Biocentrism

Biocentrism

Biocentrism (from Greek: βίος, bio, "life"; and κέντρον, kentron, "center") is a term that has several meanings but is commonly defined as the belief that all forms of life are equally valuable and humanity is not the center of existence. Biocentric positions generally advocate a focus on the well-being of all life in the consideration of ecological, political, and economic issues. Biocentrism in this sense has been contrasted to anthropocentrism, which is the belief that human beings and human society are, or should be, the central focus of existence.

Biocentrism also refers to the philosophical position that the attributes of living things form the basis of perception, and thereby form the basis of observable reality itself. The biocentric theory proposed by Robert Lanza builds on quantum physics by putting life into the equation. His theory places biology above the other sciences in an attempt to solve one of nature’s biggest puzzles, the theory of everything that other disciplines have been pursuing for the last century.

Ecology

Donald Worster has traced today’s biocentric conscience, which is an important part of the recovery of a sense of kinship between man and nature, to the British intelligencia of the Victorian era reacting against the Christian ethic of dominion over nature. He points out that Charles Darwin was the most important spokesperson for the biocentric attitude in ecological thought and quotes from his Notebooks on Transmutation:

If we choose to let conjecture run wild, then animals, our fellow brethren in pain, diseases, death, suffering and famine - our slaves in the most laborious works, our companions in our amusement - they may partake of our origin in one common ancestor - we may be all netted together.
Another thread of biocentrism comes from ethnological studies of species-specific taboos. This is an important contribution to the concept of “sacred ecology” developed by Fikret Berkes from his studies on traditional environmental management.

Gender

Biocentrism as a term has also recently gained prominence in the discussion of transgender and transsexual rights. Biocentrism in that case refers to the widely-held belief that a person who was born as a male or a female is more "real" and more valid than the individual who has become man or woman through hormonal, surgical, and cosmetic means. It is this biocentric belief that continues to fuel the debate over the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's policy to only allow women-born, women-identified women. Trans women are actively excluded because they are not viewed as "real women".

References

See also

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