INNATE INTELLIGENCE Part 1
Every Tuesday, I do a new patient orientation talk. It gives me the opportunity to explain the benefits of chiropractic in more detail. In the middle of the talk, in order to make a specific point clear, I like to talk about the difference between a “live” person and a “dead” person.
What is the difference? Shortly after death, everything is exactly the same as before death. Even upon very close examination, experts can’t find a difference. There is no change in the structure. No change in composition. No change in fluids. No change in weight. The blood is exactly the same. The organs are exactly the same. No matter how hard anybody looks, they simply can not find any differences.
Obviously something has changed, but what? The only thing that can be said is that some type of “life force” has left the body. One moment there was a “life force” in the body and the next it was gone. This “life force” animates the body.
The founder of chiropractic, Dr. D.D. Palmer in 1895 coined the term “Innate Intelligence” to describe this life force. He wanted to refer to this power by another name, but thought that if he did, the general public would be far less interested in accepting his new science of “chiropractic.” So he coined the term Innate Intelligence to describe the power that runs us.
Are there other names that can be used to refer to this power? How about terms like nature, spirit, God? They’re all good names, pick the one you like.
Regardless of what you call it, this is the power that runs all of us. And you could say it knows how to run us perfectly, not just “good,” but perfectly. Which is no small feat. To understand the complexity of the human body, you would have to study 2 books; Gray’s Anatomy (1,470 very big pages with very small text) and Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology (1,194 slightly smaller pages with the same very small text).
To give you an example, let’s discuss the monitoring of your body’s insulin. There are two ways this can be done. Artificially, the way a diabetic person does it with a machine and internally, the way your body does it.
Medical technology is becoming very proud of its ability to determine a person’s blood glucose level at any given time and truth be told, the monitoring devices are becoming quite sophisticated and easy to use. And of coarse diabetics then inject themselves with the proper amount of insulin needed according to these findings. But this is done usually only a couple of times a day.
Here’s the problem. In the time it took the diabetic to measure his glucose level and then inject himself with the proper amount of insulin, the glucose level has already changed! It hasn’t changed a lot, but it has changed.
What does this mean? Glucose is the body’s “fuel.” Every cell, tissue and organ system uses glucose. And every body part uses glucose at different levels of consumption. And on top of that, these rates of consumption change according to your body’s level of activity. When you are deep in thought the brain uses more glucose and the other body parts use less. When you are under stress, your brain again uses more glucose, but so does your heart, lungs and muscles. Under stress your digestive system and immune systems use less. When you are participating in a physically challenging sport, once
again, your muscles, heart and respiratory system use more glucose and can consume it in large quantities.
Glucose is constantly being drawn from the circulatory system by all of the body’s organs, glands, cells and muscles at varying rates according to activity. Of coarse this glucose has to be replaced. And the body wants to replace it in the exact same ratio as it’s being removed.
The reason we discuss your body’s glucose in relation to your circulatory system is because this is where all the action happens, in order to keep glucose available for all of your body’s 700 trillion cells. Your circulatory system is the body’s “Supply Superhighway!”
Your body wants the amount of glucose circulating in the blood stream to be exactly the same at all times. When you eat or drink anything, most likely the amount of sugar in your blood will go up. (The amount of sugar in 1 can of Coke is more than what is in your circulatory system at any given time.) In order to bring the level back down to its proper level the brain sends a signal to the pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin causes the excess glucose to be stored inside the cells of your liver, muscles and fat tissue in the form of glycogen.
When the glucose level drops below its normal level, the pancreas stops producing insulin and produces another hormone called glucagon. The purpose of glucagon is to cause your body to release glucose from its storage areas back into the blood system. This constant adjusting keeps the glucose level consistent all the time.
Guess what; the body is monitoring the blood glucose level every single moment (notice I said every “moment” not every “second,” seconds are long in comparison to moments) during your entire lifetime! Think about that in comparison to using a device to monitor your glucose level just 2 times a day.
My hope is that after reading about how your body maintains its blood glucose level, it will give you a sense of awe, it does me.
Now remember there are hundreds of other systems in the body doing literally billions and I mean billions, of functions every second. And all of these functions are exquisitely orchestrated.
All of this activity has to be organized by something; that something is your amazing brain.
One striking feature of brain tissue is its compactness. In the brain’s wiring, space is at a premium, and is more tightly packed than even the most condensed computer architecture. One cubic centimeter of human brain tissue, which would fill a thimble, contains 50 million neurons; several hundred miles of axons, the wires over which neurons send signals; and close to a trillion (that’s a million million) synapses, the connections between neurons.
The memory capacity in this small volume is potentially immense. Although we’re forced to guess because the neural basis of memory isn’t understood at this level, let’s say that one movable synapse could store one byte (8 bits) of memory. That thimble would then contain 1,000 gigabytes (1 terabyte) of information. A thousand thimblefuls make up a whole brain, giving us a million gigabytes; a petabyte of information. To put this in perspective, the entire archived contents of the Internet fill just three petabytes.
If a computer could be built that was able to process information at the same speed as the brain it would consume energy at the same pace as all of Washington, D.C.! The brain consumes the equivalent of a 12 watt bulb.
Do you get a sense of the importance of a properly functioning nervous system?
Now for the really interesting part. Science is starting to come to the conclusion that the brain isn’t really running us at all. The brain is merely a tool. To continue the brain-computer comparison; something has to operate the brain in the same way that something has to operate a computer.
What is that “something?”
I’m going to stop right here, before this newsletter gets any longer. But make sure you read next months newsletter because this story gets even more interesting.