According to Rippe, "The Flip" is based on the idea that millions of people with similar beliefs concerning medicine, food, the environment, women's issues, health and religion are unaware that others share their perceptions. Rippee's and Rosen's book is essentially an "owner's manual" for living in the 21st century, offering ideas and exercises to help people alter their views and actions on modern issues, and join together with like-minded people.
The authors ask readers to imagine standing on a bridge between two vastly different worlds: One world is full of diseased, fearful, violent and wasteful people, and the other is full of healthy, diverse people who embrace self-expression, spirituality and harmony. If the bridge between the worlds were to collapse, which world would readers run toward?
Rippe says an "upside-down" world is frenzied, chaotic and fear-based. "People are frustrated; people are angry," he said. "Their life seems to be out of control. The harder they work, the more behind they seem to get. Perhaps they're over their head in debt and can't seem to get out of it. It's very hard to see the positive because they're really quite hung up on all of the bad news in the world."
Residents of the upside-down world essentially exist to consume, Rippe says. "They have abdicated their rights as citizens and have become consumers, as if their only reason for existence is simply how much food they can take in, how much pleasure they can get themselves. It creates a very unhealthy lifestyle, where they don't really feel connected to the world."
The "rights" that Rippe says upside-down consumers have relinquished in favor of consumerism are a list of privileges advocated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, dubbed the "Second Bill of Rights." The list includes the right to a useful job that pays a living wage, the right to free trade, a decent home, good health and access to medical care, the right to a solid education, and protection from economic fears brought on by sickness, accident, unemployment and old age.
On the "flip" side of the upside-down world, citizens living in a "right-side-up" world are centered, self-aware and attuned to the world around them. They engage in yoga and meditation, and live life at a slower, more enjoyable pace. Right-side-up people are aware of the impact their choices have on the environment, and actively engage in planet preservation.
For those on the theoretical crumbling bridge who choose the right-side-up world, Rippe and Rosen offer a guide of sorts to help embrace the widespread changes for the better that they say are already taking place. "The Flip" includes accounts from experts and authors on changing eating patterns, emotions, thoughts, health, energy consumption and spirituality, and informs readers that they are not alone in their beliefs.
"Jared (Rosen) and I looked around and said, 'You know what? There are people who are into the alternative health movement, and the natural products and environmental movements.' These things are all connected," Rippe said. "What we decided to do was to show that there are a lot of key areas of life that are all related, and that tens of millions of people have already flipped their lives. They've gone from one way of being to another way of being, sort of a before-and-after."
Millions of people have already made "the flip" in certain areas of their lives by purchasing natural and organic products, or by turning to alternative medical care instead of conventional treatment, Rippe says. Billions of dollars have been spent on conscientious products and therapies, but many consumers feel that they are alone in seeking out such "flipped" goods and services.
"A lot of people in the movement don't realize that they're actually connected in their beliefs," Rippe said. "What we decided to do was to document that the world is flipping."
"The Flip" shares with readers how consumers -- through their purchases, energy choices and lifestyle decisions -- can push society to a "critical mass" of conscientious decisions, starting a chain reaction that will eventually allow hundreds of millions of people to "flip."
Readers seeking ways to help jump-start their path to "flipping" their lives can try a number of personal exercises to help change their way of thinking. For example, Rippe recommends stressed-out readers try a mind-clearing breathing exercise. The exercise, based on John Selby's book, "Seven Masters, One Path," applies the principle that humans cannot think of more than two things at the same time.
If readers find themselves bombarded by a number of stressful thoughts, Rippe recommends taking two minutes out of the day to clear the mind. Begin by taking in a deep breath through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth. While listening to their breathing, readers should simultaneously concentrate on expending their chest or stomach with every breath.
"By focusing on those two things at the same time, you won't be able to think of a third thing," Rippe said. "So you'll automatically break the energy circuit that was causing your stress."
A second simple exercise Rippe recommends for would-be "flipsters" is to conscientiously go through an entire day without criticizing, blaming or judging someone else.
"It's a very challenging thing to do, but if you try to do it, what will happen is you'll realize how blame-oriented you've become, and then you can begin to work on being more mindful and more tolerant and more empathetic and compassionate, which would then leave us with a better world."
For the millions of people around the world who have already "flipped" their lives to become part of the "right-side-up" world, Rippe and Rosen are offering a contest to give "flipsters" an opportunity to share their life-changing story. The "I'm Hip to the Flip" contest asks contestants to submit an essay or video that tells the story of a major or minor change -- be it an insight or act of kindness that helped another person, or a change in health, lifestyle or career -- that positively affected their life.
Contestants can win prizes ranging from empowering books and CDs to an entire library of conscientious publications, including Randall Fitzgerald's "The Hundred-Year Lie" and a copy of the "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" DVD. Details, entry forms and a complete list of prizes are available at http://www.TheFlip.net/contest.html.