The Temple of Spirit
The Seven Wonders of the ancient world have been heard of by most, today with their modern equivalents there are said to be twelve! So whether it be the 8th or the 13th our conscious self resides in a veritable marvel.
As we all have one! The human body is often taken for granted and consequently not valued. It only seems to draw our attention when ill health taps on our shoulder – reminding us that we ought to have taken better care of our « home » if we wish to make the most of this lifetime. So let us take a look at what we are and perhaps see ourselves in a different light.
Firstly we are surrounded by a waterproof elastic covering, that spread out covers over 1.5 square metres. Its cells have a life expectancy of up to 34 days and our perspiration provides enough nutrition to support 10,000 bacteria per square cm! A good reason to dry yourself properly after a daily wash 😉
Inside the skin we have 42 litres of water; 206 bones; 650 muscles of which 43 are in the face and 10 of which to make a smile ( and 6 to frown!). If we take the extra effort to smile our body produces endorphins. Endorphins are opiate-like substances produced by the brain. If we are cheerful then endorphin production increases and we become happier. Conversely the gloomier we become the production of endorphin drops, resulting in a spiral of depression.
Our body is composed of trillions of cells, 300 million die every minute and over a 7 year cycle nearly all of them will have been replaced with new cells ready to fulfil their destiny! In a state of constant flux, self repairing and self replenishing cell survival can be from just a few minutes, days, months or years. If the genetic information in a cells nucleus were written down it would be over 3 billion words long!
For the average human, the energy required to replace worn out cells comes from our food. Our eyes can detect some 10 million shades of colour to see it, we posses some 25 Million olfactory cells to detect over 10,000 smells, detecting as little as 1 part in 20 billion. The enzyme activity needed to digest this food starts in the mouth and our tongue detecting seven types of « taste ». As soon as we swallow the journey through our 9 metre system of digestion begins, but if our intestines were laid out on a smooth surface they could cover the area the size of a football pitch.
In our stomachs live some 800 varieties of bacteria, all with a specific task. The capacity of our stomach is 1 litre, though it can distended to 4 litres (not a very clever practise 😉 and we manufacture 1.5 litres of gastric juice daily.
Life’s energy is also taken in as we breathe. The surface area of our lungs is some 50 -75 square metres, about the size of a tennis court and 30 times greater than the surface area or our skin! The oxygen within the inhaled air finds it’s way into the bloodstream by filtering through the 350 million alveoli in each lung. We have some 4.5 to 5.5 litres of blood which circulate the entire body distributing nutrients and removing waste.
All of this is controlled by the brain which makes any computer look primitive! The average weight of the brain in 1860 was 1370 grams today this has increased to 1420 grams. The brain consumes a fifth of the energy supplied to the body and is composed of one million million cells and millions more supporting cells. Each one of these cells is a vast electrochemical complex and a powerful micro-data-processing and transmitting system – all of which could fit on the head of a pin! The total number of possible combinations and permutations in the brain, if written out, would be 1 followed by 10.5 kilometres of noughts! And all this information is transmitted around our human mainframe by 149,000 Km of nerves. Sending messages from the head to the big toe in 1 hundredth of a second!
This of course goes a great way to explain our individuality. Perhaps these figures will create a sense of wonder in your mind. A sense of wonder is one of the greatest gifts of life. When cynicism erodes it we lose one of the secret joys of life.
There is a school of thought that suggests to us that we humans, butterflies, tortoises, our forests, the Oceans currents are a mere blind accident. Another way of thinking suggests that the Human body is the Temple of Spirit. The choice is yours. But either way taking care of your Body will give you longer to find out.