The researchers in the American Gut project are attempting to uncover patterns of correlation between people’s lifestyle, diet, health status and the makeup of their microbial community. We may have microbiota in our gut but do we have that other form of “guts” often called old fashioned grit. Our future clearly depends on one or the other or maybe both. Are we in need of more grit or more microbes in our gut? Scientists use the word “microbiota” to refer to all the microbes in a community (like the gut) and “microbiome” to refer to their collective genes.
For our species to survive, we need a worldview paradigm shift (a radical change in beliefs, attitudes and values). For our physical health we need a paradigm shift in the human gut. “Researchers now speak of an impoverished ‘Westernized microbiome’ and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of ‘restoration ecology’—not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right at home, in the human gut.” (1)
The inhabitants of the Global Village will self-destruct without a paradigm shift as defined above. What about the more specific problem of the microbiota? “As for the lower biodiversity in the West, this could be a result of our profligate use of antibiotics (in health care as well as the food system), our diet of processed food (which has generally been cleansed of all bacteria, the good and the bad), environmental toxins and generally less ‘microbial pressure’—i.e., exposure to bacteria—in everyday life.” (1)
Scientists are working on the problem of microbiota. However, they will not be any more successful in solving that problem than today’s political leaders will be in avoiding Armageddon. This outlook may seem pessimistic but that’s because we haven’t finished our analysis yet. The human intellect is limited in its problem-solving capacity but not so with human intuition. Human wisdom transcends human science. How so? Click on the link below to find out.
Insight # 106: Man asks for bread and science gives him a stone. He had better turn back to the old myths and get the story of the wholeness. –Arthur Young
- Introduction on this blog and in print in Science and Philosophy, The Failure of Reason in the Human Community (2015), page i, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Pollan, Michael. “Some of My Best Friends Are Bacteria.” The New York Times Magazine. May 19, 2013, pages 38 & 40.