- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Hay House; 3 edition (August 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401926312
- ISBN-13: 978-1401926311
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here Paperback – August 1, 2010
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— Gregg Braden, New York Times best-selling author of The Divine Matrix and Fractal Time
“Spontaneous Evolution is a world-changing book that offers a heartening view of humanity’s destiny. Built on the foundation of the latest discoveries in science, it points us in the direction of functional politics, sustainable economics, and individual responsibility in the context of an interdependent community.”
— Thom Hartmann, author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight
“This wise and thoughtful book is a powerful antidote for anyone who is pessimistic and depressed about our future and the challenges we face as humans.”
— Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing The Future Can Shape Our Lives
About the Author
Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority in bridging science and spirit and a leading voice in new biology. A cell biologist by training, he taught at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University. Author of The Biology of Belief, he has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national and international conferences.
Steve Bhaerman is an author, humorist, and political and cultural commentator, who’s been writing and performing enlightening comedy as Swami Beyondananda for over 20 years. A pioneer in alternative education and holistic publications, Steve is active in transpartisan politics and the practical application of Spontaneous Evolution.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Part I we learn all about how we are programmed with certain beliefs, as we are in the hypnogogic state as children. Our unconscious perceptions (which influence 95% of our behavior!) are formed and these later control our behavior: this happens at the cellular and human level. This is why positive thinking can only do so much, since it stems from the self-conscious mind (which influences a mere 5% of our behavior). As the authors state, "Perhaps instead of original sin, we should be talking about original misperception."
In Part I we are also given the history of the balance between matter and spirit that our paradigms have reflected--everything from animism (8,000 BC) to neo-darwinism (1953) and most recently the discoveries learned from the Human Genome Project. The premise of the book is that around 2012, we will have a new paradigm, called "Holism." In other words, we as a people need to come together and work together in harmony just as well as our cells work together for the good of the body. 700 million years ago, single-celled organisms realized they could live longer and better if they worked together intelligently as one organism. We are now at that pivotal crossroads on the macrocosm level: either we all work together in harmony, or we as a race will die!
Part II breaks four myths in our scientific paradigm: The idea that the physical world we see is all there is; the survival of the fittest concept; the idea that we are victims of our genes and that genes are our destiny; and the concept that evolution is random.
Part III is all about the new paradigm of Holism, in which we manifest our "humanifest destiny." A forecast for a very optimistic future is given, based on societal trends.
The most important and timely chapter is "A Healthy Commonwealth," since it exposes how corrupt and unfair our current banking system is, in which the fractional reserve system allows banks to make money out of thin air. As this book explains in more detail, it works like this: Say you get a loan for $1,000. The bank gives you 10% of the loan from money it has ($100) and creates the rest, 90% (in this case $900) out of thin air. Most money is no more than a few digits on a computer! But here's where it gets really interesting: You are supposed to pay back $1100 (if the interest is 10%). But that extra $100 was never created.
This means that there is simply not enough money made for everyone to pay back their loans! For the banks, it is hardly a problem as long as collateral is involved: They get to take a foreclosed house back, for much, much more money than what they invested--since 90% of the money they lent you was created out of air. (Gee, wish I could do that!)
What we need is money based on real wealth. A compassionate banking system in which money is backed by value instead of created out of debt will be the foundation for global prosperity. No more indentured servants! This book offers a model for that.
The authors use a lot of analogies, stories, facts and humor to prove their points. Throughout the text, there is a comparison of what happens at the microscopic level of cells to what is happening to us as humans. Our innate desire to survive will enable us to make the quantum leap taken by cells millions of years ago. At the end of reading it, you will be convinced that indeed, there is great hope for humanity, despite all the "darkness before the dawn."
Susan Schenck, author of The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn't Work
Now, I'm a scientist by training and profession--I work at Cornell university's particle accelerator--and by now I have a pretty good sense of when something is and isn't supported by actual scientific evidence. I'm not an atheist (nor am I a "believer") and I don't hold with the notion that only matter matters, nor with the thought that if something isn't objectively proven by scientific experiment it isn't "real".
However . . . in my opinion, one of the weaknesses of The Biology of Belief was that it often jumped a lot of steps from initial evidence and discovery and acquaintance to end-result. For example, OK, the membrane is the brain of the cell, and uses receptor and effector molecules to receive input from the outside and turn that into action, response. Check. Got it. Well established in the book and very enjoyable to read about. Mind blowing, really! I loved it. But then, there is talk about receiving electromagnetic information, in addition to chemical cues (such as hormones). OK. Cool. But what sort of EM? How do we know this? Yes, EM is fantastically more suited to information processing vs. chemical, but what EXPERIMENTS were done to probe the EM reception of cells? None were mentioned.
And, BAM! Suddenly we've jumped to BELIEF. Belief is the communication with our cells via an EM field. (Or maybe it's THE FIELD! OMG!) OK. Listen, it's not that I disbelieve this notion. I suspect there's something to it. And in my own life I've directly, personally experienced the power of my "mind-set" over my perceptions and wellbeing. I get it. I'm not trying to be a scoffer or a "debunker". Really, Im not. But, if you want to claim that your book is based on "new science" then, YOU'VE GOT TO SHOW ME THE SCIENCE. Otherwise, I can read any number of exciting and mind-blowing new age type books (and I'm not knocking the term "new age", by the way)--books that are very light on serious proof and scientific evidence, and very heavy on the message and meaning and what-we-need-to-do and how the world is all screwed up in this way or that way.
So, that was the weakness of The Biology of Belief, in my humble opinion. There were definite jumps in the evidence trail where you got taken by helicopter to a higher level. That doesn't make it untrue, but it does make it unscientifically grounded. Or at least undocumented.
I expected that Spontaneous Evolution was going to address these gaps. I wanted to hear MORE MORE MORE about epigenetics and evolution and experiments and etc. and etc. And, to be fair, to some extent, Spontaneous Evolution delivered on that. I was thrilled to read about Cairn's experiments with bacteria that showed that they could, in times of environmental stress, turn on a sloppy DNA copying mechanism that resulted in a great many more mutations than normal. And directed mutations, directed toward one specific gene that wasn't doing its' job. I loved it. Good stuff. And there was some good stuff about the evolution from primitive bacteria, how they formed colonies to better survive, and how these then became the more complicated cells that have a nucleus and organelles and so on. And then these form multi-celled organisms, and finally that organisms can be thought to be forming a super-organism: humanity. OK. Fine. But, honestly, you've just gotten about as much scientific content from my brief description as was provided in the book. If the Biology of Belief could be said to be more about exploration and explanation, Spontaneous Evolution is more about presentation: a summary and "big picture" of Dr. Lipton and Steve Bhaerman's BELIEFS.
Beliefs are fine. OK. But the notion that this book is different than other "New Age Fluff" because it is grounded in science is optimistic at best, and more or less incorrect in my opinion. The beliefs are HARMONIOUS with science, in my opinion, and I share many of them. I'm not trying to knock them! But, I wasn't expecting a book of presentation of beliefs. I was expecting something more, something different, something a lot more like The Biology of Belief.
Oh, and can I just complain about the writing style for a minute. Maybe it came from Mr. Bhaerman, or maybe Dr. Lipton just didn't keep as close a reign on his whimsy as before--or maybe I was in a less forgiving mood than before--but for whatever reason, the constant neologisms (nay, malapropisms might be more apt) really got under my skin. "Thrival of the Fittingest" (seriously). And "Scare-City" (for scarcity). And preverberation (for pre reverberation). And "mine-ing" for corporations saying MINE MINE MINE. They are "mining". Get it? And "from Lamb-o to Rambo" (for Jesus lamb of God, to law of the jungle where John Rambo rules.) And here's a typical Bhaerman-ism "When your only intention is looking out for number one, everyone and everything else gets treated like number two." (from "Swami Beyondananda"). Seriously, it felt like any time they COULD mess with a word, they DID mess with a word. I found it distracting and annoying.
Moving on, let me talk about quantum mechanics. First, yes, the wave function is the governing description of the particle at the quantum scale. But, physicists are rolling their eyes everywhere (or would be) on finding out that this means that "matter doesn't exist". Sorry, but that's not what a physicist will tell you. And it's not what Einstein meant when he talked about the governing field of a particle. In a very real sense, the wave function IS the particle, or is a description of the particle. It is not a negation of the notion of matter! I will agree, however, that it IS a negation of the Newtonian conception of matter as a hard billiard ball that is always at a specific place with a specific momentum. But, just because the OBSERVATION affects the particle--collapses the wave function--that DOES NOT prove that it was the CONSCIOUSNESS of the observer that did it! Honestly, I have no idea why physicists have been letting that get smuggled into things for so long now! In the Shrodinger's Cat paradox, for example, the observation IS THE GEIGER COUNTER. That is where the transition from mico to macro realms takes place. There is no need to invoke the consciousness of the cat or of the human who eventually opens the box. Feynman alludes to this in his Lectures when he says that nature doesn't care if we look at the data or not.
So, that simple fact of the observation collapsing the wave function does not prove that the consciousness is a co-creator of reality. However, it does not DISPROVE it either. And, indeed, there are experiments--real valid scientific experiments--that suggest that human intention can and does affect reality. I highly recommend Dean Radin's The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena for more information on this. But, anyway, the point is that without actual experiment you can't make the LEAP from one thing to the other and call it "scientific" just because your leaping off point was vaguely scientific. Clear?
And this is precisely what Spontaneous Evolution does far FAR too often. I wanted to LOVE this book. I was really looking forward to it. But I only can say that I like it. It's a decent and very ambitious overview of much enlightened "new age" "new science" type views. If you don't really know what I mean by this, you'll probably like this book a lot more than I did.
Anyway, here is a specific example where I felt REALLY let down:
HOW DID WE GET HERE? THE HOLISTIC VIEW
Cosmologists agree that before the appearance of matter the Universe was comprised of an entangled matrix of invisible energy referred to as the field. After the Big Bang, estimated to have occurred 15 billion years ago, physical matter precipitated out of that energy field and has been entangled with it ever since.
The principles of quantum mechanics emphasize the primacy of energy fields in their influence over matter. Consequently, the Universe's matter is organized by information, represented as energy patterns contained within the field. The principles of quantum mechanics lend support to Socrates' notion that invisible forms, or souls, are responsible for shaping the physical realm.
Because the field's information existed prior to the material world, we can easily entertain the notion of CREATIONISM in which an organism's form existed in the field as a defined energy pattern before the physical organism appeared on the planet.
Over a period lasting billions of years, Earth's physical matter gradually assembled into complex physical forms that complement the field's invisible information patterns. In linear time, the first living organisms to appear on the planet were simple bacteria. Through the use of adaptive mutation mechanisms and epigenetic modifications, primitive cells were able to select and alter their genetic code in order to better accommodate their environmental niches. Heredity-modifying processes provided living organisms with a mechanism to continuously adapt to new and ever-changing environments.
The time-dependent process of assembling physical matter into cells followed by the assembly of cells into complex organisms, such as humans, represents the linear process of evolution. Therefore, it appears that the origins of the biosphere's organisms are derived from both creation and evolution processes.
Got that? It's simple. Creationists and evolutionists are both right. And so was Socrates. And any physicist will affirm this. . . . err, right? Won't they? Well, no, actually, you'd lose even the cosmologist certainly by the point of Socrates' notion of forms and souls, and probably before that. Maybe this is right! Maybe this is EXACTLY how it "really" is. But, it ain't science, my friend. Not even close. Science fiction more like. And, don't get me wrong. I love science fiction. But, personally, I do NOT think that the T-Rex was sitting in "the field" at the big bang, as a sort of Socratic form. Also, I've never heard about "the field" in relation with the big bang. Maybe it's just because I haven't studied quantum cosmology all that carefully yet. Or maybe it's because it's not a generally accepted term. In any case, if you liked what you just read, then you'll love Spontaneous Evolution. But, if, like me, you find the above unsatisfying, you will find a lot more of it in this book. Be prepared. (Or just buy The Biology of Belief instead.)
Also, I was very disappointed that Dr. Lipton set up a sort of straw-man of current evolutionary theory by saying that mainstream evolutionists think that evolution is random, and akin to a thousand monkeys typing for a thousand years and eventually producing Hamlet or something. Not so. Mutations are random, they would say, yes. But selection is NOT. That is a strict function of environment and fitness. Mr Dawkins' "Climbing Mount Improbable" comes to mind. And please note that I am NOT a fan of Dawkins. (And I was very interested to read in Spontaneous Evolution that the CEO of Enron's favorite book was The Selfish Gene.)
Anyway, I am probably giving more of a negative impression than I really want to, so let me balance this out with some of the strengths of this book. I think that the dismantling of the four myth-perceptions was quite well done, and I appreciated (and agree with) the material on brain-waves and childhood development and the programming of the unconscious that we all received (and need to revisit and revise). And there was some solid stuff on the economy (a la The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve and some good stuff on health-care. And I'm on board with the whole message of "we're all in this together" and that cooperation is the real message of Evolution as opposed to competition. There's some good stuff in here, to be sure.
So, overall, it's an OK book and it's more or less worth reading. But for me, I'm sorry to say that after The Biology of Belief, it was a disappointment.