The Role of the Conscious and Subconscious Mind in the New Biology

Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
Living organisms, from cells to human beings, survive through the integrated activities of numerous physiologic systems that provide such functions as respiration, digestion, cardiovascular circulation, excretion, awareness and immune protection. To understand how each system “works,” conventional biomedical sciences disassemble organisms to study their molecular components. Through this process of reductionism, science created the ‘medical model,’ a belief that life is derived from a biochemical machine controlled by genes. As a research scientist and former medical school professor, I actively supported and endorsed the fundamental belief that genes ‘control’ life. The primacy of genes in the unfoldment of life is based upon one of science’s most fundamental principles, The Central Dogma. The dogma, defined by Francis Crick, co-discoverer with James Watson of the genetic code, describes the flow of information in biological systems: DNA>RNA>Protein. Accordingly, genetic DNA blueprints which codify our physical bodies, and consequently our lives, represent our source. Information encoded in the DNA is then translated into RNA molecules. The short-lived RNA versions of genes represent the actual molecular templates used in assembling proteins. Proteins, the final product derived from the DNA, are the complex molecular building blocks that collectively form our bodies and provide for our behavior. Based upon this dogma, the prevailing medical model emphasizes that the character and quality of human life is derived from DNA programs comprising our genome. Our strengths, such as artistic or intellectual abilities, and our weaknesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer or depression, represent traits that are presumably preprogrammed in our genes. Thus we tend to perceive life’s attributes and deficits, as well as our health and our frailties, as merely a reflection of heredity. This philosophy fosters the idea that both disease and disease represent an inherent inability on the part the body to heal itself, and that remediation relies upon the administration of drugs. Hence the name medicine. Interestingly, the word dogma is defined as a belief that is based upon religious reasoning rather than scientific fact. Astonishingly, one of Science’s foundational pillars, The Central Dogma, which declares that genes ‘control’ life is by definition and in reality, merely a ‘religious belief.’ Though the power of genes is still emphasized in current biology courses, textbooks and mass media, a radically new understanding is emerging at the frontiers of cell science. New findings reveal that the dogma concerning genetic control is wrong. When the concepts of the ‘new’ science are integrated into mass consciousness, they will profoundly change the course of human civilization. The first research revealing that genes did not ‘control’ biology was published a hundred years ago, long before the relevance of DNA was even understood. In those early days of cell research, many experimenters traced the fate of enucleated cells. Enucleation is the process of removing a cell’s nucleus, the organelle that contains its genome. In many organisms, enucleated eggs can divide and form a blastula, an embryological stage consisting of forty or more cells. In enucleation experiments, the resulting embryonic cells possess neither nuclei nor genes. Enucleated, gene-less cells can survive for two or more months while maintaining strict regulation of their behavioral mechanisms. They maneuver through their world seeking food, digesting it, and excreting wastes, breathing, avoiding toxins and socializing with other cells. If these cells possess no genes…then what ‘controls’ their behavior??? Remember those proteins, the molecular building blocks comprising the body’s cells? Well, proteins express a unique behavior—they can change their shape. This is the secret to life! The significance is that in changing its shape, a protein moves…in so doing, it expresses a behavior. Cells harness the forces of

moving protein molecules to generate the behaviors of living organisms. The complexity of life is derived from the orchestrated activity of protein movements that provide for respiration, digestion and muscle contraction among others. However, there is an additional important factor regulating protein movement: Proteins only change shape in response to specific activating signals from the environment (i.e., the whole Universe). Behavioreliciting signals range from the physical (mechanical or chemical influences) to the energetic (energy fields and vibrational resonance). Consequently, the behavior of a cell (the collective activity of its proteins) is a reflection of, and directly connected to, its environment. The visible units of heredity are the chromosomes. In the massive chromosomes, the strands of DNA containing the genes are encased in sleeves of protein molecules. The DNA strand must be exposed in order to “read” the gene blueprint. The regulatory proteins comprising the DNA’s sleeve must change their shape and detach from the DNA to expose the selected gene. What causes a protein to change shape? Environmental signals. So what ultimately ‘controls’ gene activity? Environmental signals! Cell behavior and gene activity are both regulated by the environment perceived by the cell. Perception is the process by which a cell becomes aware of an environmental stimulus and then elicits a behavioral response. The outer and inner surfaces of the cell’s membrane (skin) is lined with antenna-bearing receptor proteins. Cell receptors, the molecular equivalents of eyes, ears, nose, taste, and touch organs, monitor environmental signals and provide the cell with an awareness of their world. Specific environmental signals cause “complementary” proteins to change their shape, producing life-sustaining responses. The collective signals defining an environment directly select gene programs necessary for the organism to survive in that environment. For the first three billion years of life on Earth, the biosphere consisted of only single-celled organisms such as amoebas, paramecia, yeast, algae and bacteria. Six hundred million years ago individual cells began to enhance their survival by assembling into small colonial groups. Communal life offered two important survival advantages: 1) the collective “awareness” of communal cells offers greater survival opportunities over the limited awareness possessed by single, free-living cells; and 2) it is energetically more efficient to live in community…two can live as cheaply as one. In cell communities consisting of small numbers of cells, each cell is able to effectively read and respond to environmental signals. However, in larger communities, cells in the middle of the crowd are unable to efficiently communicate with the prevailing external environment. This problem was resolved by creating a higher order of communal organization. Instead of each cell carrying out all of its own survival-requiring tasks, cells in larger cell communities became more efficient by expressing specialized functions. Through the process of differentiation, specialized cell types such as skin cells, heart cells, bone cells, muscle cells and nerve cells, among others, evolved from common progenitor (ancestor) cells. Each cell type contributes a specialized service supporting the survival of the community. For example, nerve cells evolved to organize and coordinate the activities of the individual cells comprising the community. Nerve cells ‘read’ environmental signals, interpret them, select appropriate behaviors and then send behavioral directives to the cellular population. While you might perceive of yourself as a single entity, in truth, you are a highly integrated organization of 50 trillion individual cells living in a bustling community beneath your skin. Your brain and nervous system represent a subset of cells whose function is to perceive and interpret environmental signals and then coordinate the functions of the body’s fifty trillion cells. We are born with a genetically preprogrammed set of life-sustaining perceptions called instincts. Instincts represent perceptions provided by nature. From mid- gestation onward, our brains are wired for learning, creating new perceptions from environmental experiences. These ‘learned’ perceptions are collectively

ascribed to nurture. As you are undoubtedly aware, not all learned perceptions are necessarily accurate. Many perceptions we hold about the world are incorrect. Consider for example, the perception that genes ‘control’ biology. That is in fact, a misperception. Learned perceptions may be correct or incorrect. Consequently, we may accurately refer to acquired ‘perceptions’ as beliefs, with the assumption that they represent “truths.” Since ‘perceptions’ control behavior and gene activity, then it is logical to conclude that in humans, beliefs control biology. The “secret of life” is BELIEF. Rather than genes, it is our beliefs that control life…Oh ye of little belief! Additionally, no two people are biologically the same. Each human is unique in that our cells possess a distinctive set of specialized environmental receptors. A subset of these receptors studied in medicine are called, interestingly enough—self-receptors. Though every human shares identical cell types and a common anatomy, each is a distinct individual defined by the particular spectrum of the environment their self-receptors ‘perceive.’ Each human being is a ‘one of a kind’ protein complex specifically complementing their unique perceptual window of the environment…the Earth, the planets and the stars. This new perspective of human biology does not view the body as just a mechanical device ‘controlled’ by genes, but rather incorporates the controlling influence of a mind and spirit. It should be noted that there are, indeed, individuals whose health is negatively impacted by faulty genes and chemistry acquired from errors called birth defects. However, these individuals represent less than 5% of the population. Greater than ninety five percent of humans possess an adequate genome enabling them to experience a healthy, happy and productive life. Diseases in this majority of the population cannot be attributed to preexisting genetic and biochemical defects. Conventional medical doctors adhere to the medical model, which envisions human disease to be derived from a fundamental frailty of the body’s physical-chemical mechanisms. Complementary and energy medicine practitioners focus on the environment and energy fields influencing the nervous system as the controlling mechanism of life, not the genes. The effectiveness of complementary healing modalities is that they support but do not interfere with the body’s own innate healing abilities. We possess an inherent recuperative power to heal the body without the use of drugs or surgery. The new insights into how perceptions control biology is fundamental for all healing, for it recognizes that when we change our perceptions (beliefs) we send totally different messages to our cells enabling an effective reprogramming of their expression. The new-biology reveals why people can have spontaneous remissions or recover from injuries deemed to be permanent disabilities. Now here’s some significant insight: though every cell is innately intelligent and can survive on its own when removed from the body, within the body, each cell foregoes its individuality and becomes a member of a coherent multicellular community. By definition, a community is an organization of individuals committed to supporting a shared vision. Consequently, while every cell is a free- living entity, the body’s community accommodates the wishes and intents of its ‘central voice,’ the character we perceive as the mind and spirit. When you have a thought or perception, that vision is “broadcast” to all of your cellular residents. It is as if your cells are all tuned to see the TV news of the day. Your eyes are the camera, your thoughts the voice of the anchorman. Your cells are concerned with what you see because they depend on your life for their lives. Your joys are their joys—your fears are their fears. When the mind perceives that the environment is safe and supportive, cells are preoccupied with growth and maintenance of the body, keeping us in a state of health. Perception of survival-threatening situations causes cells to forego normal growth functions and adopt defensive, ‘protection’ postures. The body possesses two fundamental protection systems. The adrenal system mobilizes the musculoskeletal system (arms and legs) for “fight or flight” defenses against external environmental threats. In contrast, the

immune system is designed to protect the body from internal environmental threats posed by viruses, bacteria, toxins, parasites and cancerous cells. The body’s energy resources normally used to sustain growth are diverted to empower protection responses during periods of perceived distress. Simply, growth processes are restricted or suspended in a stressed system. Bodily energy reserves are distributed to either the immune or adrenal systems, based upon the source of the perceived threats. In response to infections or other diseases, bodily energy reserves are directed to the immune system. The lowered availability of bodily energy during these stresses produces a tiredness that causes us to rest during the restorative period. However, if perceived threats are from the external environment, the body’s energy flow is directed to the arms and legs, the first line of defense. Distributing all available energy to the musculoskeletal system removes resources required for growth processes and immune system function. Think of it this way, if you have a bacterial infection and are also being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, to which protection system would you direct your energy reserves: the immune or adrenal systems? The elevation of fight or flight adrenal stress hormones in the body overrides and suppresses the function of the immune system. Physicians take advantage of this system by injecting stress hormones into patients who receive tissue or organ grafts, in order to suppress the immune system and prevent rejection of the transplant. While our biology readily accommodates brief (acute) bouts of stress, prolonged or chronic stress is debilitating. The energy demands of prolonged protection response interfere with required body maintenance, leading to dysfunction and disease. It is particularly relevant when perceived threats are from the external world, the higher levels of stress hormones not only shunt growth, they deactivate the immune system functions. This is why sustained familial and professional pressures are so debilitating—the resulting inhibition of the immune system opens the door for infectious diseases and cancer. The perceptions of life we hold in our minds control our growth and protection behaviors. The mind resembles the driver of a vehicle. With good driving skills, a vehicle can be maintained and provide good performance throughout its life. Bad driving skills generate most of the wrecks that litter the roadside or fill our junkyards. Employing good “driving skills” in managing our behaviors and in dealing with our emotions and perceived stresses should offer a healthy, happy and productive life. In contrast, inappropriate behaviors and dysfunctional emotional management, like a bad driver, stresses cellular ‘vehicles’ and interferes with performance and provokes a breakdown. Are you a good driver or a bad driver? Before you answer that question, realize that there are two separate minds creating the body’s controlling ‘central voice.’ The (self) conscious mind is the thinking you, it is creative and expresses free will. Its supporting partner is the subconscious mind, a database of reflexes and learned perceptions. Though some of its programs are derived from genetics (instincts, nature), the vast majority are acquired through our developmental learning experiences (nurture). The subconscious mind is not a seat of reasoning or creative consciousness; it is strictly a stimulusresponse device. When an environmental signal is perceived, the subconscious mind reflexively activates a previously programmed behavioral response…no thinking required. The subconscious mind is a programmable autopilot that can navigate the vehicle without the observation or awareness of the spiritual ‘pilot’ (conscious mind). While the subconscious autopilot is controlling behavior, consciousness is free to dream into the future or review the past. The dual-mind system’s effectiveness is defined by the quality of perceptual programs stored in the subconscious. Essentially, the person who taught you to drive molds your driving skills. For example, if you were taught to drive with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake, no matter how many vehicles you own, each will inevitably express premature brake failure. Similarly, if our subconscious mind is programmed with inappropriate behavioral responses to life’s

experiences, then our sub-optimum ‘driving skills’ will contribute to a life of crash and burn experiences. Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death, is directly attributable to mismanaging stress. The fundamental perceptions or beliefs we hold about life are down-loaded into the subconscious mind during our first six years of life by simply observing the behaviors and attitudes of parents, siblings, peers and teachers. Did your early developmental experiences provide you with good models of behavior to use in the unfoldment of your own life? Simply, are you a good driver or a bad driver? The answer is difficult to assess, for in our conscious creative mind we may consider ourselves as good drivers, however self-sabotaging or limiting behavioral programs in our subconscious, unnoticeably, undermine our efforts. The insidious part of the autopilot mechanism is that subconscious behaviors are programmed to engage without the control of, or observation by, the conscious self. Since most of our behaviors are under the control of the subconscious mind, we rarely observe them or much less know that they are even engaged. While your conscious mind perceives you are a good driver, the unconscious mind, which has its hands on the wheel most of the time, may be driving you down the road to ruin. As we become more conscious, and rely less on subconscious automated programs, we become the masters of our fates rather than the ‘victims’ of our programs. Conscious awareness can actively transform the character of our lives into ones filled with love, health and prosperity by its ability to rewrite limiting perceptions (beliefs) and self-sabotaging behaviors. For more information visit:

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