Tag Archives: human body

TED Books

Guy WinchI’ve been making my way through some of the TED series books on my breaks (they’re a good size for a 15-minute slot – not that you can finish it in 15 minutes, but each chapter is short enough), and they’re quite a nice little series based on the corresponding talks. I haven’t chanced upon one that’s been life-changing yet, but they’re definitely charming little bites of information. I’ll have a list of all the current TED books, linked to the titles we have in our catalogue, below the cut.

The one I started with was How to Fix a Broken Heart, which surprised me by addressing the overarching problem in dealing with a broken heart (when it falls outside of socially sanctioned heartbreak, i.e. when your significant other breaks up with you (outside of divorce or death), or when a pet dies): the structures simply aren’t in place to provide as much support for those who are undergoing heartbreak of this sort in comparison to the bereavement leave and understanding you get from coworkers & friends alike for more socially acceptable forms of heartbreak (e.g. death of immediate family or spouse, divorce). As a result, the brokenhearted are expected to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get over it – without a support system, oftentimes facing exasperation or contempt from what would otherwise be their support system because why can’t they just get over it already??, while they’re already on low emotional resources.

Winch doesn’t just address the systemic issue. He provides solutions the heartbroken individual can use to heal better, following up with references to studies that support those solutions – because while time is a factor, what you do during that time also makes a difference. At the end of the book, you’ll feel a lot less guilty about how much it affects your functioning when your heart gets broken, especially because now you’ll know that people who are undergoing heartbreak have the same part of their brain activated in like fashion to people who are undergoing intense, almost unbearable, physical pain. So why do we expect people who are feeling intense, almost unbearable physical pain to function just as well as they do normally, just because we can’t see their pain or don’t file the circumstances under a socially acceptable folder for grieving?

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Have You Any Guts?

Giulia EndersWhy do we say that we have stomachaches when in reality the aches happen a little further down the line? Why not “I have an intestineache”* instead? It would be a lot more accurate, for one. Though if we do that, maybe we should also specify whether it’s a small intestineache or a large one, and that would just get confusing, because are you referring to an ache in the small intestine or a small ache in the intestine (unspecified), or a small ache in the large intestine or vice versa? You get the point. Have I surpassed the number of times you can read the word “intestine” without getting a bit uneasy yet? Because while it’s fascinating stuff, the gut, I find it increasingly curious that we have maintained such an aversion to talking about these parts of our bodies and their byproducts – I’m referring primarily to feces, but of course, chyme and other such substances also make us squirm – despite how integral they are to our lives.

But that’s more food for thought** than the primary focus of this post, because I just read two delightful books on the gut and I’ve never felt more enthusiastic discussing our stomachs, intestines, and what happens to stuff that goes in and the stuff that comes (back) out (and depending on what animal you are, sometimes right back in again)! The outright bubbly enthusiasm that gushes forth from Enders & Roach in Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (Enders) and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Roach) is both palpable and infectious – you’re sure to rethink your views about your gut and all the bacteria that reside there, so come and take a vacation in the labyrinth that is your own gut!

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