I’ve just finished reading ‘Molecules of Emotion’: the science behind mind-body medicine. This book is incredible, I’ve had it on my shelf for a while now and I should have read it sooner. Published in 1997, it still feels very progressive except for her recommendation to eat the very estrogen-laden soy.
The story arc starts with her early-career breakthrough discovery of the opiate-receptor. From that brilliant beginning we read about her mid-career battles with the male-dominated science hierarchy and her pioneering research into how the chemicals in our body work as an information network. The book concludes with her later-career conclusions which straddle quantum physics.
She notes that our bodies are “a system with intelligence diffused throughout rather than a one-way operation”. In contrast we are predominantly taught that the only way to think is by using our brain.
The linear orientation dictates that our brains direct the orchestra of our body, we are Descarte’s children. “I think therefore I am”?
Pert’s work exposes the inaccuracy of this long-held belief. Our brain and our body work in concert, some activity is generated in the brain but far more activity is generated directly from our bodies. Emotions, specifically, “move back and forth, flowing freely between both places, and, in that sense, they connect the physical and nonphysical.”
Our bodies are brains. Yes, we store some memory in the brain, but by far the deeper, older messages are stored in the body and must be accessed by the body”. Your body is your conscious mind…”.
Mind blown? Or should I say “body-mind blown”?
It’s one of the most mind-expanding books I have read in a very long time and it’s a story told very, very well. It takes me a step closer to understanding this thing called intuition, the processing capability beyond thinking fast or slow (a reference to one of my other favorite books by Daniel Kahneman). It also takes me a step closer to understanding our interconnectivity as humans, her conclusions - through the lens of science - are illuminating.
The linear construct maintains that the mind is king. We are taught to think with our brains and not our bodies and, in so doing, we are missing valuable information. Candice Pert’s revolutionary work reveals a much bigger picture of how we can process information.