• Smarter than a Worm

    I am doing a course on Nutrition and Eating in Chinese Medicine and I came across this story in the book. “Welcoming Food, Andrew Sterman”.

    Understanding Ourselves?
    There is a wonderful teaching about the neurology of worms. The common worm has 302 neurons (brain cells), connected by perhaps 7,000 synapse. That’s a lot, but its’ not an unimaginable amount. It is conceivable that all 302 neurons could be known and even all 7,000 connections understood, but the intelligence experienced by 302 neurons will never be powerful enough to understand those 302 neurons. Some hypothetically intelligent being (or human scientist) may come to comprehensibly understand those neurons and connections, but clearly worms don’t have the mental horsepower to understand worms.

    Humans are very intelligent, with wonderful powers of understanding, but our brains have 100 billion neurons, our bodies have 37 trillion cells (plus a trillion resident microbes). Our scientific knowledge should be held in perspective, We can know ourselves as a Queen knows her kingdom: we may be in charge, but most of what is going on always remains beyond our awareness.

    A couple of things about this comparison. We actually have no idea what worms comprehend but it likely makes sense we can comprehend more than them. Well at least most of us.

    There is no scientist or machine that can comprehend the complexity of humans. I have written several posts about “huge new discoveries in the human body”. Yet the new discovery was always in the body. We just did not understand it and likely still don’t, but we get better at it.

    What follows is for conversation only. For medical advice contact your primary care physician, or come see me.

    The analogy of your body being a kingdom, or a continent. Is a nice way to say there is so much going on that there is NO WAY you can keep track of it all. An example is you likely have no awareness of how your body is regulating your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, secretion of hormones and on and on.

    But believe me, one of those things stops working for 5-10 seconds you’d know. Actually you’d likely be unconscious. Can you even imagine how to control your voice box to make sounds? And yet you make sounds all the time, but what actually controls that movement?

    The massiveness of what it takes to keep a human alive for an hour is staggering. Therefore it’s okay if you do not have a moment by moment awareness of all that is going on.

    However when you get a messenger to the Queen saying, “Hey I don’t sleep well”, “Hey I have no appetite”, “Hey …….”

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    I have spent the last 26 years in practice and 10 years before that trying to figure out the messages from my body and it’s tough some more than others, but it’s tough and we don’t always get it right the first, second, third… time.

    It is also realistic to understand inside a kingdom/continent there is something going wrong at all times. But there is also things going right. One of your jobs is to encourage more things to go right inside your body and in your life.

    Some I always talk about at work are:

    1. Eat three meals a day. Yeah, I have heard of intermittent fasting.  
    2. When you eat DO NOT WORK!!!! Sit down, no electronics
    3. Chew your food more.
    4. Be in bed 8+ hours a night. Yeah, I have heard of people only needing 4-5-6 hours of sleep. (It’s not you)
    5. Sweat 3 times a week. Ie. Exercise.
    6. Develop a friend a year. Statistically you will have 90% different friends every 7 years.
    7. The problems you have, research until you find a solution. Some of my solutions have taken 10+ years to figure out. It can be a marathon, but the other option sucks worse. This is to let the problem get bad enough to take down the kingdom.
    8. Forgive: “To release the need for the past to be different”.
    9. Plan on working longer and do some fun stuff now.
    10. Spend less than you make.

    I have others, well depending on the person I have hundreds of others, but that’s a good start.

    To get those automatically functioning in the kingdom will take some time and commitment. But as I see at work day by day, when people don’t, I get to meet them.

    Don’t be a worm, use some willpower, determination and self care to maximize your fun in the only life you get.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies