Raising consciousness – part 1
In April 2020, BRUCE LIPTON, who was in New Zealand at the time, spoke to UDAY KUMAR about the transition our planet is going through right now, and what we need to do to raise our consciousness to the next level. This is the first of 3 parts of this inspiring exclusive interview.
(After some initial chit chat)
BL: Do you have lockdown where you are?
UK: Yes, it’s been quite interesting to see how the best and worst of human nature comes out at these times.
BL: You know, between us, there’s more to this than just a ’flu scare.
UK: I would love to know more. What are your thoughts, because these are unprecedented times, at least during my limited lifespan?
BL: Well, in 75 years, this is one of the most interesting events I have also experienced. And it really relates to a bigger topic than just the ’flu. It relates to the scientific reality that we’re in the 6th mass extinction of life. Just briefly, 5 times life was thriving on this planet when some kind of cataclysmic event – boom! – almost instantaneously wiped out about 90% of life. Then, evolution essentially started all over again.
So far we’ve had 5 waves, the last mass extinction being, I think, 66 million years ago when the dinosaurs were here, and the world was lush tropics and jungles. Back then, a comet hit near Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, and it was such a big comet that it upended the environment. That’s when the dinosaurs were wiped out, and life was pretty much decimated, and then it started all over again. So, it has been 66 million years since the last one. By definition, a mass extinction event is when between 70% to 90% of life disappears, and this has happened 5 times before this era.
We are now in the 6th mass extinction. Just to give you an idea, the World Wildlife Foundation did a survey of how many animals there were on this planet in 1970, and they did a similar survey about a year and a half ago and found that 63% of the entire animal population has disappeared since 1970! Since 1950, 90% of the fish population in the ocean has gone, so we only have 10% of the fish left on the planet. Scientists recognize that by 2048 there’ll be no fish in the ocean, because of overfishing, polluting the oceans, and destroying breeding grounds.
What am I getting to? The 6th mass extinction – we’ve already lost massive populations. Species are going extinct very quickly now. And the reason it’s relevant to us at this moment is because scientists have recognized that human behavior is causing this extinction. This is not extinction 1000 years from now; we’re talking of extinction within a century.
UK: The pace of extinction that you’re talking about, the rate of decline, seems to be more intense than the previous one that happened in the Yucatan.
BL: Well, yes, it’s working that fast. It’s going so fast that it surprises even the scientists! So, we’re in a mass extinction, and we humans are causing the mass extinction, and if we want to survive as a civilization then, by definition, we have to change our behavior on the planet. We have to rebuild our understanding of civilization.
Since human behavior is causing the imbalance,
then it’s only human behavior that we have to focus on.
Back in time, in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, there was an understanding of a world in harmony, in a garden, and this is what we have to go back to, because we have destroyed the environment around us. We think we can do anything. No! We can’t keep pillaging the Earth, and taking stuff out of it, thinking there’s more to come. We’ve reached that stage. We’re in it right now, the global crisis. It’s not the virus – that’s just a symptom. Let me try to give an analogy: When you look at a picture of trees – here’s one tree, and here’s another tree, but if you pull far enough back, it’s a forest. All crises, whether they are racial, religious, economic, political, or of disease, are symptoms of a world out of balance.
So, what are we going to do about it? The answer is this: Since human behavior is causing the imbalance, then it’s only human behavior that we have to focus on.
Here is a very interesting fact: In Fukushima and Chernobyl, where nuclear disasters happened, there are areas around the sites which they call exclusion zones, meaning no people are allowed. And recently, there was a wonderful video on Planet Earth, in which they showed pictures of Chernobyl. It’s turned into a forest, there’s nobody there, trees are growing in buildings, on buildings, everything’s covered in vines. But the most important part of both Chernobyl and Fukushima is that there’s more wildlife and nature in the exclusion zones than anywhere around them.
UK: Earlier today, I was looking at some videos on Facebook and I discovered that during the last 4 weeks the water in the River Ganges near Rishikesh has become fit for drinking again. So many organizations have been working to clean the Ganges, for I don’t know how long … and after 4 weeks of shutdown.
BL: I have friends who live in Sacramento, California, and they say the air there is the cleanest and clearest they’ve seen it in 30 years, because no one is driving. It’s a big center, it’s the capital and it’s polluted, although not like Delhi, which scares me. But I saw a picture of Delhi just yesterday, and it looked clear like I’ve never seen it. I was there several months ago when it was hazy and smoggy, like it always is, especially when you come in at night, but in this picture the sky was crystal clear blue, which hasn’t been the case in many years. So, there’s something to learn here.
UK: But how do we unwind this? What you’re talking about is very crucial. You’re talking about regaining wisdom.
BL: Yes! Wisdom is always a natural event. Given the opportunity, people wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. They would live in a very different way if given the choice. The programming – that’s the word – the programming is destructive.
When I give a lecture, I talk about the movie, The Matrix, and I say it’s not science fiction, it’s a documentary. Why? Because everyone has been programmed. It’s natural, the reason why is simply this: I go to the computer store, I buy a computer with a brand new operating system, I go home, turn it on, it boots up, and I say, “Great!” Now I say, “Do something! Draw, write, make a spreadsheet.” It can’t. I say, “Why not?” Because I don’t have any programs. I’ve got a computer, and it’s working, but I don’t have any programs, and without them I cannot use the computer. So, first you get the operating system, then you put in the programs, and then you can use the computer.
A baby’s brain gets the operating system in about the last trimester of pregnancy; the brain is beginning to operate in the last 3 months in the womb. What kind of a brain? Well, you can do anything, because it has no programs. When you take an EEG of a person, the brain shows all different levels of vibration: alpha vibration is calm consciousness, the higher one is called beta, and the even higher one is gamma, which is peak performance. But below alpha is theta and the bottom one is delta, sleep. So, between sleep and consciousness there’s a space, and in that space runs theta. Theta is characterized in behavior as imagination. So, kids have a tea party, and they pour nothing into the cup, and drink nothing, and talk about how wonderful the tea was. They ride a broom and it’s a horse, when they’re riding it, in their mind it’s not a broom it’s a horse. So, I say, “Ah, theta, imagination, that’s what it does!” But theta is hypnosis.
Why is it relevant? Well, how many rules do we have to know to be a member of a family and a member of a community? There are thousands of rules. How a father talks to his own child is not how that same father talks to the neighbor’s child. It’s not how he talks to his wife or how he talks to the neighbor. It’s not how he talks to the policeman. Every one of them is a learned, programmed behavior, to conform. Can you teach an infant these rules? The answer is no, you can’t do it, it’s not possible. The book would be so thick, and are you going to read this book to the infant? So, guess what? Nature already planned on that. Nature says, we’ll put the brain in hypnosis. So you watch. You watch your mother, you watch your father, you watch your family, the neighborhood. You observe their behavior in theta, which is hypnosis, so, you download programs on how to behave.
Where do you get these programs? Other people. And when you were getting these programs, did you have the consciousness to filter out a good program from a bad one? No, consciousness didn’t even kick in. You just recorded word for word, picture for picture, what you experienced. So, here’s the problem: Most of us have such bad programming. It’s estimated that 70% of the programming is disempowering, self-sabotaging and limiting beliefs. And it’s just the way your parents behaved; you downloaded it. You had no filter. You didn’t pick the good from the bad. You downloaded all of the programs.
It is not until the age of 7 that consciousness kicks in. Before that, just like on the computer, our lives follow the program, and in the science that I have been involved with, most people on this planet have been programmed to believe that their lives are controlled by genes.
So I ask people, “What is the meaning of that program?”
“Genes turn on and off, they express our life.”
So I ask, “Did you pick the genes you came with?”
“Can you change the genes if you don’t like the characters?”
“And the genes turn on and off?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m told.”
So, I ask, “What is the meaning of that program? You’re a victim of your heredity.”
Why is that important? Because the moment you cop “victim,” you say, “I have no power.” That’s what victim is – no power! So, you give up power, with the perception that you are a victim of your biology. And when it comes to health? You say, “Cancer. What the hell do I know about cancer. Genes cause cancer, I’m a victim, I need a healer.”
So, then I come with modern science, and say, “There’s not one gene that causes cancer, not one. Genes are correlated with cancer, but they do not cause cancer. Take the example of an actress who found out she had the BRCA1 breast cancer gene, and because her mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer she decided she didn’t want to also die from it. And the reasoning was: If you have a double mastectomy and remove your breasts then you won’t get breast cancer. But this is a false understanding, because the same cancer gene affects the uterus and the ovaries, so, you can get ovarian cancer. The point is this: She had her breasts removed. Why? Because of the belief system that the genes are going to cause it – I can’t do anything about it, so I need to get rid of the gene, and I need the doctor to cut out the cells and throw them away. And here’s the thing: 50% of women who carry the BRCA1 gene never get cancer. The meaning is clear – having the gene doesn’t cause cancer. It’s living a lifestyle that is not supportive of harmony and health that causes the gene to come into play in a system that is falling apart, essentially.
Why is this relevant? This belief caused a woman to have a double mastectomy because she said, “I’m not in control; my genes are controlling my life,” whereas the research I did in 1967, 53 years ago, showed that it’s environment that controls genes. A human body is made up of 50 trillion cells. A body is a community, so, when I say “Bruce,” it’s not just one entity, it’s a community. You are a community of 50 trillion cells. Your name is the name of a community. And every day, hundreds of billions of cells die. It’s natural – skin cells are coming off, the entire digestive lining is replaced every 3 days, and that’s a trillion cells! So, how long do you think you can live? Not very long because after a few days things are going to fall apart and things won’t work anymore. And yet we do still live.
Well, anybody who’s alive is alive because, in addition to their body cells, they have stem cells. A stem cell is an embryonic cell from before you were born. The moment you’re born, the embryonic cells are renamed as stem cells, so, it’s the same thing. And a stem cell has a multi potential to become anything; stem cells can replace anything. I isolated one stem cell, and put it in a dish; isolating a stem cell is called cloning because when the cell divides it’s genetically identical to its parent.
What controlled the fate of the cells?
It wasn’t the genes. They all had the same genes.
The thing that was different was
the chemistry of the environment;
the genetics of the cells were controlled
not by the genes but by the environment.
UK: You were doing stem cell research as far back as 1967? I don’t think it was called stem cell research back then!
BL: Do you know why? Because there were maybe only a handful of people who understood stem cells back in 1967. I happened to be working in the lab of a man who was one of the first people to clone stem cells. And cloning means that you put one cell in a dish, it divides every 10 hours or so, so that by the end of the week there are 30,000 cells in a petri dish. The most important point of cloning is that all 30,000 cells came from one parent, so, they’re all genetically identical cells.
I split them into 3 petri dishes, so that there were genetically identical cells in each petri dish, but I changed the chemistry of the culture medium in which the cells grew. And bear with me, because I’m going to come into a circle here, and make a story. So, what is culture medium? It’s the laboratory version of blood. If I grow human cells, what’s the culture medium based on? Human blood. If I grow mouse cells, I use a culture medium based on mouse chemistry.
So, here, since I’d made the culture medium based on blood, I could change the chemical composition a little bit in each petri dish by making 3 slightly different culture mediums. The cells grew in the culture medium, and that is called the “environment.” So, I had 3 dishes with genetically identical cells in 3 different environments. In one dish, environment A, the cells formed muscle, in environment B the cells formed bone, and in the third dish, environment C, the cells form fat cells.
I was teaching at that time – and the curriculum said that genes control life, that’s the way it is. And yet, my research was showing me that, while they all had the same genes, one became muscle, another bone, and yet another fat? What controlled the fate of the cells? It wasn’t the genes. They all had the same genes. The thing that was different was the chemistry of the environment; the genetics of the cells were controlled not by the genes but by the environment.
UK: And that was part of the experiment?
BL: That was the result of the experiment. I was teaching in a classroom that genes control life, but in the laboratory I was discovering that it’s the environment. I was radical, I was too weird.
My colleagues and associates were so into genes that, when I showed them my work, they said, “Aargh, it’s not important.”
The most important part of science is reproducibility and predictability, so I said, “You come in today, and I’m going to put one cell in the petri dish and when I come back there will be 30,000 genetically identical cells. And then I’m going to change the culture medium of each dish and then I’m going to show you the fate of the cells. Why is this relevant? Because I can predict it before it happens, and that is the hallmark of science – predictability.”
But, it wasn’t where people were at. Genes were the goldmine of everything, and I wasn’t talking about genes.
To be continued.
Interviewed by UDAY KUMAR
Illustrations by ANANYA PATEL
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020