Bruce Lipton is the best-selling author of The Biology of Belief and co-author with Steve Bhaerman of the newly released, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and How to Get There from Here. After receiving a PhD degree from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in the early 1950s, he embarked on a career as a developmental biologist and paradigm-shifting medical researcher that has spanned more than four decades.
Dr. Lipton, maybe we should start with the basics. As a global community, we’ve gotten ourselves into “this fine mess” through poor choices and irresponsible actions. What shapes our behaviour?
Human behaviour is the consequence of a large, collective number of personal individual beliefs. The more people who share the exact same beliefs, the more they manifest an energy field which then precipitates a complementary physical field. The way that we’re living and the beliefs that we entertain collectively are materializing as an expression.
The way we’re living today, only five percent of our lives is controlled by the conscious mind—the seat of desires and aspirations. That means 95 percent of our lives is controlled automatically by the “default,” which is subconscious programming, and which is primarily downloaded from observing other people’s behaviour. Whatever our parents, family and teachers said to us, like “you’re not loveable, you’re not smart enough, you’re not good enough, you can do better, you don’t deserve anything—that all becomes part of our subconscious mind’s programming. Then, by definition, 95 percent of the time we’re unconsciously operating from subconscious mind and, in that state, unaware that we’re manifesting the consequences of programs acquired from other people.
On a conventional day we’re five percent conscious of our behaviours and moving towards where we want to go, and 95 percent unconscious and moving towards wherever the program derived from others say we’re supposed to go. The Jesuits knew this 500 years ago. They would say, give me a child and I’ll show you the man. They also said, give me a child until it’s six or seven and it’ll belong to the church for the rest of its life. Which means, give me your first six years and I own the rest of your life. Why? Because you’re going to be operating from the subconscious programs we download into your mind for most of your life. This is how we become cultivated, cultured, encultured and enslaved.
If it’s collective thinking that’s affecting the future of the planet, who or what is doing such large scale, destructive programming?
Our behaviour is based on our beliefs, and our beliefs reflect beliefs we acquire from institutions like academia, religion, politics, the economy and health care. These institutionalized beliefs have shaped and held the world’s current mass thinking. Originally, the current beliefs were very useful in helping civilization evolve; however, our continued use of these beliefs is now detrimental and leading us to extinction. The crisis the world now faces is evidence that these beliefs are profoundly flawed.
Since the 1870s we’ve lived in a world where we seek truth through science. When we ask, “Is it true?” we’re really asking, “Is it scientific?” When opinion is handed down from science, we buy it as “truth.” However, frontier science has recently challenged the fundamental “truths” of conventional science, truths that represent the foundation of today’s beliefs. Though science is changing its truth, the public is unaware of this new knowledge. Simply, we’re living by truths that are no longer valid.
“Belief” is a concept that we most often associate with religion. How does religion fit into this picture?
The role of “belief” in our lives isn’t new stuff—it’s ancient. I’m not a religious person, especially because I think that in part, the institution of religion has led to many of the problems that we currently face. But if you just listen to some of the words attributed directly to Jesus, not particularly other people’s interpretations of them, he offered, “You can heal your life with your belief. You can do all the miracles I can do, but you don’t believe.” This wisdom in light of the “new” biology is absolutely true.
There are fundamentalist Christians in the south who do something mind-blowing and profound—in testifying that God protects them, they drink strychnine poison in toxic doses. And nothing happens to them. That’s kind of miraculous, isn’t it? Other people walk across hot coals. If they fully believe they can, they’re not going to get burned. Questioning that belief in the middle of the walk leads to burns and blisters. In other words, the fundamental truth is that we’re not victims, we’re creators and it’s all based on our beliefs.
You wrote that, “The new biological imperative for humankind necessarily involves the understanding that we’re all in this together and survival of the fittest must now give way to ‘thrival of the fittingest.’”
The current model of life and science is flawed. The Darwinian concept, which is a fundamental cultural belief in our civilization, is that life is a struggle for existence and competition for fitness is the primary drive. If we build a culture based on competition where does it lead? It basically leads to war. That’s a perception of a belief that’s been enculturated and expressed as a competitive world where we say in effect, “Screw the other person.” But the fact is that real evolution isn’t based on that principle. It’s based on completely the opposite—on cooperation. Our fate is linked to how well we cooperate with Mother Nature. If we wonder why the competitive model is not working, it’s because evolutionally it’s the pathway to death; it’s completely contrary to the way evolution actually works.
Ultimately what it all comes down to is that we have to recognize and own our responsibility in creating today’s world, because it’s our thoughts that are manifesting this reality. We must also recognize that 95 percent of the time we’re unconsciously and invisibly manifesting our experiences based on the behaviours downloaded into our subconscious minds.
It sounds a little like a good news-bad news scenario. The good news is that thoughts create and the bad news is that thoughts create. The Universe just says yes, it doesn’t care what we put out there.
True. The fundamental programs, beliefs and attitudes which affect how you’re going to shape your life were primarily programmed into your subconscious by other people. Even though they’re not necessarily correct or life-supporting, they still manifest as reality.
Our institutions are perpetuating old, flawed beliefs which are provoking the extinction that we’re facing. Civilizations end and new ones begin when cultural beliefs fundamentally change. In the previous civilization, where we acquired our beliefs from the church, morality was a fundamental drive underlining cultural beliefs. When we entered our current phase of civilization, referred to as “scientific materialism,” morality was left behind. Science doesn’t dictate morality; science just defines how nature works. Science emphasizes the “ends” but not the “means” to get to those ends. If we try to perceive morality in the theory of Charles Darwin, then we end up in the deep trouble we now face.
Because this balance between a spiritual understanding of the world and a physical understanding of the world has shifted so much, how important is it that we balance our physical and spiritual lives? Where does that fit into this bigger picture?
In the world before scientific materialism, when civilization was controlled by the church, Western civilization believed something like this: I’ve got my physical life now and my invisible, spiritual life is a future after death. When science took over, the Newtonian emphasis on the physical reality left us with the belief in a physical existence, but challenged the belief in a spiritual afterlife. Then quantum physics changed the game. Rather than a physical emphasis, the new science recognizes that the universe is made out of a “shaping” energy called the field: invisible moving forces that shape the physical world. Interestingly, the definition of spirit is invisible moving forces that shape the physical world.
Quantum physics reveals that both matter and energy exists, and they’re both the same thing! The original quantum physicists in the 1930s recognized that the universe was immaterial and it was based on human consciousness. Simply, it’s through our consciousness that we manifest the world we experience. While most people would perceive life on Earth as being more akin to purgatory or even hell, the truth is we’re living in heaven, a place where we can create our dearest wishes. I’m sure most people would say, “I wouldn’t create this mess on Earth.” And I would agree with them, but, as mentioned, we’re only consciously creating our world five percent of the time. The rest of our creation efforts are shaped by our subconscious programming, using beliefs that are actually controlled by other people’s beliefs.
What if you were creating your life strictly from conscious wishes and desires? You actually did that if you ever fell head over heels in love. The period called the “honeymoon” wherein you created heaven on Earth, is a reflection of your creative abilities and, as recognized by science, was due to you operating nearly 100 percent of the time using your conscious mind and not defaulting to the subconscious programs.
There seems to be so much fear out there right now. The 2012 end-of-the-world predictions haven’t helped that. Do we have a reason to fear for the future of humankind?
Most people are in total apprehension right now. What they’re feeling is that civilization isn’t working and our survival is in question. It’s interesting because that feeling starts way below our level of consciousness. It reflects the activity of what’s called the Biological Imperative, the drive that all living things have, not just humans. One of the fundamental drives, of course, is survival. Our biological system is designed to read when survival is in question. The problem is that the imperative is an unconscious drive. People are feeling something individually and collectively and don’t recognize it’s part of the energy of a field that is in change. Operating from current beliefs, we’ve come to the realization that civilization is unsustainable, and our imperative is giving us warning.
As Einstein said, “We cannot solve the problems with the same thinking that created them.” The failing of today’s institutions is necessary because their beliefs have directly led us to this time of crisis. The failing of the institutions is necessary to allow new, sustainable thinking to enter our world. But rather than prompting fear, I see the radical changes before us as the necessary step for our survival and our evolution.
You’ve said that you think there’s mounting scientific evidence that points to an imminent, major evolutionary shift for the human species. What evidence is that? Are we looking at evolution or extinction?
Yes, I realize that science has verified that we’re going extinct, that we’re heading toward the planet’s sixth mass extinction. In fact science has compared the rates of species extinction today with the mass extinctions events in the past. We’re losing species faster today than in previous extinction events. For example, it’s estimated that in 30 years the fish will be fished out of the ocean. The idea of a planet Earth 30 years from now with no fish in the ocean seems like science fiction, but no, if we continue decimating the fish population and destroying the ocean’s ecosystems process, the end is evident and imminent.
Our evolution and survival are based on the existence of a supportive environment. When we alter the environment too much and knock out species necessary in the chain of life, human survival is truly in question. The sixth mass extinction is a scientific reality and the conclusion of science is that it’s due to human behaviour. We have to stop ignoring the future because it’s not that far away anymore. If you or your children are planning to be around in 20 more years, you’re likely to see a major environmental catastrophe. Yet, if we wake up NOW, there’s still time to make a positive impact and help avert what appears to be an inevitable crash.
In your new book, you wrote that, “We are currently in dire need of evolutionary advancement and don’t have time for a slow, gradual evolution.” What does “spontaneous” evolution look like?
Human civilization is coming to a fork in the road and if we don’t make the right choices, our destination may end here. If we make the appropriate changes, jumping out of a belief system that is self-destructive and move into a belief system that is self and nature supporting, we can make a big impact and change destiny by creating one great community of human beings called Humanity. We really must step out of our current reality—out of this self-destructive manifestation—and entertain the creation of a new, healthy, harmonious reality. We’re collectively creating a world, so if we collectively envision a different world, then we collectively experience a different world. The spontaneous part is that as soon as the consciousness changes—at that very moment—Earth changes occur as well.