What Our Cells Can Teach Us

Tami Simon: You’re listening to Insights at the Edge.

Today I have the honor of speaking with Dr. Bruce Lipton, someone whom I can say is a true visionary. Bruce is an author and cell biologist who has taught at the nation’s leading medical schools. Over three decades of research in cell biology has made him a leading expert on the role and function of our cells. He is the author of the Sounds True audio learning programs, The Wisdom of Your Cells, as well as The Biology of Belief. Start on June 9th, Bruce will be participating in the three-part online event called Spontaneous Evolution and 2012: The Choice to Become a New Species. In this online event he’ll be exploring his views of our current evolutionary shift from a scientific perspective.

In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Bruce and I spoke about the lessons we can learn from our cells, the connection between what he calls “the field” and our physical body, and what he believes really drives evolution.

Here’s quite a far-reaching and mind-bending conversation with Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Tami Simon: This idea — I mean, there are so many things that you teach about the wisdom of the cells — but let’s just start there. The wisdom of the cells — that you’ve learned from the cell — bring me up to speed on that.

Bruce Lipton: The first thing is this, is that when we look at our human bodies in the mirror we generally see one living entity looking back at us. And then what I bring up in the lectures is that that is a misperception. Because in truth, a human body is comprised of approximately fifty trillion cells. And what’s very important about that is each cell is the equivalent of a sentient living organism. In fact, in my research I would take human cells out of a body and put them in a tissue-culture dish. And they have their own lives and communities and their own world separate from the human body.

And so the first thing is that, we are not a “one thing” — we are a community of intelligent beings called cells. And when I started to look into the nature of the cells I found that every cell essentially has all the same functions that a human being has. So I go through a human and I say, “Well, we have a nervous system, a digestive, a respiratory, musculoskeletal, a reproductive system. An immune system.” And then I say, “When you look at the cells in the body almost every cell has every one of those systems. Every cell is functionally the equivalent of a miniature human.” And, in addition to that, the cells live in a community and they have this wonderful technology that they use to create a human body. So that the human body is actually a very advanced technology created by our own cells.

So at some point we have to stop and say, “These cells are pretty darn intelligent.” In fact, some of the technology in the body far exceeds the technology that humans are capable of right now. So, for these little guys that nobody ever really sees, I was just taken by them because of their intelligence or ability to live in a community, to create harmony and health. And just their innate intelligence. So I started to look at them and the nature of how as individuals they live in a community and the life of a cell in general, and I realized that there were many lessons on the nature of how to live healthily that were available by communicating with the cells.

And ever since I’ve had [a] communication dialogue — understanding, working with them since cloning stem cells for forty years — my life has profoundly changed, and I have to credit the cells for the information that they provided to lead me to this better life.

TS: Mmm-kay. So what did you learn from the cells about having a better life? Things that you actually have put into action in your life?

BL: Well, number one — I’ll start off [with] a global one that just blew me away — I wasn’t spiritual at all. I was a biochemist and geneticist and cellular biologist, and working on the mechanics and chemistry of life. And in that field, the concept of spirit was really not that relevant; it wasn’t necessary to understand biology — at least, that’s what we thought.

And when I started to understand the nature of the cell and how it worked, I realized at some point that there was a part of me that wasn’t in the body, and it was an energy and it’s a quantum physics understanding of part of what we call “the Field” — the energy field. And that I play through my body, so that my identity is not inside my cells. My cells actually have antennas on the surface just like the little miniature television antennas that pull in a broadcast, and I am that broadcast. And every person on this planet on their own cells [has] a different set of antennas. And it’s funny, because the medical profession refers to many of these antennas as “self-receptors”; receivers of self.

And so, when I started to learn this, I started to recognize that my identity-awareness was something that was disconnected from my physical body but played through it. And on the first day when I was really blown away by this transformational information that came my way, I was in shock. Here I am not spiritual, and then when I started to understand the nature of the mechanism, I realized my identity was some kind of information from outside playing in. And I was like, “[sharp inhale], I’m not even in here!” It blew me away. But it was interesting, because the first question that popped into my mind after owning what I saw in the mechanics of the cell was, “Wow, I exist as both a spiritual entity and as a body?” And I was thinking to myself, “Why have both?” And I really believe the cells just forwarded this answer, direct hotline, to my brain; the answer came out. And I asked, “Why have both a spirit and a body?” And the answer came, I believe from my cells, that, “Bruce, if you’re just a spirit, what does chocolate taste like?” And, “Bruce if you’re just a spirit what does a sunset look like?” And, “If you’re just a spirit, what [do] feeling and love — what does that feel like?”

And I realized, oh my goodness, the biological body is almost like a virtual-reality suit that my identity gets into and the cells’ — and this is the part finally I’m getting to — the cells’ function is to translate the environmental information through a nervous system, convert the information into vibrations (which is the information that I’m aware of). And I realized that the function of cells [was] to provide senses. The sense of smell and touch and taste and vision and pain and hot and cold — just all these kinds of senses that we have. They’re the translation of the environment through the cells and then converting that information into the electromagnetic vibrations that emanate from the brain.

And so I realized, oh my goodness, first lesson: that if I am alive and I have a body, then the function of my body is to sense the world. For a coming-from-a-regular-world kind of thing, I remember growing up as a young boy; and boys have this programming not to be sissies, which means OK, we can be insensitive so we don’t cry and we don’t feel things. And I realized what programming my whole life was, and that the main function I saw from the body was to provide sensation. And so at that point I realized, my goodness, my programming really had detracted from my life experiences. And I opened up to the reality of trying more things — tasting more things, going to see different things and experiencing as many things as possible to give me the opportunity to experience this world and the world of senses. And that’s been such a delightful opening to my whole life, because in my former position as a “tough male,” insensitive, it’s like, “That doesn’t help anybody, including myself.” And so I have to give credit to my cells for acknowledging the wonderful things they provide for me in my life. And that is all the wonderful sensations that come through our nervous system.

And so, that was pretty good right there I thought.

TS: That is a good one. I want to ask you a couple questions about what you’ve just said. So I get the idea of the antenna, that the cells are receiving sensory information. And that now we have these fifty trillion cells, and as a community, we sort of have antenna and we’re receiving sensory information all the time.

BL: Yes.

TS: So I’m with you there. I’m completely with you; sometimes I actually feel like I have antenna, you know, literally coming out of the skin of my body, taking in all kinds of things. But you said something [about how] this led you to the conclusion that you were quote-unquote a “spiritual being.” So what’s the connection between sensing — appreciating chocolate, appreciating the environment, air, everything — and being quote-unquote “spiritual”?

BL: Well, I use the word “spiritual” in the sense that, the definition that I would use, if I [were] going to use the physics definition, is that I’m part of the Field. And I say, “Well, what to the [physicist] is a field?” Well, a simple definition of a field is invisible, moving forces that shape the physical reality. And then I go back in history and I talk about, “Spirit — what does that mean?” Well, all of a sudden I say, “Well, spirit, oh those are invisible, moving forces that shape the physical reality.” I realized at some point that energy of the Field that I was recognizing in my research is synonymous with the same word, “spirit.” And so that science and spiritualism are coming together at this time in our evolution, where science is recognizing that the invisible forces around us — which they call the Field — are primary in shaping our reality.

And where I saw this was when I was trying to understand how the cell worked — one of the most important things I was doing when I was cloning these cells and trying to see what controlled their fate…I have stem cells, and I put one stem cell in a culture dish by itself, and it divides about every ten hours. And after about two weeks I’ve got thousands of cells in the Petri dish, but they’re all genetically identical. And what my first experiments were, were I separated this population into three different Petri plates; so I had three plates with genetically identical cells in each plate. And then what I did was change the environment ever so slightly, [the] chemistry of the culture medium, which is the cells’ environment. In each of the dishes I had a slightly different environment: In one dish, the cells formed muscle. In one dish, the cells formed bone. In a third dish, the cells formed fat cells. All from the same genetically identical cells.

So, the obvious question right at the very top is what controls the fate of the cells? And the answer is, well, it wasn’t the genetics, because they were all genetically identical. The only thing that was different was the environment. Well, this opened up my eyes about forty years ago to a reality that was in complete conflict with the work that I was teaching medical students and [in] conflict with most of the education people are still getting in the world today: the belief that genes control our biology. And it turns out this is not true at all. And so the concept of genetic control, which means control by genes, has now been replaced by a new science since the time that I saw it forty years ago. This new science is called epigenetic control. And the epi means “above.” And so when I say epigenetic control, literally I’m saying, “control above the genes.”

Well, we’re beginning to find out — as I found out forty years ago — that the genes are actually controlled by the organism’s perception or response to the environment. So as an organism changes its environment, it changes its genetic activity to accommodate the conditions of the environment. And when I saw this forty years ago — of course with conventional science, they were still teaching [that] genes control life — my experiments clearly revealed that the control was in the environment.

So my search said: what controls the cell? What I was teaching, and what is still taught essentially, is that the genes control the cell. And the genes are collected…almost all of them are in a structure called the nucleus of the cell. And therefore in textbooks they frequently talk about the nucleus of the cell as the brain of the cell. And they say that because if they believe that genes are controlling the characteristics and the genes are in the nucleus, then the control of the cell is in that nucleus and therefore calling it “the brain” would make sense. But in my own work I did studies and experiments where I took the nuclei out of cells — it’s called enucleation. And in my cultured cells I could remove the nuclei, and what would happen is many of the cells would stay alive for two or more months with no genes in [them]. And they were responding to all the environmental information, so they were forming communities, staying alive, and doing every kind of function very dynamically without any genes. Which in the face of forty years ago, it’s like, “Well, that doesn’t make any sense.” Since the genes are supposed to control the cell, here are cells with no genes and they’re doing very well. That sent me on a [task? NOT SURE; NOT CLEAR WHAT WORD HE USED] for about another ten or so years and led me to the cell membrane as the skin of the cell; as the actual brain — the information processor — of the cell. And that the cell membrane on one side read the environment, and the cell membrane on the other side faced the interior of the cell, the inside of the cell. And so the membrane was the interface between the external and internal environments, and in that capacity the cell membrane was reading the environment and then adjusting the cell.

And I started to recognize all this and all of a sudden I realized the cell membrane by technical definition is a liquid-crystal semiconductor with gates and channels. And at that time, in 1980, what I started to make and understand is, I thought I’d heard that definition and I didn’t know where. But now I found out that was the definition of a computer chip. And I thought, “Oh my goodness, the cells are programmable devices.” They’re, like, with the nucleus [that] has all the programs in it, that’s what the genes are: programs. But the processor is the membrane, which is like a computer chip. And the environment is like the programmer that’s typing on the surface of the cell — where the antennas are — information. The information is picked up by the antennas and then controls the actions of the cells.

Well, in that understanding, my attention was drawn to the fact, yeah, but there’s…what makes one human different from another human is the presence of a set of antennas that I said were in part called self-receptors that distinguish one human from another. If I take the self-receptors off a cell, it’s generic. And I can implant a generic cell into any body and it will never be rejected. But if somebody has their self-receptors on the surface of the cell, that gives it identity. That’s why we can’t transplant our cells and tissues with each other, ‘cause each of us has our own identity. So now we’re getting to the long story…to get it to the short point, and that is: the identity of an individual is some signal that is picked up by the antennas called self-receptors on the surface of the cell. And when those surface receptors are gone, the cell has no identity. And when the surface receptors are on, they become an individual cell.

So what really was the bottom-line conclusion is then, the identity of a cell is nothing programmed into the cell. The identity of the cell is some information that is picked up from the environment via these antennas called self-receptors. And that hit me the very instant I thought, I said, “Wait a minute. Wait.” Then it says, “My identity is not inside the cell because it’s reading something from the environment.” What hit me was, “Well, wait. Then if the cell dies, does the environmental signal leave the environment?” The answer is no. The environment is…the signals are always there, and the cells come and go. And when a cell is present, it can read the signal. And when a cell dies, the signal’s still there but the cell’s not there. It’s sort of like a cell or a human body is like a television set with an antenna tuned to a station. And so right now my antennas are tuned to the Bruce Station, and my body’s playing The Bruce Show right here. And what’s relevant about this is when we talk about televisions, I say, “The picture tube is dead; it breaks. It’s not working.” We say, “The television’s dead.” I go, “Well, the television’s dead, but the broadcast — is it still there?” And the answer is, “Well, yes.” And you can tell or know that by just getting another television set, plugging it in, turning it on, and then tuning it to the station. And there, oops the broadcast’s back on again!

So what this all led me to see was my identity is not inside the cell; it’s something out in the Field. That the cells can die, but if a future embryo comes with the same set of antennas that I have on my body right now, it will download the same signal. And so, the Bruce Station will be on but with a completely different body the next time! All of this made sense on the level of understanding the mechanics of the cell membrane as an information processor, the Field as a source of information. And all of a sudden I realized my identity is immortal; it’s part of a field of information. And that reincarnation is a consequence of another individual in the future coming with the same set of self-receptors — sort of like a combination lock, there’s a large number of them — and that if that shows up again then that individual’s playing but through a different body. Which could be different sex, different race, or anything — it’s just a different biology.

So this blew my mind because I said, “My identity is not in here.” And when I started recognizing it was outside then I realized, well, the identity, it doesn’t just send information into the body via the antennas; it also…the information the body gleans from the environment through the nervous system, the nervous system is broadcasting that information back out of the body. You can actually…there’s a device — not electroencephalograph, but it’s called magnetoencephalograph, where, like the EEG reads brain activity by putting wires on the head and reading the electrical activity of the brain, the magnetoencephalograph does the same thing but you don’t have to touch the brain. The probe is outside the head! And so you can see that when a person is processing in their brain, you can read the information as being broadcast from their head! You can read it outside their body!

So I started to realize that there’s a two-way connection between the Field and the body as the physical reality…that information comes from the Field, goes into the body; and information in the body goes back to the Field. So they’re working with each other, and that’s how our lives influence the Field when we’re here. So, all of this kind of metaphysical stuff turns out to be at the bottom level connected to the quantum biophysics and the molecular antennas on the surface of the cell. And therefore there was a scientific bridge between [the] mind and body all of a sudden because we saw how the information is transmitted into the cell, and that [the] information influences the activity of the cell.

TS: Wow, I gotta say, Bruce, I’m going to have to listen to that again.

BL: [Laughs] It’s complex only to a certain…it’s not very complex, but it’s massive and it’s significant, is the way I look at it. Because, I mean, it transformed my entire life. I didn’t believe in spirituality, and I recognized that my identity — that what makes me Bruce, and you Tami — is information that is being received by the cell. So the information is not in the cells — it’s being received by them. So then I say, “Well then, where is Bruce? Where is Tami?” And I say, “Well, the awareness or recognition is not in the physical plane; it’s in the energy [that] quantum physicists call the Field.”

And therefore it’s…in a very simple, primitive vision think about it this way: if you take iron filings. Take a piece of iron it and file it and get iron dust and then you sprinkle the iron filings on a piece of paper: they just randomly fall all over, [making] a pile of iron filings. And every time you sprinkle you get a random pile of iron filings. And I say, “OK, wait. One time before you sprinkle it I’ll stick a magnet under the table.” And now when you sprinkle all the iron filings, rather than falling randomly they form this beautiful pattern of the magnetic field. And every time you sprinkle it you’ll get the same pattern. And the point is very profound because it’s an emphasis of physics; the point in physics is the Field — the invisible forces — [is] the shaper of the material reality. And in this image of the magnet and the iron filings is, when the Field isn’t present, the iron filings are just random. But when the field is present, it gives an organization and character to the iron filings when you sprinkle them.

Well, [in] nature this applies at all levels. So basically, the human body is, by the understanding of physics, a complement to an energy field.

TS: Um-hmm. ‘Cause you know when you first started talking, I was thinking to myself, “Why is Bruce Lipton so happy?” That is what I want to find out in this conversation. And you started, you know, by talking about how you learned form the cell how your senses matter and that that’s part of why be here, so we can taste chocolate and feel this-

BL: Experience.

TS: Experience. And I thought, “Well, that’s good, but that’s not making me that happy. It’s making me somewhat happy but not as happy as you are.” But then as you started talking about how my identity exists beyond whether or not I have a body to receive it, that’s when I started imagining how you might be as happy as you are.

BL: Well, I’ll tell you the truth. The very first instant when I understood this, I felt this, like, lightness of being all of a sudden. And it was unusual, because it was just like floating more or less, right? And when I started to meditate on “what’s going on here?”, I realized what it was.

All of our lives from the time we’re very young and realize that mortality is part of our experience, that we’re going to die — all of us are going to die — we in our minds then become very protective of our lives. And our subconscious minds are, through our development, programmed to continuously watch out and protect [our lives]. Because we’re so afraid of this death kind-of thing. And so we don’t realize how much of our unconscious behavior is really directed for our safety and our concern for our lives, so there’s always this information processing where the brain is scanning everything in the environment and trying to evaluate it in regard to our safety and keeping alive and the threat of mortality.

When this information dropped down to my head — and this is the fun part, because I wasn’t spiritual — at that one moment when I saw how the mechanism worked, it was like, “Well, of course…of course there’s this visible energy field that represents who I am.” And yet when I said what the first thing was, was that the Field is here whether I’m here or not. And for me as a scientist, looking the way I looked at it, it wasn’t like, “Well, Bruce, do you believe in this?” It was sort of like, no, this is the way it works, period. And I looked at it and I saw it in that first instant, that my identity goes on and on, and my physical presence comes and goes.

And I have to tell you, the lightness was the letting-go of that fear of mortality. For a guy who didn’t believe in any of this stuff in the first place, all of a sudden within minutes to see that it worked and then minutes to see that not only does it work, but I’m an immortal being, the fear of my life that I…that you carry around unconsciously, and it’s there because every step you take, it’s a biological imperative that you assess your environment for your safety. And we do that, and the more we worry over it, the more we’re looking at all the negative things that can harm you — that’s what you focus on — and it’s a very unfortunate situation. Because we’re so locked up in fear about it, and it’s not a conscious thing that I’m thinking about it every minute; it’s an unconscious program that will operate for you. And it’s the kind of thing that gives you good vibes and bad vibes: that information is reading what’s going on in your world, and then you sense it in your body.

And the instant that I saw this as, “Oh my God, this is a reality. I do not die in that sense,” I let go of that. It was, like, OK, more fearless in that sense, OK? It’s like, OK, life is great, and that worry part or lack of knowing that we live with about “So what happens?”…when that disappeared, man, that was a great enlightening moment. Because it made life so much more easier and more fun without that daily, unconscious focus of fear.

TS: OK. I’m with you, in the idea of if you really know your immortality in the way that you’re describing you’ll feel free and incredibly happy, the way that I believe you–

BL: That’s a good start!

TS: It is. But so, I’m with you there. But where you lost me, just to be honest, is you were starting to…at one point you were using the metaphor of a television. And if the tube in the television’s broken, well, there’s still a broadcast coming. Well, yeah, but there’s not a unique broadcast…I mean, there’s…you know, I’m of course thinking about TV channels and there’s so many available, blah-blah-blah. But is what you’re saying is that there’s like a unique Bruce and a unique Tami broadcast in the universe — a unique all of us broadcast, each one of us — even if we don’t have a body?

BL: Absolutely. Because, you see, when I talk about the iron filings forming to the magnetic field, really what is says is that the shape and structure of matter is influenced by the invisible forces [themselves]. And that we are part…there’s this…the Field is very hard to define in a sense of, “It’s the invisible moving forces.” Yes, and it’s energy. And I say, “Yeah, but what does that mean?” Well, it’s like this orchestration of energy that if it was like a piano keyboard — consider instead of the eighty-eight keys, maybe eighty-eight thousand or eighty-eight million keys long — where you could play any combination of these out of the Field at any one time. So the music is always playing, but your receptors, Tami receptors, only pick up a certain number of these frequencies. Mine pick up a different set of frequencies. There are so many vast numbers of frequencies that the combinations — when you put them in combinations like this — exceed trillions of combinations. Where each one of us is like, if you look at all the energy in the Field at one time, it would be noise. But if you put your filter and block out all the other signals — except your signal’s coming through — then it’s like a television broadcast coming out of the air.

And at the same time, all the television broadcasts are in the air, but you can’t see them. And they’re all here at the same time. And yet, each station has a unique set of frequencies, and that’s how you can pick it up on your television set. And the parallel is each human has [his or her] own frequencies, which are determined by those antennas, and therefore each of us is really pulling out a station out of what would be noise. And out of that noise comes a clear channel.


BL: That’s a good word, and not just a pun.

TS: Yeah. So, when you die there won’t be any physical receptors for the Bruce Channel?

BL: No, and this is very important because….just to bring this back in context, now that there have been so many organ transplants, they’re beginning to find, especially with hearts and heart-lungs, the more tissue you put in, that the recipient of a transplanted organ begins to acquire characteristics of the person who donated the organ. And people used to think, well, that’s cellular memory. And it’s like, no, no, it’s not cellular memory. The cells are living antennas that are still pulling in the identity of that individual! And so, as long as they’re carrying that organ, especially the big organs, their cells have now two populations of cells in their body. One population is the main…is the original channel that…their personal identity. But the organ that is transplanted is pulling in a different identity! And so, when it’s transplanted, the two identities begin to merge in that individual body. So that the person who is dead, but organs are still here, [is] still transmitting to those organs.

So much so, I mean the one that I use in the book that I just think is fabulous is: a young girl received a heart from another young girl. And once she received the heart she started having these very, very terrible night tremors and nightmares of being murdered. The doctors checked back to find out about the history of this heart, and it came from a young girl who was murdered! And these nightmares were so vivid that she was able to describe them to the police, and the police were able to use her description to catch and apprehend the murderer.

And so you say, “Well, how did that happen?” Well, the person who donated the heart, their identity is still playing through their heart and the recipient has now got two stations playing at the same time, hence was part of that experience.

TS: OK, OK. But now you’re Bruce and you’re a corpse, right?

BL: Oh, the dead-body part. Well that’s the dead television set.

TS: Yeah.

BL: The antennas will be there for a short time until they degenerate, but it’s not plugged in, in the sense [that] there’s no power running through it.

TS: Right.

BL: So, your station’s there and your body’s not on.

TS: But, in the Field, there’s still some frequency that we could call Bruce if we wanted to?

BL: Absolutely. I mean we could in a real sense, if we wanted to put the money into it, catalog these self-receptors and assign them to different frequencies, and then you could actually have a read-out of frequencies that you [could] identify each person with.

TS: So here you are, you’re a cell biologist and you’ve now clearly crossed the bridge into the realm of the super-woo. And so, have you made connections with things like, you know, people who can see invisible beings or ghosts or things like that, and how that fits into what you’re talking about?

BL: The fields are still there, and we are sensitive to the fields. But the problem with our sensitivity to the fields is that it’s based on our using our sensitivity. It’s like [a] use-it-or-lose-it sense receptor. Anything in our body that we use and maintain will continue to operate, and things that we stop using will actually degenerate and disappear. And there’s a tendency for all of us…and growing up…to fit in. Young people say they have visions and they see things and stuff like that; they’re almost always encouraged to not talk about things like that and discouraged from actually even going there. So, in our conventional world, we don’t use these senses a lot, although aboriginal people are much more capable of using them because that’s always been their way of life.

But in our Western world this is infrequently used, so there’s an ability to sense these fields — and many people can sense fields. Even…you don’t have to be that weird. If you start to feel bad vibes in a place, you’re feeling bad vibes because your sensory system is reading the vibration of the environment you’re in and telling you it’s not safe. It’s reading these fields. And we all can read the fields, but again, we’ve really cut down our sensitivities a lot, unlike more-indigenous people, who live by the presence of the Field. Who can tell where water is by feeling the Field, and where food is and all these things. Western people have generally not used these traits, and as a result…not that they’re not there, but we’re not really good at it.

TS: Um-hmm.

BL: And there are many who are good at it.

TS: OK. I want to go back to the beginning of our conversation where you were talking about your discovery of how the individual cell is in many ways a microcosm of our whole body. The fifty trillion of us together — we’re a community of cells, as you describe. So, you know, fifty trillion beings all getting along, what you learned from the cells about how we get along? How cells get along and then how as humans we can get along as these big, celled creatures?

BL: Very wonderful insights, because we’re really facing a global civilization crisis at this moment because of our inability to get along with each other and get along with the planet and the environment that has given rise to us. And as a result, our survival is now scientifically in question as we face an extinction — a mass extinction — on this planet right now. Which says in some way we must start to relate differently, otherwise we’re on a course to our own extinction.

And so, it’s very interesting because cells are like miniature humans — they live in this community. And if you understand the nature of cells, all cells have jobs. All cells get health care. All cells have protection. All cells get salaried; they get paid. They’re not getting paid the same. I mean skin cells don’t make as much as nerve cells. Nerve cells get so much they actually have an entourage of other cells to support them. And so there’s this community. And so, what’s really interesting is if you look at the dynamics of how cells relate to each other and how the community operates successfully — to the extent that when a human is blissed out, that means fifty trillion citizens are all blissed out at the same time — [then] we start to understand that cells have an economy, a politics, a program of community that offer us great insight into how we could do the same here on this planet. And actually it’s very interesting because a very old saying from history is that the answers lie within. And truly, in regard to how can we advance humanity to a more successful state, the answers to that actually are to look within the system and see how the cells carry out the same functions that we do. ‘Cause they have the same needs as a person, is what a cell needs. I mean, that’s why people have needs, for air, water, food, all these things, is because the cells need the air and the water and the food and all these other things as well.

And so basically the cells’ needs are our needs. And if we see how the cells meet those needs, and how they do it in the nature of the community, then it’s a template that serves to provide us with information about how a few billion people — relatively small numbers when you’re talking fifty trillion cells — how a few billion people can learn to live in harmony like the cells of the body. So there’s information available for us at every level, from the politics through the economy, etcetera, to assess the cellular community and apply that to our world. And especially the cells’ abilities with technology and their understanding of efficiency and things that we could generally need or need right now to bring health back to our global community.

TS: So Bruce, tell me what the top things we can learn from the fifty trillion cells and how they work it out, that we can apply to the human challenge.

BL: The first thing, let’s just talk about economy because that’s the big problem we have right now. And here’s an interesting fact: that the cells produce energy through their work and their effort, and when they work in this giant community they all have different jobs. The cells have, like, unions. There are heart cells; they do a totally different function than a stomach cell, which is totally different than a skin cell. So when you look at the body, you realize fifty trillion cells — and they all have these different unions where they carry out these different functions, cooperatively working together. And through their efforts they produce energy. And energy in chemical form in the body is a molecule called ATP. And biologists actually say…they use the phraseology, “ATP is the coin of the realm,” meaning it’s units of energy, which are equivalent to money. So it’s interesting. And then I say, “Well, if I want to see how does the economy of the body work?”, then I can follow the trail of the ATP and it will show me.

And what’s really interesting is this: is that, number one, there’s no wealth in the body until all cells have basic coverage. In other words, all cells get health care, they get protection, they’re all paid, and [they’ve] all got their basic needs covered. When the cellular system…all the cells in the system have their basic needs covered, any excess energy then is more or less profit at that point. And it’s very important to recognize that, for example, there can’t be cells in the liver that say, “I want more money and I’m going to accumulate a lot of money here,” while, let’s say, cells in the muscles in the leg don’t have any money; that’s not how it works. Cells cannot accumulate energy until all cells get the basics of life, which in our world would be food, shelter, and protection. If you can provide [those] to everybody, then anything you produce after that is excess to the system.

Now here comes the next interesting part about the economy: every cell can make a large amount of money, but there’s a ceiling. Cells can’t overfill themselves with ATP molecules; they reach a limit of ATP. And then you can be a poor cell but you can…when the system starts to get wealth, all the cells can start earning money and making more and more ATP, and then they reach [a point at which] the cells make a level of ATP for themselves; that’s their spending money so to speak. And anything beyond that goes into a community bank. The community bank is deposits — it’s called fat deposits, actually [laughs], and this energy is being stored. And it’s not for any individual cell — it’s for the system. It’s for the system to fix anything in the system, maintain the system, keep the system running, protect the system over long periods where there’s no energy. And so basically it says, “Every cell works. Every cell gets paid. Every cell can make a maximum amount of money that’s in excess of what it needs. And then after that, all excess profits go to the entire community to do as the community deems best and necessary for the growth and survival of that community.” And ultimately with enough extra material, then you can actually go into reproduction and reproduce the system. If you get the certain requirements of energy for the system first, once you exceed that then excess can actually go into reproducing the entire system.

So basically [this] says, “Look at our world today where there are people, individuals, having fifty, sixty billion dollars, and other individuals living on a couple dollars a day and not living very well.” And you start to realize, OK, there’s something totally wrong here. We live in a very Darwinian world where it says, “I deserve to have sixty billion [dollars] because I’m worth it and you’re not.” If cells did this in the body, the entire system would fall apart immediately; it wouldn’t work at all. There isn’t that kind of Darwinian competitiveness. A body works in harmony, and the whole, giant community of fifty trillion cells [is] the same community. So in our particular world what we have to recognize is, this time of crisis that we’re experiencing right now is a necessary precipitating factor for evolution. And the reason’s very simple: we’re facing the wall. We either have to make a decision here to do something other than what we’re doing because if we continue what we’re doing, we know we’re going to go extinct.

So we are at a point of something has to be profoundly different now to provide for our survival into the future. So we are facing an evolution. And when we get into this evolution, then we really have to understand that the nature of our evolution is not the human individual. That’s not the nature of our evolution. The evolution is the community of humans, [is] recognizing we’re all part of one super-organism called humanity. So, well, we have fifty trillion cells making up a human body. We have six, seven billion humans as the equivalent of cells making a larger body called humanity. So the evolution that we’re facing is, this competition that we’ve lived with for the last few hundred years, especially since Darwin, is actually a very destructive and divisive force. That the human body doesn’t have that; if it did, it would fall apart almost immediately. That we now know that evolution is based on the community, and harmony.

So from a Darwinian point of view — that evolution is based on struggle and competition for survival — we realize, that was 180 degrees away from where we’re supposed to be going. So we look at that harmony and unity of the body and then say, “Look, when country is fighting country, when people are fighting people, if that occurred in the body, that’s called ‘auto-immune disease’ — self-destruction.” And humanity as the evolving structure right now is in a process of massive self-destruction. And in order to pull out of that, we have to recognize, first, our individuality: we are individuals, but we’re individual cells; we’re interdependent with the whole. That all of humans are working as one living system, and that’s what we’re beginning to recognize, especially with the global crises, like, if you pollute the water here it’s going to pollute the water over there. If you screw with the air here, it’s going to mess [up] the air over there. Even if there are people in different countries that are affecting each other, that is like the wake-up call. It says, “First of all, we’re all humans so we all have to work together.”

TS: Now, Bruce, it seems, though, that the fifty trillion cells in my body didn’t have to sort of work this out, and go through an evolutionary process where they moved from power and competition to harmony and cooperation. They just sort of naturally operated that way.

BL: No, there was actually a very interesting developmental period where all new forms of community were being tried out. That was what evolution was about. For the first, I guess, almost three billion years of life on this planet all there were, were single-cell entities. Just single cells living in some kind of very loose community relationship but as single, individual free-living entities. And about seven hundred million years ago, the world was filled with all these single living entities, and the next level of evolution was, what if the single cells came together and formed what we call multi-cellular organisms? That’s what we call animals and plants. Those were all trial periods where each different organism was trying out different kinds of communities and then putting the program to pull the communities together in a memory database of the DNA. So that evolution was a process of trying communities to see if they were effective. And those that were effective are here. Those that didn’t work out very well have become extinct, because whatever way they organized their community, it didn’t support their survival.

So we are like those structures right now. Is humanity as an evolving structure going to survive or not? I don’t have the answer for that. I know we’re facing the challenge. And the answers that I think are going to be very helpful of course are what we’re talking about: finding the pattern of a very successful community that [has] already worked it out and modeling ourselves after that. But there was in fact a trial period, and that’s the history of evolution, with the winners still here; and the communities that didn’t quite make it are the ones that are now extinct. So there was a trial period.

TS: But what you’re describing is that the thrust of evolution is cooperation, not this kind of survival of the fittest, “I’m going to be stronger and dominate.” It’s a totally topsy-turvy view, I think, of the way we’ve been trained about what it takes to make it.

BL: This is so right on and so true, and the crux of our entire world problem because we’ve been programmed — and generations have been programmed — with the same belief of [a] Darwinian world, the constant battle for survival. And that other people or other organisms are going to try to beat you for them to stay alive. So we see this struggle for survival; we bought this as a belief and then created the world that reflects it. And that’s the issue, is why new evolution insights are telling us, my God, evolution isn’t competition; evolution is all based on cooperation.

And it turns out, if you look at the biosphere, the only organisms that are really, clearly not cooperating are human beings. And this is why the environment is in a sense pushing us to an extinction, because we’re disrupting the harmony of the entire biosphere.

TS: Interestingly, in the first half of our conversation we were talking about how there would still be the frequency of Bruce even if Bruce had gone extinct, we could say. And yet this an issue you’re very passionate about — helping humans evolve to be more cooperative, like cells are. Can you help me understand that: why are you so passionate about this?

BL: Because once I started to try to live the life of a cell, which had a little more details than some of the thing we talked about earlier, I started to learn to live in harmony…with myself, with my environment, and finding those people around me. I realized, my God, I have a completely different life than I had in the formative years when I was a professor and all that, [during] which I was living more of the Darwinian world. This other side of this is, like, it is so rewarding and so inviting…to move into a world of harmony and community, and yet it’s very difficult for people because we are innately programmed not to be in that world. We’re programmed to be in this world as Tennyson said, “Red in tooth and claw,” which is the Darwinian nightmare. And the fact that’s very interesting is, we can say, “Well, Darwin was right — look at the world.” And then it turns out, yeah, but you didn’t understand that since we are creating the world, once we put those Darwinian beliefs and create from that point, then the world will manifest the Darwinian competition and threats that we see now. So it’s incumbent upon us [that] if we change this around, the reality of a Garden of Eden is actually at our fingertips. Except that we’re the principle individuals — organisms — that are undermining that possibility for all of us. And, “Why would I be so encouraging of other people?” is…well, personally, I’m personally feeling I live in heaven. I’m creating with an awareness of creating and manifesting a life of my creation.

And if people would understand this, I could see the whole world shifting this way. And this is really what…people have been searching for this for a long, long time. But you can’t get there with the old belief systems that we’ve been programmed with, educated with, because these beliefs are actually taking us off center. And therefore, we’ve hit the crisis of “Can we survive?” And the answer is, “Well, not using the beliefs that we’ve been living by.” And if this all turns around, then I can imagine…if the whole human population [was] part of this one living body — as I said, an individual when they’re blissed out, all fifty trillion cells are blissed out — imagine a world where every human is blissed out in harmony with an environment. I lived that in a smaller piece but would love to see it in the whole world view…and I personally…my excitement and my commitment is, having experienced this, compared to what I used to live while I was on the faculty in the conventional scientific world — and I compare it to this world — I’m so grateful for this awareness that I made a commitment. I said, “You know, as long as the world wants to hear about it, I’ll go out and talk to anybody about this.” And ever since I said that I’ve been on the road forever [laughs].

TS: Um-hmm.

BL: But it’s so exciting because I’ve seen the evolution since I’ve been lecturing on this, since 1985 to now! I can see a rapid acceleration — well, many people are not seeing it — I can see we are rapidly accelerating to a very, very interesting time period coming right now, 2012-time in fact, where we have an opportunity. And it’s going to be a global opportunity to make this evolutionary leap and go beyond where humans have ever been. Or, again it’s a choice: we can continue doing what we’re doing, but it’s not going to be as much fun.

TS: Now you called it an “evolutionary leap” and I know you’ve also used this phrase — and it’s part of the title of the three-part online event series that begins at Sounds True on June 9 — “spontaneous evolution.” So, evolutionary leap, spontaneous evolution — what does that mean?

BL: Well, our conventional teaching has given us a Darwinian perception that evolution is a very slow, imperceptible, gradual process taking millions of years before changes occur. And so we bought into the belief of evolution as this long, long, beyond-our-comprehension time. And, over the years, especially through the work of Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, a review of our history of life on this planet says that perception of this slow, gradual change does not hold up with the facts. That what we find is that life goes on for some period of time very slowly, you know, just evolving and somewhat in a balanced state and then something causes an upheaval. And the result of this upheaval essentially wipes out life, and then we start all over again with new combinations and new trying-out new organisms and stuff like that. This has happened five times on the planet; they’re called mass extinctions. And I also found out they occur virtually instantaneously, and the new evolution occurs almost instantaneously after the old civilizations and old organisms get wiped out; there’s something new starting right up.

So when we look [the] history of evolution, it jumps. It goes along in a steady state and then all of a sudden there’s this rapid change, and then it goes to the next level. It goes along in a steady state and then there’s a rapid change, and then it goes again. So what this means is, is that when we look at evolution, it has a…it’s called actually…the technical term is called “punctuated equilibrium.” There’s a punctuation mark and all of a sudden, like, an exclamation mark, and — Boom! — everything gets shaken up. I consider it like an Etch A Sketch where you create with the little dials…you create an image on the screen. You’ve got this beautiful image and all of a sudden somebody shakes the Etch A Sketch and the whole thing’s gone; you start over again. This Etch A Sketch moment is upon us right now, because scientists fully recognized that we’re not flirting with the sixth mass extinction — five previous ones have already occurred of course — but we’re actually deep into it.

And so when we start talking [about] realistic things such as the fish will be fished out of the oceans in thirty more years, that all the resources are dwindling that have been driving this whole thing, and we’re running out of all the raw materials in a very short time, all of a sudden it says, “Guess what? The changes are going to come and they’re going to hit us very fast — right now.” And so we’re given an opportunity to reconsider what we’re doing and take this jump, and go from this level of how we live on the planet to a much higher, much more compatible way of living with each other and the biosphere.

I equate the changes to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. I said cells are like miniature people. So you think of a caterpillar, and inside a caterpillar you’ve got billions of cells. And a caterpillar every day is eating and growing and growing, and if you were the economist cell in that caterpillar you’d look around and go, “OK, the economy’s booming. We’re all working. The plant’s moving, the food’s coming in. We’re producing, manufacturing. Everything is great. The economy’s great.” And then one day all of a sudden the caterpillar essentially stops eating. And if you were the cells inside that caterpillar you’d be looking around going, “Hey, what’s wrong? The economy’s slowing down. As a matter of fact we’re eating so little food now that we’re laying off cells in the gut; we don’t need them anymore.” And all of a sudden you start to see that if you were a cell in that caterpillar, you’d look around and go, “Oh my God, the system’s falling apart. The structure is falling apart.” They actually…the structures inside the caterpillar start to fall apart. The economy’s ended when the caterpillar stops eating. And if you were one of those cells you’d be looking around going, “Oh my God, the world that I’ve known is turning upside down.” Many cells around you are actually committing suicide — in biological terms that’s called apoptosis. And so you see cells are dying out, the thing’s falling apart and you think the end is happening. And then, in the midst of all this chaos, there are cells — genetically identical to all the other cells — [that] see the world differently. And they start to coordinate: like, “Let’s try this; let’s try something different.” And these cells start to put together a new structure, and all of a sudden the community starts to adapt and create the new structure, which is the butterfly, which is the evolutionary advance from where the caterpillar was.

So when I look at the world today I see it as, we’re in this caterpillar phase right now. The disillusion has started. The thing is falling apart. And to survive is not to rebuild the caterpillar; to survive is to try these new ideas, these new visions…bring them into play, these cells that are…these new-vision cells are called “imaginal cells.” I just love the name: imaginal cells. And there are imaginal cells popping up all over the place. As a matter of fact Sounds True is a clearinghouse of imaginal-cell information. And what’s it saying? It says, “There are other ways to live in this planet, to learn to live in harmony with each other. To learn balance, to bring male and female back together in harmony to work with each other. To learn that our environment is our mother, and that we must treat it this way. It’s an Avatar kind of movie reality that we’re going to have to play out here.” And what’s important about it is, these changes don’t take millions of years; we’re going to hit this big speed bump coming up in the near future, and then the choice then is very clear: either you move ahead or the old caterpillar vision of our Earth civilization is on its way out, whether we’re going to make the butterfly or not. That’s what we’re all active and getting excited about, because the time is now. So it’s not going to take a million years; we’re going to see changes within the next few years…[within] a couple of years, this place is going to be remarkably different than you see it right now.

TS: Which brings me to my last question here, which is about the year 2012. And when I hear you say that the world is going to be remarkably different within the next couple of years, what do you think will happen in 2012, and the world will be different in a couple of years in what ways? What will we actually see?

BL: Well, what’s going to happen is that the way of life right now, which is based on this ultra-competitive nature — scarcity and raping the planet of all of its final resources — will change, where we realize this is not sustainable. We can’t do this anymore. That’s a given fact. And the simple reality is, that means that we’re going to have to change our lifestyle to a completely different way of living. And basically, what I see is, well, the main, precipitating factor is already…the fuse has been lit — and it’s getting ready for a bigger explosion. The way I see it is [as] the economic time bomb that’s basically going to say that the money that we’ve been using may not be valuable anymore. We’re seeing a very shaky economic world right now, and this will be something that will pull the rug out [from] under the structure if we had to revalue what we live on. And it would change the way we live. We’re going to have to stop extracting, and start helping bring nature back into order again because human behavior is responsible for so much global disruption that it’s precipitating climate change. We didn’t create global warming, but we are certainly aggravating the situation with the way we’re destroying the environment.

So it means everything [about] the way we’ve been living will have to turn around. We’re going to have to stop being the users and start returning back to the garden. And when we do this, it [does] a couple of interesting things: it’s going to change our standard of living, big time. We’re going to have a lower standard of living. Now, as soon as you say that, something: “Oh no!” And yet here’s the surprising result: that those [who] have cut back and have changed their efficiency and have generated a lower standard of living, in the biggest surprise of all found that their quality of life has gone considerably greater. So it’s funny, because the standard of living [and] quality of life are not directly proportional. [As] a matter of fact, on a lower standard of living, there’s a higher quality of life frequently as a result.

So I see that we’re going to face some very interesting times here as we try to deal with this massive financial problem. And it’s interesting because 2012 is not the end of the world–2012 is an astrological date. And it has profound meaning because 2012…the Milky Way, the galaxy that we’re in is sort of like a flat dish. It’s, like, stirred up so it’s like a little cyclone in a flat dish, and so you can see the swirls moving around. And so that means if you look at the galaxy that we’re in, it’s actually flat. And the earth has been below the level of the equator of this disk for the last thirty, forty thousand years. But at this point the earth is coming up to a line with the equator. And you say, “Well, what the heck does that mean?” Well I say, “Well, look: what is the difference, let’s say, to life on this planet when the equator is tilting one way in the summer and then another way in the winter?” It’s, like, just like tilting how we respond to the environment around the earth, we change from summer to winter. And I’m saying, well, this is on a much more massive scale; that the energy of the galaxy is a different energy below the disk than the energy above the disk. It’s sort of like a north pole and a south pole, and that we have been in, let’s say, the southern energy for the last thirty, forty thousand years. We’re coming up to the equator and then we pop over — the equator is the balance point — and then we pop into the other pole. And that’s going to cause a change of the energy in the Field. And since the Field is the shaper of matter, when we change the earth’s field we change how the organization of matter occurs on this planet. And we’re part of that evolutionary change to adapt during this time, to take us out of the old structure of the old field and help us evolve into the more harmonious structure necessary for our survival as we enter into the new field.

TS: Bruce Lipton will be featured in a three-part online event series at SoundsTrue.com on Spontaneous Evolution and 2012, which begins on June 9th. And, Bruce, I just want to thank you for this conversation. I have to say it’s pretty mind-blowing, mind-bending. I think you are the most visionary cell biologist I could imagine. My imaginary cells could imagine–

BL: And a happy one too!

TS: And the happiest, I think, my imaginal cells could imagine.

BL: I so appreciate it and I just so appreciate Sounds True because it’s such a great opportunity to get the imaginal-cell information into [the] world right now, when it’s…when we are going through this very exciting time. And I’d love just to say it’s going to be an exciting time. And exciting could be positive or negative, depending on how you view it. And I’m hoping we all see the exciting, positive nature of this evolution that could lie in front of us.

TS: Very good. For SoundsTrue.com, this is Tami Simon. Thank you for listening.

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