Food for thought.

It just occurred to me that in the matter of credit attribution as to where we — as a species — are today, too much is given to our fabled neo-cortex, while way too little recognition goes to our palate and digestive tract's prowess.

So here it is: our gut smarts are underrated.

To clarify, I'm not about to go all redneck on you, and argue the case that guts know better than brains as a rule (even though it may happen sometimes), and I'll leave truthiness to whom it belongs: comedians, teabaggers and choking-on-pretzels ex-POTUS. 
Instead, I'll go out on a limb, as per standard protocol here, and tentatively argue: our guts play an under-appreciated yet decisive part in the historical making of our brains, both as a facilitating agent and enabling device.


Consider this: we humans come omnivores as a standard issue, and tend to embrace it unless constrained to a less diverse diet imposed by circumstances or personal/cultural biases. At face value, our gut would deserve praise if only for its ability to use almost anything we stumble upon for fuel — on the omnivore's radar, anything that is or was alive once could be dinner.
We partly owe to our guts to have survived and thrived in a variety of environments that non omnivorous species can only dream of, but I'd wage that's only half of it…

Opposable thumbs are cool, for sure, but they're of limited relevance if all you do is twiddle them: how and to what end you put those to work is what's key.
Our brains are a spectacular learning machine, a difference and inference engine that can find patterns in a chaotic wealth of information, derive meaning and build narratives or concepts to organize the universe, with us as its focal point. 
As it seems obvious a direct relation exists, between the diversity of experiences and stimuli we're exposed to and the opportunities we get to make new and smarter inferences, anything that helps us survive and explore new horizons is increasing our odds to have a eureka! moment, or its intuitive, less conceptual equivalent.

And just like our opposable thumbs, our guts enable us to explore and experience more, not only by keeping us fueled and clanking beyond the point where the Duracell rabbit would finally stop, but by providing us with the means to experience more. Non-omnivorous animals don't get the chance to try much of the gastronomical aspects of pleasure and discomfort, simply eat whatever limited selection of food they trust to process without falling sick, and won't even think about ordering off the menu, even when it sucks — ask any panda how they feel about their last meal(s) for a very fucked up perspective on this.


Long story short, being able to process diverse foods extends our biotopical reach and our ability to move around, yet also broadens our mental horizons and sense of aesthetics. Diversity of tastes, textures, shapes and colors all give our brain those little jolts that once in a while may spark a new and interesting connection, even though we may not always realize it at the time, and the same goes for those different landscapes, climates and environments we would never have dreamed of, had our omnivorous bowels not kept us alive through there.

Thus, I suggest you make today (which is whenever you happen to read these lines) your personal Gut Recognition Day and celebrate GRD by thinking hard about how much we owe our intestines for coping with our whims as they do, be thankful for that, and vow never to deny your guts their rightful part by ensuring you don't eat the same grub every day from now on, if you can afford it.

Your neo-corticoïdal bowels thank you in advance.


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