Excerpt from The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.,published by Mountain of Love Productions, Inc. in cooperation with Elite Books. Publication date: May, 2005.
Cells As Miniature Humans
As it turned out, that histology course was the most exhilarating and intellectually profound period of my academic career. Free to teach the course the way I wanted to teach it, I ventured into a new way of covering the material, an approach that had been roiling in my brain for several years. I had been fascinated by the idea that considering cells as miniature humans would make it easier to understand their physiology and behavior. As I contemplated a new structure for the course, I got excited. The idea of overlapping cell and human biology rekindled the inspiration for science I had felt as a child. I still experienced that enthusiasm in my research laboratory, though not when I was mired in the administrative details of being a tenured faculty member, including endless meetings and what for me were tortuous faculty parties.
I was prone to thinking of cells as human-like because, after years behind a microscope, I had become humbled by the complexity and power of what at first appear to be anatomically simple, moving blobs in a Petri dish. In school you may learned the basic components of a cell: the nucleus that contains genetic material, the energy-producing mitochondria, the protective membrane at the outside rim, and the cytoplasm in between. But within these anatomically simple-looking cells is a complex world; these smart cells employ technologies that scientists have yet to fully fathom.
The notion of cells as miniature humans that I was mulling over would be considered heresy by most biologists. Trying to explain the nature of anything not human by relating it to human behavior is called anthropomorphism. True scientists consider anthropomorphism to be something of a mortal sin and ostracize scientists who knowingly employ it in their work.
However, I believed though that I was breaking out of orthodoxy for a good reason. Biologists try to gain scientific understanding by observing nature and conjuring up a hypothesis of how things work. Then they design experiments to test their ideas. By necessity, deriving the hypothesis and designing the experiments require the scientist to think how a cell or another living organism carries out its life. Applying these human solutions, i.e. a human view of resolving biologys mysteries, automatically makes these scientists guilty of anthropomorphizing. No matter how you cut it, biological science is based to some degree on humanizing the subject matter.
Actually, I believe that the unwritten ban on anthropomorphism is an outmoded remnant of the Dark Ages when religious authorities denied any direct relationship existed between humans and any of Gods other creations. While I can see the value of the concept when people try to anthropomorphize a light bulb, a radio or a pocketknife, I do not see it as a valid criticism when it is applied to living organisms. Human beings are multicellular organisms,we must inherently share basic behavioral patterns with our own cells.
However, I know that it takes a shift in perception to acknowledge that parallel. Historically, our Judeo-Christian beliefs have led us to think that we are the intelligent creatures who were created in a separate and distinct process from all other plants and animals. This view has us looking down our noses at lesser creatures as non-intelligent life forms, especially those organisms on the lower evolutionary rungs of life.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. When we observe other humans as individual entities or see ourselves in the mirror as an individual organism, in one sense, we are correct, at least from the perspective of our level of observation. However, if I brought you down to the size of an individual cell so you could see your body from that perspective, it would offer a whole new view of the world. When you looked back at yourself from that perspective you would not see yourself as a single entity. You would see yourself as a bustling community of more than 50 trillion individual cells.
As I toyed with these ideas for my Histology class, the picture that kept recurring in my mind was a chart from an encyclopedia I had used as a child. Under the section on humans, there was an illustration with seven transparent plastic pages, each printed with an identical, overlapping outline of the human body. On the first page the outline was filled in with an image of a naked man. Turning the first page was like peeling off his skin and revealing his musculature, the image within the outline on the second page. When I turned the second page, the overlapping images of the remaining pages revealed a vivid dissection of the body. Flipping through the pages I could see in turn, the skeleton, the brain and nerves, blood vessels and organ systems. Bruce Lipton : Articles : The World According To New-Edge Science