Gutsy

More fun with language this week! In contrology, our Point of Control is the intersection of one line drawn horizontally across our lower abdomen from hip bone to hip bone and another that is drawn vertically from the top of our pubic bone to the place where our rib cage meets, the xiphoid process. In other words…our gut! This has led inquiring minds on a search for the origin of colloquial uses of the word “guts”.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=bowels

The Greeks believed that the seat of bravery in the body could be found in the internal organs, and this concept carried forward well into the middle ages. This belief provides a direct explanation of the¬†synonymous use of “guts” for “courage”: presumably if one can control one’s bowels, one isn’t too terrified to act. I’m sure that Freud would have more to say about this, but as an empirical scientist I am more interested in the biochemistry of our “gut feelings”.

We’ve all “felt” things “in our guts”, ranging from sensations like “butterflies” when nervous, to a physical blow to the stomach upon hearing sudden bad news to a feeling like ice water being poured over our internal organs when in grave danger. We all have what is known as enteric nerve plexuses in our intestines, which operate as a kind of second brain, responding to the same neurotransmitters as our neurons. A good place to explore these solid facts can be found here; a bit technical, but very interesting.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gut-second-brain

In addition, some folks have experience “gut feelings” of a slightly different sort, less visceral; almost as though intuition is housed somewhere in the GI tract. At the risk of venturing into very fuzzy territory, peek if you dare at the results of this study that suggests our guts may be the Point of Control that connects us across distances and time.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750366

My gut is telling me it is time for breakfast, so until next week, keep listening to yours and keep your muscular Point of Control zipped across and zipped up!

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