When reading Spontaneous Evolution it became abundantly clear to me why Bruce Lipton received the Goi Peace Award in 2009. His pioneering work in New Biology takes a fresh look at scientific evidence and reinterprets the information from outside of the major established paradigms that fuel our competitive society. And in his conclusions, he argues for nothing less than a radical change in the way we as humans see the world and operate within it.

However, rather than pointing the finger at our current systems, structures or leaders, Lipton and his co-author, Steve Bhaerman, take a compassionate stance – accepting these as a necessary part of our journey towards a truly coherent humanity – and instead draw upon the tactics employed by Nature (including our own biological processes) to offer an alluring blueprint for a prosperous civilisation.

Lipton, like many others who support the Gaia hypothesis, sees the Earth and the biosphere as an interconnected living system capable of expressing a spontaneous remission. And the main thesis of the book is that it is human awareness that holds the key to triggering the same type of healing for the planet. Lipton and Bhaerman support their thesis by clearly (and humorously) providing real evidence that helps shift the reader’s mind towards more cooperative and empowering ways of living.

A large chunk of this book is dedicated to debunking four main limiting beliefs embedded in our collective psyche. In order for humanity to move forward, the authors urge us to understand how these “myth-perceptions of the Apocalypse” are affecting society. The book helps us understand that evolution is not just random; that, in Nature, species do not rely simply on being the fittest in order to survive; that we are not helpless victims of our genes; and that there is more to the world than physical matter. This section of the book wraps up by exploring the idea of sanity, a word that originates from the Latin sanus, meaning ‘healthy’, and reminds us that just because millions of people share the same vices doesn’t make these vices virtues. This paves the way for the next section, which explains how, collectively, we can escape from the unhealthy or flawed paradigmatic beliefs and “go sane” by investing in new ways of thinking.

One of the most interesting discoveries for me in the book was how we have neglected the significance of fractal geometry in describing self-similar patterns in Nature. Whilst classical or Euclidian geometry suitably explains the many properties of common physics – allowing us to trace the movement of planets and even design sophisticated spacecraft – it can’t adequately be applied to natural structures such as trees or beetles any more successfully than a stick drawing can fully represent a human being. However, fractal geometry is the true design principle of Nature and reveals nested patterns at every level of organisation.

Lipton and Bhaerman take this one step further by proposing that “fractal evolution” provides an explanation for the major evolutionary steps leading to human beings. Over time, individual prokaryotes clumped together to form single cells and these single cells then clumped together to form simple colonial organisms, which then evolved into differentiated multicellular organisms, including human beings.

So, what is the next step? Quite simply, according to the authors, it is for humans (who, according to fractal principles, are equivalent to single cells) to form a co-operative super-organism called humanity.

Spontaneous Evolution argues that the community of cells beneath our skin is 700 times larger than the population of the entire Earth. If humans were to model their lifestyle on a healthy community of human cells we would not have to contend with the impending sixth mass extinction.

If asked to classify this book into a particular genre I would be tempted to shelve it with other publications that attempt to bridge science and spirituality. Yet this wouldn’t really do justice to the broad range of ecological, economic and societal issues Spontaneous Evolution addresses. The upbeat, positive style of this book (along with its frequent witty plays on words) left me with a feeling of excited anticipation about the potential for our society. I agree with the authors that Spontaneous Evolution is “a love story for the planet” and feel that if we take on board the messages within it, then Earth is in for a happy ending.

Ian Tennant is Trust Manager at Resurgence and a holistic lifestyle coach.