Reprinted from Eugene, Oregon’s WHAT”S HAPPENING, February, 1991. Interview with David Johnson.
When Stanford cell biologist Bruce Lipton talks about his discoveries he gets excited all over again. A fast-talking, animated lecturer, Lipton seems to be on the verge of going supernova if he doesn’t quickly tell as many people as he can about the “New Biology”.
According to Lipton, there is compelling evidence that biomechanical mechanisms facilitate the phenomenon of mind over matter. The notion that we can influence the actions of our bodies through our attitudes, emotions, and belief systems goes back to the moment the first third-eye blinked, but up until now, the proponents of those notions have been metaphysicians rather than scientists.
Now, Lipton says, there is hard scientific data challenging the genetic paradigm which states that cells are closed architectural units; that we are who we are because of the DNA in our cell nuclei; and that our future is dictated in part because of the genetic makeup of our ancestors. Not so, Lipton believes. He says that the cell membrane is where the consciousness resides – that here on the outer boundary is where the self and not-self come together for a magical interaction.
At this point in his lectures, Lipton turns to the chalkboard to diagram the makeup of cell membranes. He first explains that every cell is microcosm of the larger organism. Apparently, there are 75 trillion of these self-contained copies of our selves running around in our bodies, each with its own digestive, excretory and reproductive system. Instead of each cell dedicated to a singular function – say, a liver cell created as part of a liver – Lipton says that all cells are “robotic” – in other words, blank computer disks ready for programming.
A cell is programmed to respond in a certain way beginning in infancy or even before birth, but it can be reprogrammed to act differently. It is the dynamic of the membrane receiving the information, processing it and sending it to the cell for action that determines the behaviour of the cell – not any inherent, fixed programming. Lipton scoffs at the assumption the “cancer runs in the family”. There is no cancer gene, he insists. Cells go cancerous when told to do so.
By correcting the thinking, we can correct the disease, Lipton continues. We can heal ourselves by changing our beliefs.
Lipton was reached by phone in La Honda, California:
WH: Would you summarize your findings that there are physical mechanisms by which our thoughts and feelings influence our cells’ behaviour?
Bruce Lipton: When a cell is constructed, it is built to work on its own. A human cell can actually survive as an individual entity in a Petri dish. But in a communal organization, cells forego individuality and become part of a community of cells. This community receives commands from the Self (the life force) similar to radio broadcasts. We might not be aware of it, but we have a regulatory impact on our bodies. You see, the cells don’t know if they are in jeopardy, or not, until they watch the nightly news on TV. If we beam negative messages, the cells will respond in kind.
Another analogy is that cells are like fractals (building blocks found in nature that replicate in patterns). We create an elaborate design from basic units of consciousness, and power the apparatus with the vital force. But the vital force is not inherent in the system and not inherent in the cells. Think of each cell as a crystal radio and the life force as the broadcasting medium.
WH: How did you arrive at your theory?
BL: The breakthrough happened when I was lecturing at the University of Wisconsin. I was working on an outline on how the cell membrane functions. Also, I had just bought a Macintosh computer so I was reading a generic pamphlet on computers I got from Radio Shack. As I read the manual and my outline, terms from both – gates and channels, protein transmitters, semiconductors – started to blend together. Then I got it! It all made sense! Cells are like computer chips! A chip is a bit of information and so is a cell. Each has receptors, channels and affecters. The more chips you can process, the more surface are on a cell, the information it can process. In short. the motivation for evolution.
WH: In your lecture, you boldly state that our immune systems can be affected by our beliefs. For example, AIDS can be impacted by attitude. Would you elaborate?
BL: A change in personality can change physiology. Fear can manifest itself inside a person and lead to death. When threatened, cells cocoon themselves. Let’s consider people with multiple personalities. When they are in one persona they suffer from asthma, but when they shift into another, they don’t. One personality is allergic to cats and another isn’t. But all these personalities live in the same body.
AIDS, cancer, and other diseases can be precipitated by fear. Currently we have a high incidence of colon and rectal cancer, and I think one reason is that there is lots of information out that says there is a high incidence. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We see TV commercials that announce that it’s flu season and we should take this or that drug. So we get the flu and end up taking the drug. In a way those commercials are a lot like a witch doctor’s curse.
WH: Your theory would explain the success of visualization, faith healing, psychic healing and Christian Science?
BL: Exactly. Witch doctors in the jungle and doctors at Stanford both need the belief of the patient to heal them. The placebo effect is powerful. If we used the placebo effect to it’s full capacity, the pharmaceutical industry would be out of business. But the way things are now, most research grants are funded by the drug companies, so, not surprisingly, most research ends up proving the need for more drugs. Recently, I decide not to work on projects funded by grants from the drug industry.
WH: Do you see a growth in drugless healing?
BL: Well, I know that when a person has no health insurance they tend to stay healthier than those who do. People believe that they can’t afford to get sick, so they don’t. Drugless healing on a personal basis starts with eliminating self-doubts. You’ve got to start with small things and work your way up. The reprogramming takes effort. There will be relapses into disbelief but the relapses will be shorter and shorter. Once you empower yourself, take control of your life, everything starts to go faster until ultimately you become your own healer.
Bruce H. Lipton, Ph. D.
2300 Skyline Blvd.,
La Honda, CA 94020
Dr. Lipton presented his seminar at the IMDHA Annual Conference, October 22-26, 1992.