By Jimmy Eldred Quast

Since the early 19th century, there has been scientific investigation into the nature of life, and how biology works to establish and control who and what we, are as well as how we behave. The beginnings of modern thinking probably began in 1809 with the work of Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, who theorized that the diversity of life on our planet was the result of an evolutionary process. He believed that consciousness played a key role in the successful development of any organism. He surmised that even the most primitive organisms used awareness to make choices that could alter their behavior and, over time, could even bring about gradual changes in their physical structure.

Fifty years later, Darwin added the concept that the control mechanism for all behavior and physical characteristics was an internal hereditary one, which was then called pangenes. For years after that, much effort went into looking for this internal control mechanism until, in the 1950’s, Watson and Crick discovered DNA and began revealing the nature of it’s complex genetic code. Everything we have done since then has been centered around the idea that genes either directly or indirectly regulate the structure and operation of all organisms. Therefore, we have assumed that a certain gene can turn itself on (which is what we mean when we say a gene is being expressed) and produce a cancer, or a gene could turn itself off and cause an immune system failure. This has come to be called the Primacy of DNA theory, a concept which makes genes ultimately responsible for determining the behavior and physical properties of organisms.

This gets extremely interesting, however, when one reviews the ongoing science related to the Primacy of DNA theory. In fact there is still NO definitive science to support the theory. One finds that this theory was originally only conceived as a metaphor to help think about the possible directions that research might take. Repetition of this metaphor or model over the years has led to it’s becoming accepted as truth without supportive evidence. In 1990 this was pointed out by another scientist working at Duke University, H.F. Nijhout. His work, and that of a new group of genetic scientists, has definitely indicated that genes are not the primary source of control over biological behavior.

It is true that genes generate all the physical pieces and chemicals that make up our bodies and behavior. BUT, we can now state with reasonable certainty that a gene cannot turn itself on or off. The expression of a gene depends upon a signal from the environment to control it’s expression. Therefore, our bodies, our health and our behavior are ultimately controlled by our perception of our environment. Genes are like software in your computer. As essential as software is, it must continually be turned on or off, or even reconfigured, by a higher intelligence -- that‘s you (or maybe an expert you defer to for such things). The software is not, in and of itself, the ultimate controller of the computer. Rather it is a complex pattern of stored information that an intelligent mind assembled in order to accomplish certain tasks. The very reason why computers exist and work is a thing we could call the Primacy of Human Intelligence. I know, I know -- there are those times when all of us really believe our computers have devilish personalities of their own, bent on ruining our lives. But remember, we always have the last say. Either we figure out that the mistake was our own, or we get the thing fixed, or we eventually replace it with something new and better.

The basic building blocks of all life forms are cells. The nucleus of every cell contains genes. If the genes are not the primary source of control, then what part of the cell is it that does have control, does make decisions? It has been known for some time that cells continue to function perfectly even if we enucleate them (remove the nucleus). Without a nucleus, and therefore without any genes at all, a cell will live a normal life, responding to signals from its environment and carrying out all required behaviors as needed. The nucleus is only necessary when the time comes for the cell to split and reproduce itself. The genetic code stored in the nucleus is, in fact, the blueprint for cell reproduction, enabling the new cell to pick up exactly where the parent cell left off. As it turns out, the cell membrane is actually the “brain” of the cell. Within this membrane we find two types of protein structures called receptors and effectors. Receptors are sensing devices very much like your eyes, ears, nose, etc. They receive information from the environment by sensing the presence of things like hormones, food molecules, toxins, and even electromagnetic signals like radio waves and light. Effectors are the parts that convert the signals received by the receptors into action or behavior. And guess what? One of the important actions carried out by effectors is the regulation of genetic expression, so that your genetic code, and mine, is continually updated and modified in an effort to adapt to changing environmental signals (whether they be real or vividly imagined). This ability of cells to alter genetic expression has been revealed over the last 20 years largely as a result of work initiated by Dr. Bruce Lipton and others at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In one of the earliest experiments, Lipton’s group was studying the effects of stress on simple single-celled animals. They used lactobacilli as their subjects. These simple creatures live on only one type of food, lactose, which is the sugar that occurs naturally in milk. Lipton identified and removed the genes that enabled the lactobacilli to digest lactose, in order to study the effects of the stress that would obviously ensue in the lives of these tiny creatures, once they could no longer gain nourishment from their only possible food source. To the research team’s absolute amazement, the bacilli adapted to the situation by expressing NEW genes that enabled them to once again digest lactose. These creatures that had been surgically damaged actually restored themselves and saved their own lives by expressing new genes. This was previously thought to be impossible, and subsequently led to new avenues of research that established a whole new understanding of genetics which today is called epigenetics.

Whereas we used to believe that our very substance, behavior, and health were all a matter of rigid inherited genetic codes, we must now appreciate that all of these things are actually determined by what we each perceive and believe about our personal world. The positive as well as the negative ideas that tend to dominate our thoughts and beliefs, are directly reflected in our genetic expression and, therefore, create our individual traits of well being or sickness - happiness or a lack thereof, etc., etc. Cutting edge science has revealed a system that empowers living things to survive environmental challenges by adapting. This causes me to wonder how long it will take humanity with it’s tendency to worry too much, get angry too easily, over-criticize, etc., to realize that our negative thoughts and emotions are indeed the primary cause of our epidemic physical and mental health problems. Indeed, we have within us the power to stop being victims, and to trust that there is a higher order and intelligence that has given us everything we need, but has left it up to us to figure out how it all works.

I will finish by quoting Dr. Bruce Lipton: In conclusion, we are poised on the threshold of radical revision of basic biomedical thought. Rather than perceiving our health and behavior as a consequence of our genetic heritage, we will soon recognize that we are masters of our fate. All that is necessary is that we own the reality that we are the physical expression of our beliefs. Inevitably, clinical hypnotherapists, by their ability to modify these influential beliefs, will be acknowledged as one of the primary care-givers in human civilization.

Note: hypnosis for medical issues may require a physician’s referral.


© 2007 by Jimmy E. Quast, All rights reserved
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