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Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles
Reviewed by Tobias Bodine on Sept. 1, 2005
How is an olive-and-pimento sandwich like a cell membrane? If this is the kind of question you asked yourself while daydreaming in high school biology class, then pick up a copy of this new book by cell biologist and researcher Bruce Lipton. A rollicking ride is guaranteed as Bruce guides readers through the ups and downs of his personal life, and the ups and downs of cellular life in general, as he raises the battle cry against genetic determinism.
With the publication of The Biology of Belief, Lipton is sure to raise the hackles of mainline science as he offers a cocky challenge to the standard view of the role of genes in determining the traits of an organism. He puts himself in the camp of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the 19th-century Frenchman (credited with introducing the word “biology” into common parlance,) who said that individuals adapt to the environment before passing the acquired adaptive traits on to their offspring. This view is pretty much a no-no in a Darwinian world where adaptations generally have to wait for random mutation
in genetic material before traits take hold across generations.
Lamarckian inheritance sounds a wee bit like those family
behaviors that get passed on from generation to generation, not because of genes but because of cultural learning: You treat your kids the way your parents treated you, and their parents treated them the way their parents treated them because their parents treated them the way their parents treated them, and on it goes (or went). Lipton seems to have no problem with this kind of analogy, and that’s pretty much the point of the book. Indeed, he devotes “Conscious Parenting: Parents as Genetic Engineers”—the last of the seven chapters of his book— to just this issue. This is where he takes a leap from musings about cells, quantum biology, and the pharmaceutical
industry into a discussion of the role of the “subconscious mind” and its self-limiting “tapes” that play over and over beyond the realm of our waking awareness. These “scripts” can’t be changed readily, unless, according to Lipton, we get in there and tinker with our subconscious programming, which is what various therapies and spiritual practices are designed to do. (Lipton recommends a particular technique for tweaking the subconscious, but you have to get the book to find out what it is.)
I was just about to finish the epilogue of The Biology of Belief, but I found myself daydreaming once again. I began to picture Lipton side-by-side with evolutionary biologist Elisabeth Sahtouris on the scientific battlefield. He was dressed as the generalissimo of post-modern biology—where molecules are nice to look at under a microscope, but they provide only part of the explanation for how or why an organism develops in its particular way. As the head of his New Biology platoon, he started singing a rousing rendition of “Onward, Epigenetic Soldiers!” followed by “All You Need is Love” as he marched against the ruling elites of molecular biology. When I woke up, I realized that the world is a richer place because of mavericks like Lipton who risk their necks by challenging orthodoxy, and inspire debate and discussion in the hallowed halls of science.