Biocentrism

For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any topic they love, academic or otherwise. This week is known as Paideia after the Greek term signifying “education” – the complete education of mind, body and spirit. What would you teach that would contribute to the Reed community?


I've always had a special interest in physics, and if I could teach the Reed community anything, I'd want to talk about Biocentrism. Biocentrism is a relatively obscure theory that states that we, with our consciousness, create the universe, instead of the other way around. It argues that life isn't merely a byproduct of physics but the very thing that physics stems from. Take this scenario. You're sitting on a beach watching a beautiful sunset. You can hear the waves crashing, and can smell the salt in the breeze.

Now what if I told you that it's all in your mind? In a way, it really is. The sunset you're "watching" is the end result of your eyes picking up light waves of different frequencies, thus making different "colors," and your brain interpreting those stimuli. Your brain's interpretation is what forms the picture of the sunset. The sound of waves is merely sound waves hitting your eardrums, and your ears translating that into something your brain can process. And the smell of the salt is a sensation created by the neural pathways in your brain. So although, yes, the beach is outside of your mind, everything that you experience is processed internally, in your brain. This process is, according to biocentrism, closely...

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