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Spontaneous Evolution: New Scientific Realities Are Bringing Spirit Back into Matter

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The following is from a presentation given by Bruce Lipton at the 2009 IONS International Conference and edited by Vesela Simic.  Lipton’s most recent book, co-written with Steve Bhaerman, is called Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here (Hay House, 2010).

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My book The Biology of Belief provided insight into the nature of how our consciousness controls both our genetics and our behavior. Although programmed to believe ourselves frail and vulnerable, we are learning instead that the power of healing has always been within us, for not only do our personal beliefs affect our personal lives but our collective beliefs physically manifest our collective reality.

The upheavals that we presently see in our civilization represent a giant force of evolution that’s in motion. When we focus on any one of the current crises alone, we run the unfortunate risk of missing the forest for the individual trees, failing to recognize that all these crises collectively represent the evolution of community, not of the individual. What we’re evolving now is a super organism called humanity and a reality in which all of us know ourselves to be cells in the body of one living organism, the planet.

The eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee talked about civilizations as having life cycles. In an individual life cycle, something begins, develops, matures, and declines. Toynbee said that a newly forming civilization is like a child who is experiencing and trying new things. This would be a civilization’s period of early development. Next, a civilization begins to adopt the beliefs that work for it, and once it holds on to those beliefs, it enters a period of rigidity. This is akin to the child doing all the experimental stuff but then coming up against the wall of a parent saying “This is the way it is” and internalizing that message.

But there’s a problem with this rigidity: The universe is continuously and dynamically changing. So trying to hold on to a belief leads to challenges that are the result of not being flexible enough to bend with the currents of change. What is rigid begins to decline.

Civilizations have always come and gone. Our particular cycle is unique, however, because we’re not just ending a civilization, we’re also ending a complete stage of evolution. We also have the potential to jump into another stage of evolution, but I must emphasize that we have the potential. We cannot tell the outcome. We may or may not make it, and we must really own that. This doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to see how we might be able to survive but that we should be all the more active in trying to do so.

A Failure of Belief

In a brief review of the timeline of civilizations, we begin with the peoples who lived in harmony with the earth and understood the nature of the planet as both material and spiritual. This is the belief system of animism, which, for example, the Native American Indians, the Druids in England, and the Aborigines in Australia share. When animism faded, polytheism emerged. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans created cultures based on the existence of many gods. Monotheism then replaced polytheism, and Judeo-Christian monotheism prevailed for some time until Charles Darwin introduced a scientific understanding of the nature of life. We’re still living with that belief system, scientific materialism, which views matter as the essence of the universe. Scientific materialism, however, is on its way out, and its civilization is presently ending. The new civilization that is emerging is not just a new civilization but a complete jump in evolution, to something far different than has yet existed on this planet.

A culture’s character is determined by its answers to the perennial questions: Why are we here? How did we get here? How do we make the best of being here? Throughout history, different civilizations have had different answers to these questions. Whenever the answers changed, culture also changed to accommodate the new answers. We call the belief system in these answers the basal paradigm of a civilization, its fundamental ideas. Whoever provides the answers for a civilization also becomes the provider of all other truths for that civilization. So, as the answers change, the truths change, and people’s belief in who bears the truth changes, changing the character of cultures over time.

With animism, the earliest peoples recognized the physical world and an influential invisible world, and a good example is the Native American belief system. How did they answer the perennial questions? We come from Mother Earth and Father Sky. Why are we here? We’re here to tend the garden and to keep harmony in it. How do we make the best of it? We learn to live in balance with nature. For thousands of years, this is the way life was lived. The Native American belief that we come from Father Sky and Mother Earth is actually a scientific reality. We got here because the inorganic material, the chemistry of Mother Earth, interacted with the sunlight from Father Sky and beget the organic chemistry of living systems.

Beliefs changed, however, at about 4000 bce, when the era of polytheism began. Polytheism took the spirit out of matter, whether it was people, animals, or raindrops. Spirit was still acknowledged, but it was coalesced into gods who were viewed as separate from matter. People started to emphasize the spiritual elements of the gods and looked less at the relevance of matter, believing the spiritual realm to be more powerful. Before the material world existed, they claimed, there was energy. It was chaotic, and then that chaos precipitated the material realm. This is what quantum physicists tell us. So the ancient Greeks beliefs held some deep scientific insight. Although the polytheists didn’t bother too much about why we are here, they did arrive at an understanding about making the best of existence: Don’t anger the gods. That was wonderful advice for people who believed the gods could shapeshift. You didn’t know if the person sitting next to you was a god or not, so everybody had to be careful not to anger the gods disguised among them. It was best to live in honor and harmony with everyone.

Four thousand years later, Judeo-Christian monotheism took hold and moved people even deeper into the spiritual realm, now regarded as the beautiful realm, the realm of perfection. Monotheists took spirit off of the planet and put it somewhere “up there.” They also gave people commandments for getting there. The first rule was not to get caught in the trap of matter – in other words, by enjoying this physical life, which is removed from spirit up there. The Judeo-Christian devaluation of matter and the physical plane, however, is reverse biology. Evolutionary biology says that when you do something good for the biological system, it feels good, and when you do something bad for the system, it feels bad. But Judaism and Christianity taught people to avoid getting caught in anything physical or material that feels good. Anything that felt bad became a sign that you were in the right place.

To the question of how got here in the first place, monotheists answered, by Divine intervention. God put the spirit of life into us. Why are we here? To live out plays of morality from which we can learn how to get off this planet with a ticket to go up there. How do we make the best of life on earth? Live by the laws of The Bible. If you need guidance on the laws, turn to the priests, who are connected to the source. Basically what happened, though, is that the concept of infallible knowledge, of absolute knowledge, meant absolute power, and that power corrupted the church, which led people to turn away from its doctrines. At this point the Protestants came in with a different idea: Material possessions aren’t damned but a sign that you are in favor with God. That’s when civilization moved back toward the material realm, although this didn’t change things much because many of the same answers still applied, only with a different leadership.

Civilization changed again during the Reformation when the church was challenged by several entities, including science, and during the Age of Enlightenment, which offered a new belief system, deism. French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau talked about a utopian world and the potential of living on this planet in a harmonious way. His ideas were based on his studies of the culture of American Indians. During the Age of Enlightenment, people honored the idea of the noble savage, of a man free to be on the land and to create what he could from his own endeavors. The founding fathers of the United States were deists, and the founding of the United States represented a way to live learned from the American Indians, who had an American “united states” for hundreds of years that they called the Iroquois Nation. The rules of the Iroquois Nation informed the writing of the U.S. Constitution. The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence states that the country is founded on the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – not Christianity. Like the American Indians, the founding fathers saw God and nature as one and the same. All of them were scientists in the sense that they understood that if you study nature, you know more about God.

But that glorious moment of time was fleeting, and it didn’t change the basal paradigm. There was no new answer yet for the perennial question of how we got here. That showed up a hundred years later when Charles Darwin presented his theory of evolution, and a new civilization began. Science now had a valid understanding of how we got here, which many people, who were raising animals at the time, accepted based on their own observations. They saw that indeed the parents’ traits were passed on to their offspring and that every now and then you get a “weirdo” and that weirdo can create something different. When Darwin said that we got here through accidents of evolution – a change of genetics creating weird organisms that followed on their own path and together led to all the species – that made more sense to people than the story of Genesis. Within ten years of 1859, civilization changed, and scientific materialism emerged. It had new answers for the perennial questions. How did we get here? Through random mutations. Why are we here? We are accidental tourists on the planet. How do we make the best of it? We are living in a struggle for existence that is based on the survival of the fittest. This is a key issue because it says we must go out there and work like crazy because if we don’t, somebody else will beat us and kill us in the process.

The problem with scientific materialism is that it offers an end but no means. It’s the law of the jungle. The means to survival are any way you can get there. You can use your brain and be Einstein or you can use an Uzi and be a brute. Either means can make you a leader. It’s a civilization based on competition, not morality. This is the environment we live in right now. Newtonian physics also failed to address the invisible realm that religion talks about; one doesn’t need the spiritual realm to understand the material realm. As a result, people in this culture accumulate as much material as they possibly can to beat everybody else in the race for survival. Die with the most toys, and you win the game. And the consequences? We have decimated the planet.

As Below, So Above

Something else to consider here is that all the different sciences are connected to each other in building blocks that cement their belief systems. The foundation of all science is mathematics. On top of that is physics; you can’t have physics without mathematics. Physics leads to an understanding of chemistry, and chemistry to an understanding of biology. When you understand biology, you can get into psychology. These are the building blocks of our belief system, and it is predicated on Newtonian physics, which says that matter is primal. So we’re living in a world where the prize is a Humvee!

This whole belief system is changing, however. It began to change when it went a little deeper. In 1953, the concept of a “potential” gene became real when scientists identified DNA. I remember the headline in the paper: “Secret of Life Discovered.” A chemical – well, what do you expect in a chemical, material world? We bought into the gene story and determined there’s one last thing we must do: the Human Genome Project.

But between 1953 and 2001, while the Human Genome Project was under way, people started pulling away from the conventional medical profession. It wasn’t fully working for them, and they began to explore alternative methods. We’ve learned that 50 percent or more of the population seek an alternative, complementary, or integrative medicine doctor over a conventional doctor. People have lost belief in the system. And then the Human Genome Project pulled the rug out. It was supposed to verify the model that genes create life and to show us the more than 150,000 genes involved, but the project finished with only 23,000 genes. Something was amiss.

So the reality is that at this very time there is an upheaval. People are looking for new answers, and what we are discovering reveals something totally different about life. For example, a biology predicated on Newtonian physics, which is mechanical and physical, looks to something physical – that is, chemicals and drugs – to understand disease and healing. But a new scientific reality, quantum physics, says that everything is made out of energy. It is primal to matter and shapes matter. Another myth of material science is that genes control biology, making us victims of our heredity. The new science of epigenetics, however, says that genes do not control our life; our perceptions, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes actually rewrite our genetic code. Through our perceptions, we can modify every gene in our body and create thirty thousand variations from every gene just by the way we respond to life. In short, we are leaving behind a reality of victimization (by our genes) and moving into the reality that our mind – our consciousness, the immaterial realm – influences our experience and potential.

Another myth: Survival of the fittest. Nature doesn’t give a damn about the fittest. You can tell Mother Nature about Einstein, Da Vinci, and Mozart, but Mother Nature will say, “That’s nice, but the rest of your species are destroying the planet, so I don’t care if some of you were nice.” The new theory of evolution is based on cooperation and community, not Darwinian individualism. Our erroneous theories and belief systems have us killing one another and robbing the earth, when it turns out that according to the new science, such competitive, survivalist behavior is precipitating catastrophe. We haven’t understood the nature of community.

The last myth we have to reckon with is evolution as a random process. We didn’t get here by accident. Fractal geometry, a mathematical understanding of the universe, is revealing the truth of the spiritual maxim “as above, so below.” Fractal geometry demonstrates the scientific nature of that belief system, showing that images repeat themselves throughout life.

Back to the Beginning

The beliefs we have been living by are wrong. Fractal mathematics says: There is a pattern in the world, and there is a pattern to your evolution. Quantum physics says: Don’t focus on the material, focus on the immaterial realm. Energy is primal. The rule is that if a science on the lower part of the building changes its belief system, every science above that building block must incorporate it. Biology and psychology have not adopted the new understandings of mathematics and physics; they are out of scientific context and no longer scientific. Quantum biology, however, a new science, examines how energy affects biology, and consciousness is that energy. As for psychology, a material psychology based on chemistry and drugs needs to be replaced by energy psychology. We heal ourselves with our thoughts, our mind, our consciousness, which are more powerful than chemistry. It’s the invisible, immaterial realm that’s powerful.

Galileo said, “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” Our civilization is changing to align with new holistic beliefs. In holism we again recognize Mother Earth and Father Sky as our creators, but we also understand that we got here through adaptive mutation to fit into the garden. Our purpose here is to tend this garden and to acquire awareness because that’s our part in evolution. And to make the best of our existence, we live in balance with nature, evolving a technology that allows us to live on this planet with the smallest possible footprint.

What we’re beginning to learn is that we are cells in a larger organism. At this moment – just like what’s happening in the bodies of many people on this planet – the earth is experiencing autoimmune disease, where the cells in the body are killing each other, and if we don’t learn fast enough, we are not going to make it. Those of us looking for new answers are the future of a new evolution. We are experimenting and investigating how we might create a better life. The only way out is an evolution, and an evolution means undoing the previous structure. So don’t be afraid of the current structure falling apart; it’s a necessary step to get us to the next level. Don’t go into the future with fear but with the promise and reality of fractal geometry. We are returning to the original condition of wedding spirit with matter, the immaterial and material planes, and we will live in this garden with peace and harmony.

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    Ravencrow Feb 03, 2011

    Wow. That was quite interesting. It has helped me to understand these patterns of life and put them together in a perspective outline. Thank you.

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    jimbrauner Feb 04, 2011

    This is a book but also an audiobook and/or a CD series by Dr. Lipton.

    I have listened about 5 times and have concluded this is a seminal work which one can use with any and all rational folks. It may fail with low level consciousness folks but most may enjoy a quantum leap into Spontaneous Evolution by listening. Great to share with older children. It provides an overview of an acceptable 'inspirited' creation which is not dependent on an external deity but rather observation and science with a new mystical conclusion which hit my spirit/soul as well as my intellect. WOW!

    Love it Love it!

  • JeremiahStanghini Feb 04, 2011

    When I first read Spontaneous Evolution, I immediately began re-reading it and taking notes (so as to integrate the material better). There is so much information in this book that when I recommend it to people, I often tell them that I think it should be used as a 'textbook' for the the early stages of life when children/teenagers are first starting to understand the world around them. That is, maybe when they're nearing high school years.

    With Love and Gratitude,


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    JimHWhite Feb 04, 2011

    I am one of those who has had special interactions and now say, because I am a rabble-rouzer by nature, that I no longer believe in God. People stand back and say how can that be, you are a very spiritual person. I say, because of a gift of grace I now know there is God. For that gift, however, I am now spending most of my time, and me a scientist by training, writing books on spirituality.

    Q How do we know there is a God?
    A Because we are still here, after all we have done!

    When I sit down to write it is not just me writing. I write what I did not understand before I sit down.

    Do I know there is God? Yes, but he has a sense of humor!

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    moldozok Feb 04, 2011

    At first I considered taking a few notes to respond to certain statements in this article but, after reading carefully I realized I didn't have the time and my efforts would probably be a waste of thoughtful energy. So, some advice... do your

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    TheRogue1000 Feb 04, 2011

    Hmmmmm, moldozok....nothing like a pointless post and generalistic advice! LOL

    The only thing that I dislike about the article is that I now have to buy still one more book to add to my ever growing reading and reflecting pile. What an exciting time to be alive! Dr. Lipton contributes greatly to the current scientific discoveries regarding spirituality and actual science. Fortunately, he's part of a large and growing community of like minded scientists. Not surprisingly, as has been pointed out, the quantum scientists are beginning to sound like the mystics of 4000 years ago! Yay!

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    nbtruthman Feb 04, 2011

    "The last myth we have to reckon with is evolution as a random process. We didn’t get here by accident."

    Darwinism doesn't say it is random. The non-random information supposedly comes entirely from the environment through natural selection. What Darwinism does say is that evolution has no intelligent directing force (teleology). Fractal mathematics can't supply anything creative and teleological. I think there is some intelligent directing force, and it is required to have any sort of spiritual belief system, but unfortunately there is a huge amount of evidence for Darwinism (evolution = random genetic variation + natural selection). No one to my knowledge has come up with a theory reconciling these beliefs and facts.

  • ElizabethHoward Feb 04, 2011

    During the last few months and after reading "Spontaneous Evolution" I have begun to restructure my belief system. I always believed that our minds controlled our reality, but was a minority; now, I find a new view of this that helps me understand and communicate how this is possible. Thank You!
    Liz Howard

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    winddancer Feb 05, 2011

    I awoke this morning with the awareness that our human organism is suffering from an autoimmune disorder. Then I read this article. For me, this is an example of how we are not separate, one form from another. When new awareness surfaces in some aspect of our greater human consciousness, it's catching. Just as we can destroy ourselves, corporately, when we war against our intrinsic wholeness, we can also be entry points of universal coherence into the entire human organism.

    Is this evolution? Evolution appears to depend on a time line: past leading to future. In the discoveries of quantum science, spacetime is limited to a perceptual focus. As humans in the greater human organism, many of us have experiences which transcend time and space, as are experienced in this material plane. I am one such.

    When we open to the reality that we are more than forms, we allow the energtic repatterning of universal coherence to enter the locked mindspace of our human consciousness. The future evolution, of people living in harmony with each other and all Life, IS. Can we, as individual cells in this organism, be entry points for this reality into our dimensional frequency? We can--if we drop our sense that we are limited by linear time and separate formed identities. We can access the future and, in that accessing, bring a new consciousness to birth in our time.

    Here, with IONS, is an excellent entry point.

    All potentials are being realized simultaneously according to the consciousness that empowers them.

    Alicia Adams

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    corvettelover Feb 05, 2011

    WOW! This is a new eye opening moment for me. I guess I've always felt that I only viewed God with a sence of skeptacism, with love, and now I see us (me) from a whole different light. A view that makes sence to me and now I can immerse my thoughts and studies on all of the views written here and with those of similar ideas or paralells.
    Today, I'm thankful I read the story on AOL about the studies of our 6th astronaut to escape the earths bonds and walk on the moon. Steve Travis

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    gelibird Feb 05, 2011

    Amazing stuff. Isn't this something like the 10 blind men and the elephant? Each one describing a different reality and each right in his own way until the time of full enlightenment when they each realize that what each experienced was only part of the whole. i think the concept of reconciliation- of all the facts and truth discovered down through the ages- is what really is important. Certainly the sense of community allows all variations (mutations) to find a niche and thus survive in an otherwise hostile environment. There is no conflict between "Darwinian evolution" and "Creation" or "materialism" and "spiritualism" . Survival and Harmony are the operative concepts that leads to peace and enjoyment. Blessed are the peace makers they shall be called the children of God and Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth - created by God for his pleasure and enjoyment.

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    coyoteknight Feb 06, 2011

    Thank you for the thoughtful article Dr...

    One quibble though, in your assessment of Egyptian polytheism as divorced from matter, this is a common misunderstanding. The Egyptian gods were seen to be directly identified with the material world as Ra was seen to be the sun in actual fact (although there was more to him in the same way that there is more to my body). This idea was in fact criticized by the Neo-Platonic philosopher Salustius who stated that this view was foolish except if it was meant that the gods were the objects venerated by the Egyptians (idols but also astronomical objects and various natural forms) in the same way that a sun's ray was said to be a part of the sun. I should also point out that Cicero in his book "On the Nature of the Gods", States that there are many theories on the nature of the gods and that one of the most often repeated was that the gods were those things in nature deemed good as with the rain and Zeus and that the myths and beliefs around the gods are mere allegories, something partly mirrored in Salustius.

    I mention this because while I understand that you wrote what you did for sake of brevity, the development of religion is really not as cut and dry as you state above. There are both animistic elements in Egyptian religion and monotheistic elements (Atum as ultimate creator). I mention this because there may be some real useful insights to be gleaned from this inquiry with regard to philosophy and a way to infuse soul and spirit back into matter by following the development of religious ideas back to their roots in the ancient past without reductionist simplification.

    Best regards,

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    puresilence Feb 06, 2011

    So far I fail to understand that why we always want to control environment when inside we are all given up, whenever we are ill we have to run for doctor and when there is a mess in external we want our belief to work. The lost symbol or key as far I understood is our own body and our thoughts, the day we will know how to control our thoughts, our body, our whole perception will be changed. Vivekanadaji has rightly said, Mass and energy are one and the same thing and thus there should be no difference between Sun and us, they should be just two sides of same coin. The only challenge is we have just to witness the conversion before us, then all books no matter how religious they will be no more required to tell us what we are and what is the reason we are here?

  • frequencytuner Feb 06, 2011

    Your work is equal to that of Neils Bohr. Your insights and knowledge are exceptional. You are one of the instruments inducing the very change you speak of.

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    wanderingspirit Feb 07, 2011

    in 2003 my husband and I took an awareness program that very much tallies with dr. Lipton's theory. We are the power, we are capable of anything through our mind, including healing and I did witness quite some achievements during the program, I guess what some would have called "miracles", were it not that we do not believe in that. Our mentor used to say: you go out there and make it happen.

    So I follow dr. Lipton's reasoning and I'm even enclined to say he's probably right about it all, my only question is: how do we know that his theory is correct? After all, we've been exposed to so many theories we were asked to believe in. So how do we know that in 40 years or less someone is not going to turn up and say: "Oh that dr. Lipton's and his quantum physics were a lot of nonsense, no no no, look this is how it is".... No disrespect to dr. Lipton's and quantum physics meant.
    I happen to feel that quantum physics probably provide a more reasonable answer to our questions about the meaning of life than most sciences have so far. At least they make sense to me, let's face it nothing so far has exactly been a success if we look at how we live our life and what we have "achieved".

    For our part, we will continue with what the program taught us: intention + action give positive results, so we go out there and make it happen. And if we feel it isn't working well, we look for other solutions. But we don't complain or whine, considering that a waste of good energy. And we remember that whatever negative influence we might think we're under right now, it is all in the mind, that is to say this is the way we choose to experience it, so instead, turn things 180 degrees and start looking at things from that end.

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    conchgal Feb 08, 2011

    Amazingly (and scary) 48% of Americans believe in creationism. Since we pretty much quit teaching science in school, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it sure does worry me. Dr. Lipton's work, remarkable as it is, will probably never reach the very people who most need to absorb it.

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    samara Feb 09, 2011

    I have loved reading this presentation and I admire Dr Lipton for having the wonderful capacity to explain everything so clearly. Not being a scientist myself, I can easily understand it and feel it. I also feel that it can give to a lot of people who are still waking up, a good insight on where we are now. Especially the part of being in a competitive society rings so true and I personally am so fed up with that. So I feel really positive in getting into this evolution to a better and more loving world.

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    Shakti Feb 19, 2011

    Biologist Stuart A. Kauffman has written Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion, describing a "new" biology. David Bohm delivered Wholeness and The Implicate Order. And Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose propose that consciousness is quantum. These alone can serve to enlighten us out of our current moronic fixation on preservation of the Newtonian outlook. Science faces huge challenges to itself as it approaches the concepts embodied in the aforementioned materiel. It seems that the greatest of those challenges will come from the scientific community itself. While no scientific theory is ever infallible, the challenges and counter-challenges and blatant harsh skepticism that arises from within the community itself does Science a disservice and undermines it's credibility. So, what does that leave us with? No wonder we get infatuated by and hang on to anachronistic rigid belief systems that only hold us back from developing our innate potential.

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