Like other social animals, humans need other humans for survival. The human species prides itself for its adaptability and ability to learn, although it shares these features with all forms of life, including micro-organisms.

While it is a popular view that the electrical network plays an essential role in learning and memory, this view fails to explain ‘learning and adapting’ in life forms without a nervous system. Humans need a brain to access and express memory. The memory location can easily be external, like in this case. You currently read a memory trace external to your own brain.

The distinction between procedural and episodic memory makes sense for functioning as a human being. After birth, humans learn the movement procedures essential to navigate through life: grasping and other forms of manipulation, sitting, standing and walking. Most likely, you will be unable to remember how you acquired these skills, as you have operated in a trance-like state before developing an idea of “you” as a separate being.

Procedural memory seems obviously connected to the body as it relates to motor skills. You might not be able to describe how exactly you ride a bicycle, but once you learned it, your body will remember how it’s done and prevent you most likely from getting hurt. Muscle memory alone provides evidence that humans store memory not only in the brain.

Episodic memory relates to your story, your idea about yourself. You have to exercise it every time you fill in a form, defining yourself as combination of name, date of birth and place of residence. You exercise it even more if you bring your attention to the last time you actually did it in real life. Did it happen online or on paper? In a familiar or new location? Were there any smells around? How did the space around you look like? Who wanted to know and why? How did it feel?

The emotional state determines how accessible episodic memory becomes. While you can learn to suppress obvious signs of emotional expression outwardly, it requires you to notice the bodily signals correlating to your emotional state to do so. Mammals signal emotions. Your experience consists of many levels of perception encoded together as memory: what you saw, what you heard, what you tasted, what you smelt, what you felt, how you felt, what you thought, etc.

If you want to operate your human body at maximum efficiency, give your brain a rest as creator, narrator and proprietor of memories. The brain has a hell of a job coordinating movement and balance, providing unsurpassed skills to produce sounds by synchronising throat, tongue and face muscles. It also generates your illusion of reality of existing in space-time, but it works as mere receiver/projector of information.

Memory involves the whole human being, as well as every single cell. It works holographic, each part containing the whole story. Cell membranes contain structures called microtubules which store the living memory of the cell and its ancestors. You don’t need to understand your internal memory storage system from the technical bottom-up level to improve it.

Attention and intention play an essential role in acquiring solid procedural memory, especially once you have learned the most basic movement skills mentioned before. Episodic memory thrives from the combination of multiple sensory impressions.

As an experiment, consider this idea: You learn and remember with your whole body, and your body remembers as good as everything “you” experienced.


Self organisation

The main networks of your body organise themselves. Redundancy provides the basis to reconfigure pathways temporarily or permanently unavailable. Millions, if not billions of chemical reactions happen in the realm of your body every second, facilitating a similar number of electric impulses.

Knowing the details of this torrent of minute transformations rarely helps to solve problems. You can hardly access these with your perception anyway. Cells organise themselves into functional units like organs, blood vessels and muscles, or as mobile carrier or intervention units.

A lot of things happen on a microscopic scale in a human body. The amount of body activity you can actually willingly control, pales in comparison to the autonomous processes keeping you alive.  If you really want to, you can gain a certain level of control even over autonomous functions by using special yogic techniques, but you don’t need to in order to lead a healthy and happy life.

Air, water, food and company keep single cells happy within the body. The body itself acts like a single cell in a larger human organism like a family, community or work place. If cells within a body organise themselves, wouldn’t bodies as cells of the organism of society organise themselves as well? What can you do as a cell of human society, of the body social?

This leads straight to the next big question. What kind of relation exists between ‘you’ and ‘your body’? Ask yourself this question while dreaming or as meditation. As your body rests, you experience it without physical reasons. If you smell the roses which don’t exist you created them.

The idea of matter provides a convenient metaphor for the experiences of a physically manifest universe.  Luckily, matter organises itself into molecules, stars, galaxies and all the rest. What role do you play in this entirely self-organising scenario? Where does self-organisation end and self-determination begin?

Self-determination can interfere with self-organisation early and radically within human beings. Or rather, egocentrism undermines the delicate dynamic balance of self-organisation. Any form of centrism creates implicit hierarchies, and thus skewed perspectives of the interconnectedness of nature.

‘You’ cannot exist without others, and without any company can’t continue the story of humanity, nor would anyone listen to it. You emanated into a body, a cell of a larger organism. This organism inhabits a larger organism as part of a diverse biosphere. You uniquely express your specific consciousness frequency within the spectrum of cosmic consciousness, just like everything and everyone around you.

The body acts as vehicle for the self and as reflection of it. Your body organises itself according your intention, even if your minds sometimes fails to acknowledge this. Your intention hide in your subconscious, programmed into tissue and not easy access for the conscious mind. Never mind, doesn’t matter.




Structural support

Just like any other space-binding creature on this planet, humans have a body to move around. 206 bones float in a network of tendons, ligaments, muscles and connective tissue. The position of the bones determines your body shape, the tension network around it provide its integrity.

Tensegrity governs the permanent shape-shifting of the body. Each joint attaches to multiple tension elements. Antagonistic muscle groups allow for back and forward movement along hinge joints. Ball and sockets joints like hips and shoulders can come apart without activated muscles holding it in place.

Your tonic muscles maintain your body shape most of the time. These muscles use oxygen directly, and can sustain activation for a long time. If you would use only these muscles to stand, you could do so effortlessly for hours. As an experiment, just stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart and ask yourself gently whether you can do it easier. Observe what happens.

Just standing or sitting turns into an opportunity to discover your unique attitude to the world. Slow movement serves the same purpose. When done properly, mainly the tonic muscles facilitate the movement.

Most of the ‘large’ movements involve phasic muscles, which act faster and stronger than red muscles tissue. With impressive names like biceps, latissimus or gluteus and easy visibility this group seems more popular than the core. You don’t need to know the names of core muscles to give them a workout, learn to deactivate the large, phasic muscles and the tonic muscles take over.

Technology has influenced human movement quite significantly over the last few centuries. Laziness has been known for longer, yet only privileged people could avoid even moderate physical activity. The modern world has made humanity quite sedentary, which numbed the bodily feedback most people can perceive.

If you understand the technology of your structural support system (tensegrity), you can regain graceful ways of moving, even if your gait currently resembles a zombie shuffle. As an experiment, have a walk and focus on the constellation of your bones.


If you ever touched a live wire, or two poles of a battery, you have experienced your sensitivity for and conductivity of electricity. Don’t worry if you haven’t. Your nervous system acts as a communication network, transmitting information from our senses, muscles and organs back and forth.

You have three cloud networks for all the electricity buzzing along your nerve cells right now, coordinating millions of simultaneous signals along simple rules. Each node of the network has lots of input and output connections to other nodes, and can fire impulses more than 100 times per second.

Multiply this with trillions of neurons, and you will understand that a lot of electrickery happens within your nervous system at any given moment, definitely much more you want to spend attention on.

The cloud networks host the centre of each node, the body of a nerve cell. Out of the cell body grow the communication channels, the axons. When you pick up a cup, the axons on your fingertips connect with the nerve cell body within the brain. Imagine axons as tentacles of neurons.

Your arms and legs fulfil different functions from your trunk or your head. Limbs seem more disposable, but rarely develop a life on their own. Skin covers the entire surface of your body, and that’s precisely where your brain ends. Your nervous system looks more like a jelly fish with heaps of entangled tentacles than the inside of a walnut.

If you could see a little blue dot when a nerve cell body in the brain fires, and a tinier golden dot as the signal moves along its tentacle, then you would witness a brilliant fire work. Not all of your electric activity focusses in your brain. Add green dots for nerve cell body within the heart, and orange dots for the gut nervous system to add a bit more sparkle.

The spine contains abundant numbers of neural cell bodies while connecting the cloud network centres heart, brain and guts. It contains the colours of the rainbow from red to light blue, your skull adds the remaining frequencies of the visible spectrum.

Luckily, like all systems in your body, the electric system largely organises itself in response to its internal and external environment. On the highest level, you can distinguish (with some training) the nerve centres for thinking, feeling and moving.

As an experiment, map the gut centre (lower dan tien) as the feeling centre, the brain as movement centre and the heart as thinking centre.


For as long as the human body lives, it maintains movement within. Our breath moves our lungs, blood absorbs the oxygen by moving in bursts through its vessels, electrical pulses move along nerves, interstitial fluid flows along its channels, connective tissue is moved by breath and blood. This happens all the time, and you haven’t even moved a single muscle consciously.

You affect processes like breathing and heart rate to a certain degree by conscious means, but without necessary knowing to which effect. Usually, the way in which the autonomous systems work, reflects emotional states and/or the physical activity you engage in.

Unless you learn a new way of moving, like dance, martial arts moves or other physical skills, voluntary movement happens by executing habitual patterns. It took you a while to master the art of walking and talking, of reading and writing, yet now this activities requiring a complex set of muscular coordination happen by pure intention.

If you ever engaged in ‘ghosting’ (copying the way another person walks), you get an idea that the simple act of taking a step forward has quite a lot of individual variations of doing it. Hundreds of muscles acting on the 206 bones in a human body allow for many ways of doing something simple like walking.

The habits of voluntary movement affect the quality of the involuntary movements essential to keep you alive. A simple experiment can give you an immediate experience of this relation. Let your head slowly move towards the ground, curling your spine. When you can’t curl anymore without effort, try taking what you think of as deep breath.

You might have noticed that this bodily configuration restricts the movement of your ribs, and interfered quite a lot with getting much air into your lungs. Less air means less fuel for the metabolic processes happening inside your body, which in turn can limit what you intent to achieve.

Of course, it’s unlikely that this forward curl looks anywhere near how you usually move through your life. This experiment just illustrates that your voluntary movements interact with the involuntary movements, quite often in not beneficial ways. Luckily, no matter how you deliberately distort your body, it’s usually not immediately life threatening.

Transforming interfering habits into supporting habits pays off. Despite the majority of people using their body not really aligned with its design, the life expectancy averages at 69 years.  The way how you move through life will affect how long you live, and how happy you feel on your journey.







Instruction manual for human bodies

Welcome to the most useful manual you will read. Self-programming, self-regenerating carbon units come without a manual, which often leads to more malfunctioning than necessary.

Thanks to the resilient base design of the human body, functioning in survival mode doesn’t require knowledge of this manual. Human cultures integrated some of the essentials as well, which allowed the development of society as we know it today.

Your curiosity for this manual is living proof of the need for its existence. Maybe a malfunctioning body and failed attempts to “fix it” brought you here. Or the idea “I have a body, I know how it works, let me show you where you’re wrong”. Maybe a bunch of serendipities made it unavoidable to have a closer look.

Even without this manual, you have already managed to make your self home in a human body, and acquired the skills required to access this manual. And many more. Congratulations.

This manual uses a system perspective to explain the human body and some of its subsystems. As mentioned, you already made some important steps in operating a complex entity with amazing features.

Building blocks

Your body consists of trillions of very similar structured units, cells. Each cell has a life of its owns, and goes through the same cycles the whole organism does. We define a unit or entity by having a boundary. A membrane encloses a cell to distinguish between interior and exterior, just like the skin creates the physical border of the human body.

The boundary of carbon based units acts as interface between in- and outside, allowing nutrients to enter the organism and metabolic waste to leave it. This process of exchange and elimination happens nearly automatically while being dependent of the environment.

Once something nutritious has passed through the interface, it needs processing to fuel life. Molecules get broken up and reassembled, assimilating the useful bits and discarding the rest. A bunch of generic molecules transform into very specific ones capable of fulfilling the internal needs of the cell.

The assimilated food can then be converted to power the engine, or integrated to repair faulty components or build new ones. As energy source it provides vitality, as spare part it maintains the purity of the system.

A self-regulating system requires a bit of regulation to facilitate protection. If the membrane can’t react to toxins in its environment, or can’t circulate its essentially needed molecules to the right part of the cell, it can’t survive.

Not everything a cell needs is permanently available, nutrients converted to physical energy will be stored, and can be distributed to achieve the next goal. In an abundant environment, using energy for reproduction makes more sense than moving around. In a toxic environment, getting out of there serve survival best.

Just like any building block of your human body, you need food entering the system, digest it, extract nutrients, integrate and convert them into needed bits, use those bits for vitality and integrity, circulate them around, protect the system, store some energy and choose how to use it.

The subsystems achieving this functionality in a human body appear very complex. Describing any system from an unsuitable perspective makes it look complex, and like fish in water, humans many made some clumsy attempts of understanding their own existence, and how bodies work.

While many people talk about the cycle of life, they often simplify it to “get born, survive, propagate, die”. Life has many rhythms, and understanding the life cycle of a cell has much more relevance to our day to day existence than the life time perspective.

As any decent instruction manual, it starts with a description of the system, important components, features and specifications. This ends the first lesson.