Eww Gut Bugs Chapter 3 — Your Second Brain

Chapter 2Chapter 4

[5,400 words, 26 footnotes]

INTRODUCTION

Humans are good at metaphor. It’s better than that. They’re masters. They’re the only animals who do it, who make them up, understand, and use them to communicate at deeper levels of understanding, thereby creating literature that has moved civilizations. How often, when you say, “you hit the nail on the head,” have you meant it literally? Probably not much, if ever; and probably, even carpenters don’t say it much. Nonetheless, everyone who’s reading just understood what I meant, rather than what I literally wrote.

How often have you asked or admonished that, “you’re thinking with your (expletive deleted).” We’ve all heard slang to denote body parts we don’t often speak of openly. Why do those particular metaphors exist? On the surface, perhaps because most—OK, all—people have been known, at times, to set aside their inner Spock and “think” in other terms. But, have you ever thought it’s in any way literally true; or rather, that some folks judge and act upon their values differently than others—juxtaposed with their urges and desires—in a kind of Yin-Yang way?

Balance. That’s a part of ancient philosophy some are familiar with in terms of explaining—or reconciling—that which doesn’t make sense from either a strictly logical or strictly emotional (or “urge”) perspective. I guess we sense that often enough, the decisions we make and the actions we take have some flavor of both cold logic and tempting desire.

Have you ever had a gut feeling? Whether you have or have not, you know what I mean, don’t you? Sometimes we call it “intuition,” and it can even take on a gender role, as in: women’s intuition.

Has your “stomach ever been tied in knots,” and if so, did it affect your actions?

For the present we’ll focus on describing the raw makeup of this second brain, so that we’re all starting from the same page, then later, we delve deeply into the so-called brain-gut connection and how those little critters living in us—those chemical manufacturing plants—can not only control involuntary processes like the secretion of various hormones, but in so doing, indirectly influence our behavior.


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