of the particle, then it exhibits the behavior of waves that allow it pass through both holes at the same time. Why does our observation change what happens? Answer: Because reality is a process that requires our consciousness.
The two-slit experiment is an example of quantum effects, but experiments involving Buckyballs and KHCO3 crystals show that observer-dependent behavior extends into the world of ordinary human-scale objects.
In fact, researchers recently showed (Nature 2009) that pairs of ions could be coaxed to entangle so their physical properties remained bound together even when separated by large distances, as if there was no space or time between them. Why? Because space and time aren’t hard, cold objects. They’re merely tools of our understanding. Death doesn’t exist in a timeless, spaceless world.
After the death of his old friend, Albert Einstein said,
“Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us…know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
In truth, your mind transcends space and time.
Conservation of energy is a fundamental axiom of science. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can’t be created or destroyed. It can only change forms. Although bodies self-destruct, the “me” feeling is just a 20-watt cloud of energy in your head. But this energy doesn’t go away at death. A few years ago scientists showed they could retroactively change something that happened in the past.
Particles had to “decide” how to behave when they passed a fork in an apparatus. Later on, the experimenter could flip a switch. The results showed that what the observer decided at that point determined how the particle behaved at the fork in the past.
Think of the 20-watts of energy as simply powering a projector. Whether you flip a switch in an experiment on or off, it’s still the same battery responsible for the projection. Like in the two-slit experiment, you collapse physical reality. At death, this energy doesn’t just dissipate into the environment as the old mechanical worldview suggests. It has no reality independent of you.
As Einstein’s esteemed colleague John Wheeler stated,
“No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.”
Each person creates their own sphere of reality – we carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells. Thus, there is no absolute self-existing matrix in which energy just dissipates.
Although we generally reject parallel universes as fiction, there’s more than a morsel of scientific truth to this genre. A well-known aspect of quantum physics is that observations can’t be predicted absolutely. Instead, there’s a range of possible observations each with a different probability.
One mainstream explanation is the ‘many-worlds’ interpretation, which states that each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe (the ‘multiverse’). There are an infinite number of universes (including our universe), which together comprise all of physical reality.
Everything that can possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death doesn’t exist in any real sense in these scenarios. All possible universes exist simultaneously, regardless of what happens in any of them. Like flipping the switch in the experiment above, you’re the agent who experiences them.
You will live on through your children, friends, and all who you touch during your life, not only as part of them, but through the histories you collapse with every action you take.
“According to quantum physics,” said theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, “the past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”
There’s more uncertainty in bio-physical systems than anyone ever imagined.
Reality isn’t fully determined until we actually investigate (like in the Schrödinger’s cat experiment). There are whole areas of history you determine during your life. When you interact with someone, you collapse more and more reality (that is, the spatio-temporal events that define your consciousness). When you’re gone, your presence will continue like a ghost puppeteer in the universes of those you know.
It’s not an accident that you happen to have the fortune of being alive now on the top of all infinity. Although it could be a one-in-a-jillion chance, perhaps it’s not just dumb luck, but rather must be that way. While you’ll eventually exit this reality, you, the observer, will forever continue to collapse more and more ‘nows.’
Your consciousness will always be in the present – balanced between the infinite past and the indefinite future – moving intermittently between realities along the edge of time, having new adventures and meeting new (and rejoining old) friends.
Why You Will Always Exist
You’ve laughed and cried. And you may even fall in love and grow old with someone, only to be ripped apart in the end by death and disease.
The universe leaves you dead or grieving with a hole in you as big as infinity.
Can life really be reduced to the laws of physics, or are we part of something more noble and triumphant?
Are we part of a depraved cosmic joke, the product of a vast and ruthless universe?
Through the eyes of science, you’re a speck of junk spinning around the core of the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is whirling through the unfathomable blackness of space. It’s all in the equations, you know. Nothing to get philosophical about.
Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg summed it up best:
The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little bit above the level of a farce and gives it some of the grace of a tragedy.
Can life really be reduced to the laws of physics? Or are we – as all the great spiritual leaders of the world have intuited – part of something higher, which is more noble and triumphant? The latter is hard for us to rationally comprehend, since we’ve had more years of scientific indoctrination than monks get in monasteries.
In Robert Heinlein‘s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” Jubal said we’re prisoners of our early indoctrinations,
“for it is hard, very nearly impossible, to shake off one’s earliest training.”
We’ve been taught since grade school that life is an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics, and that the Universe is a dreary play of billiard balls.
True, science has brought us countless insights that have transformed our lives. It’s amazingly good at figuring out how the parts work. The clock has been taken apart, and we can accurately count the number of teeth in each wheel and gear. We know Mars rotates in 24 hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds.
What eludes us is the big picture, which unfortunately encompasses all the bottom-line issues:
What is the nature of this thing we call ‘reality’?
Any honest summary of the current state of explaining the universe as a whole: a swamp. And in this Everglade, the alligators of common sense must be evaded at every turn. Some scientists insist a Theory of Everything is just around the corner. But it hasn’t happened and won’t happen until we understand a critical component of the cosmos – a component that has been shunted out of the way because science doesn’t know what to do with it.
“Consciousness” isn’t a small item; it’s an utter mystery, which we think has somehow arisen from molecules and goo. In short, the attempt to explain the nature of the universe and what’s really going on requires an understanding of how the observer – our presence – plays a role. Our entire education and language revolves around a mindset that assumes a separate universe “out there.” It’s further assumed we accurately perceive this external reality and play little or no role in its appearance. However, starting in the ’20s, experiments have shown the opposite: The observer critically influences the outcome.
The experiments have been performed so many times, with so many variations, it’s conclusively proven that a particle’s behavior depends upon the very act of observation. The results of these experiments have befuddled scientists for decades. Some of the greatest physicists have described them as impossible to intuit.
Amazingly, if we accept a life-created reality, it all becomes simple to understand, and you can explain some of the biggest puzzles of science. For instance, it becomes clear why space and time – and even the properties of matter itself – depend on the observer. Remember: You can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain. Space and time are simply the mind’s tools for putting everything together.
According to current scientific myth, all your struggles and tears are ultimately in vain. After you die and the human race is long gone, it’ll be as if nothing in your life ever existed. Not so, says biocentrism: Reality isn’t a thing, it’s a process that involves our consciousness. Life is a melody so vast and eternal that human ears can’t appreciate the tonal range of the symphony.
Time is the mind’s tool that animates the notes, the individual frames of the spatial world.
“There’s no way to remove the observer – us – from our perceptions of the world,” said Stephen Hawking. “The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”
You, the observer, collapse these possibilities, the cascade of events we call the universe.
Our consciousness animates the universe like an old phonograph. Listening to it doesn’t alter the record, and depending on where the needle is placed, you hear a certain piece of music. This is what we call “now.” The songs before and after are the past and future. In like manner, you, your loved ones and friends (and sadly, the villains too) endure always. The record doesn’t go away. All nows exist simultaneously, although we can only listen to the songs one by one.
Time is ‘On Demand.’
“The most important thing I learned,” said Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel ‘Slaughterhouse Five,’ “was that when a person dies, he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
by Robert Lanza, MD, 2009-2011, from RobertLanza website