Where is Your Brain?

Photo by cosmin4000/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by cosmin4000/iStock / Getty Images

It's funny how the silliest questions can invoke the most profound conceptual alterations in mindset. Where is your brain?

Most people act as if their brain is located in their head, and they act as if the function of their body is simply to carry it around and execute its commands. But it's quite a bit more complicated and interesting than that.

The human brain is located in the skull, yes. But the neural tissue that comprises the brain extends down the spinal cord, into the gastrointestinal tract, and throughout the periphery.

The brain itself houses approximately 100 billion neurons (1), while the gastrointestinal tract and spinal cord contain approximately 500 billion (2) neurons and 1 billion (3) nerve cells respectively.

This means that approximately 80% of the neuronal cells in your body are located outside of your brain, meaning the nervous system resides largely throughout the body.

If we think of the nervous system as being part of the body, then the function of thinking starts to become something different. Actually thinking becomes not so much about the objective abstract representation of the world - which is what you’re pursuing if you’re a scientist - it’s more like the conceptualization and practice of the proper way of being in the world.
— Jordan Peterson

So in short, learn how to think with your body and your gut - your brain isn't just in your head.