As a student in Neuroscience I, I have already been guided towards the idea that the central nervous system and the brain are the most important elements of the body. I have a vague idea of the peripheral nervous system, but I had no idea that the Enteric Nervous System was so complex. There is a common conception that emotion, memory and other things related to psychology are primarily controlled by the brain. Furthermore, it is assumed that any "physical" reactions to emotions are also controlled by the CNS. I was completely surprised that most of the serotonin of the body is produced in the ENS. This demonstrates that the ENS has direct control over a psychological part of the body. Also the ENS has as many nerves as the CNS.
After learning all of this information I had to ask myself, why do we place so much importance on the central nervous system? Even though it is a complex system that controls a good portion of the bodies functions, it amazes me that I had never heard of the ENS. It also is interesting to me that we haven't utilized information from the past to draw conclusions about the nature of the ENS. For example, when Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) were being developed, they noticed that targeting pain receptors in the brain also targeted receptors in the stomach, so patients taking NSAIDs often complained of severe stomach pain and nausea.
All of this evidence points to what Tuana describes as interactionism. It is much easier for us to accept that one system, such as the brain and CNS can control the entire body than it is for us to accept that multiple components contribute to the whole. In science there is the idea of parsimony, that the simplest answer is often the right one, but a lot of times this idea blinds us to more complex interactions. This can be likened to our views on gender, sexuality, and race. It is easier for us to accept that there is one way to look at race, gender or sexuality than it is to admit that they all interact.
Here is an interesting article that talks about how we only use 10% of our brain:
My question is this: Why do we place so much importance on the Central Nervous System? If we really only use 10% of the brain, why do we think it's so important?