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Gut health and Philosophy???

 Most of us would agree that what we see in the mirror each day (each 5 min for teen girls) is entirely us. We instinctively claim dominion over what lies within our dermis and use that to some degree to relate to the world around (outside) us.

Then along comes the Human Microbiome Project and tells us that we are outnumbered more than 10 to 1 on our own bodies by bacteria! Indeed our life and health depends on them all 100 trillion. So this poses some philosophical questions I think and hope some of you will throw out some more in the comments.

Like does this new discovery change who we are or think we are.

Given that our mood is largely dictated by our health, which is to ?? extent dictated by a bunch of freeloading single cell organisms, how much of our personality is a product of "us" or "them" or some kind of symbiosis?

If these organisms that insert themselves freely where they feel comfortable are to be found in the brain or spinal pathways interacting with our cognitive systems what does that mean for our sense of being or independent thought.

Or does the fact that we have 2000 SPECIES of some of the first life forms on planet earth living, outnumbering, and keeping us alive have no implications on who we are?

We can meet at lolas again at the picnick table unless someone knows a better place. I have been cursed with a job these last few weeks and haven't had time to find better venues.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Wish it had been better attended

    May 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What a coincidence. I just heard on NPR yesterday (via podcast) that every human's body weight is approximately 3 lbs of bacteria.

    May 13, 2013

  • Steve

    Out of town for another week.

    May 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Getting off work at 5:30, gonna try to make it :)

    May 12, 2013

  • Randy

    I think it's a perfect topic for a philosophical discussion. It looks at one of philosophy's most difficult questions "what is the nature of the self" in a modern, scientific way.

    For those of us who don't believe in a changeless spirit or soul, our genetic code was the last static attribute that we could hang our "identity hat" on. Every cell in our body gets replaced, and the content of our mind is always in flux. What stays the same over the course of a lifetime? Nothing. I see two possible definitions of the self: 1. Personal identity is based on specific static attributes, and "I" only exist until those attributes change.

    2. Personal identity is a process that's defined by continuity rather than any static attribute. As a process, I can embrace change as part of my identity, rather than being dissolved by it.

    The real question is, are these two definitions mutually exclusive?

    1 · May 8, 2013

    • JasonC

      There exists chaos. Check. Chaos goes to chaos. Check. Perfectly true, if a bit underspecific. One may quibble over the label but it is clear enough and conveys a useful insight, so I won't. Only constant, though? Less clear, there appear to me to be any number of other constants of the universe (unless one wants to just semantically expand "chaos" to embrace anything that is conserved). Nonlinear? Seems false, the chaos "operator" seems to be vacuously linear, just like multiplication by zero - chaos of (2 * state) = 2*chaos (state) = chaos (state) = chaos (anything) = anything * chaos (anything) = chaos. Which meets rather than violates the notion of "linear". But my bigger worry is, what precisely is even remotely "balanced" about any of it? I mean, other than everything goes to chaos. At bottom, it seems just another restatement of the oldest, simplest, true enough but pretty content-less philosophy, "something or other is conserved".

      May 8, 2013

    • Heimdall

      The methods used to make an accurate estimate of a system will depend on the state, mode, scale, context and scenario. Depending on this deterministic or stochastic modeling will be used.

      May 12, 2013

  • Heimdall

    I do like the idea of the community proposing future topics. Since most of us (myself included) are not formaly trained in philosophy, I would suggest to start with simpler topics that may serve us as a foundation and progresivley increase the complexity. It would also be nice if we could also look for supporting material like youtube videos, podcasts or book chapters that we could read in preparation, or watch and listen togheter in the meetup and then discuss. I will attempt to suggest something for a future meeting in such a manner, based on your feedback we can do an experiment and give it a try. In the end maybe we will all become snoby ivory tower philosophers :).

    I also wanted to mention that the topic suggested, although not philosophicaly sounding, was interesting enough. I have always felt that some of the best clues can be found on unlikley discussions, therefore i like keeping an open mind.

    May 9, 2013

  • Jonathan

    Bacteria is non-volitional, and automatically outside the field of philosophy altogether. Nobody debates with a paramecium.

    1 · May 5, 2013

    • Megan

      I stand that gut health regulates serotonin uptake and can ultimately influence both the immune system, as well as the endorphin output of the cells in our body in regards to how much serotonin is being absorbed and redistributed to the body via the pineal gland; which is a part of the human anatomy that is a cornerstone in Buddhism, meditation, and enlightenment from the energies released when you activate all the chakras existing above the gut or solar plexus. As to finding a relationship between a colon, stomach, or intestine disease/health/ bacteria and philosophy of any kind is beyond me, and I just don't see it as a partnership of topics that will ever come to pass without discord.

      May 8, 2013

  • JasonC

    If philosophic discussions bore you or seem sterile, contentious, and pointless; if those who enjoy them seem conceited and you dislike them --- why not take up knitting?

    May 8, 2013

  • Kat

    Really, well educated? You sound like a bunch of pontificating snobs to me. I think the subject sounds fascinating Khalil. I don't know my schedule yet but if I can make it we can meet at our clubhouse again. I'll know by Wednesday.

    May 7, 2013

  • JasonC

    Topic seems shallow and lame, sorry... One man's opinion.

    May 4, 2013

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