The Wisdom of Your Cells
The Wisdom of Your Cells is a new biology that will profoundly change civilization and the world we live in. This new biology takes us from the belief that we are victims of our genes. That we are biochemical machines, that life is out of our control. Into another reality, a reality where our thoughts, beliefs and mind control our genes, our behaviour and the life we experience. This biology is based on current, modern science with some new perceptions added.
The new science takes us from victim to creator; we are very powerful in creating and unfolding the lives that we lead. This is actually knowledge of self and if we understand the old axiom, “Knowledge is power,” then what we are really beginning to understand is the knowledge of self-power. This is what I think we will get from understanding the new biology.
Flying Into Inner Space
My first introduction to biology was in second grade. The teacher brought in a microscope to show us cells and I remember how exciting it was. At the university, I graduated from conventional microscopes into electron microscopy and had a further opportunity to look into the lives of cells. The lessons I learned profoundly changed my life and gave me insights about the world we live in that I would like to share with you.
Using electron microscopy, not only did I see the cells from the outside but I was able to go through the cell’s anatomy and understand the nature of its organization, its structures and its functions. As much as people talk about flying into outer space, I was flying into inner space and seeing new vistas. Starting to have a greater appreciation of the nature of life, the nature of cells and our involvement with our own cells.
At this time I also started training in cell culturing. In about 1968 I started cloning stem cells, doing my first cloning experiments under the guidance of Dr Irv Konigsberg. He is a brilliant scientist who created the first stem cell cultures. The stem cells I was working with were called myoblasts. Myo means muscle; blast means progenitor. When I put my cells in the culture dishes with the conditions that support muscle growth, the muscle cells evolved and I would end up with giant contractile muscles. However, if I changed the environmental situation, the fate of the cells would be altered. I would start off with my same muscle precursors but in an altered environment, they would actually start to form bone cells. If I further altered the conditions, those cells became adipose or fat cells. The results of these experiments were very exciting because while every one of the cells was genetically identical, the fate of the cells was controlled by the environment in which I placed them.
While I was doing these experiments I also started teaching students at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. I taught them the conventional understanding that genes controlled the fate of cells. Yet in my experiments, it was clearly revealed that the fate of cells was more or less controlled by the environment. My colleagues, of course, were upset with my work. Everyone was then on the bandwagon for the human genome project and in support of the “genes-control-life” story. When my work revealed how the environment would alter the cells, they talked about it as an exception to the rule.
You Are a Community of 50 Trillion Living Cells
Now I have a completely new understanding of life and that has led to a new way to teach people about cells. When you look at yourself you see an individual person. But if you understand the nature of who you are, you realize that you are actually a community of about 50 trillion living cells. Each cell is a living individual. A sentient being that has its own life and functions but interacts with other cells in the nature of a community. If I could reduce you to the size of a cell and drop you inside your own body, you would see a very busy metropolis of trillions of individuals living within one skin. This becomes relevant when we understand that health is when there is harmony in the community. And dis-ease is when there is a disharmony that tends to fracture the community relationships. So, number one, we are a community.
Fact number two: There is not one function in the human body that is not already present in every single cell. For example, you have various systems: digestive, respiratory, excretory, musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, a nervous system and an immune system but every one of those functions exists in every one of your cells. In fact, we are made in the image of a cell. This is very helpful for biologists because we can do research on cells and then apply that information to understanding the nature of the human body.
I was teaching what is called the medical model, the perception that human biology represents a biological machine comprised of biochemicals and controlled by genes. Therefore when a patient comes in to see a doctor, the belief system is that the patient has something wrong with their biochemistry or genes, which can be adjusted and can lead them to health. At some point, I realized that I had to leave the university because I found great conflict in teaching the students about what controls the cell and yet getting a completely different understanding from the cells in my cultures.