Hay House, 2011
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain
The thesis of Bruce and Steve’s brilliant new book, in a very small nutshell, is that there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that science has moved on but we haven’t. And we need to—fast! The good news is that we can do it because all the tools we need are right here, under our noses (inside our noses too, as a matter of fact).
Whilst our leading edge 21st century scientists are rapidly learning to move—even to dance—in a quantum universe, 999 out of every 1,000 humans are still stumbling around with 19th century maps of the world firmly imprinted in their minds, lurching further and further into crisis.
Yet if we could just open our minds a little, the blueprints for survival are not only all around us, they are within us. As the book’s blurb explains: “…the struggle before us is not against some external enemy but rather against culturally distorted misperceptions of human nature and human potential. These myths, programmed into our collective subconscious, are directly responsible for today’s global crises. Fortunately, the blueprint for our sustainable, life-affirming future is already inside us, encoded in each of the trillion cells comprising our body.”
Anyone who has been involved in psychotherapy knows that an essential first step in understanding yourself is to bring to light the programming—from family, school and culture—that still shapes your perceptions of the world and governs your responses to it. Once you understand behaviour it becomes possible to change it. The aim of this book is to reveal the programming that shapes us collectively and thus shapes our society as a whole. For in understanding—and then consciously changing—that programming lies our best hope for survival.
It has often been said that we have made such a mess of our planet that our species is doomed to extinction—along with many others—without a rapid change in human consciousness. We must evolve to a higher level of functioning if we are to survive and to build a sustainable life for ourselves and all the other life forms on Planet Earth.
These authors maintain that the key to this evolutionary step is to clear our minds of the clutter of old programs and challenge what they call the primary ‘myth-conceptions’ we have all grown up with so that we can replace them with something closer to the truth. Like, for example, re-examining the 19th century concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ and replacing it with a much more scientifically accurate and up-to-date version they call ‘thrival of the fittingest,’ which is how Nature actually works. It is how our bodies work, how cells work, how ecosystems work and how we should make everything work. Just as in Permaculture, all we have to do is to study Nature’s own operating instructions and follow them in all that we do.
Bruce Lipton is a biologist with an extraordinary ability to make his subject interesting and accessible to any intelligent lay person—as anyone who has read and enjoyed his first book The Biology of Belief will attest. This new book recapitulates on some of that earlier work and then takes it to a whole new level. This time he is joined by political philosopher Steve Bhaerman, better known to most people through his alter ego Swami Beyondananda, the Cosmic Comic. Steve brings to the book his wealth of knowledge, his deep wisdom and his irrepressible wit, making it not only a fascinating read but also a highly enjoyable one.
To me, this is one of the most significant, exciting and hopeful books of our times and I urge everyone to buy it, to read it and to recommend it widely.