Discourse Scholarship Teaching

Unpleasant Vedanā and Hangry Bacteria?

Bridging anthropocentricity, one bacteria-laden blog post at a time.

Greetings, Friendlies!

An article published in Nature Microbiology earlier this month details how a species of bacteria, when deprived of nutrients, releases toxins into its environment.

I like the anthropomorphizing in this article; they describe the bacteria as “hangry”. We do the same, yes? Get grumpy-hungry and release our toxic vibes into the environment.

It got me thinking about vedanā (the pleasant/unpleasant feeling tone of experience, second foundation of mindfulness, aka Feeling Tone), and how I first heard Dr. Judson Brewer explain this basic aspect of living organisms, moving towards what is beneficial to our organism (nutrients/conducive environments/reproductive partners) and withdrawing from what is unbeneficial to our organism (toxins/toxic environments/dangerous others). Vedanā, Brewer and others have claimed, is one way our organism internally communicates this information throughout itself.

Do these bacteria experience vedanā in the same way I do? Unknown. Still, there seems to me something bridging the athropocentric gap, seeing in these bacteria behavior I can recognize in my own organism. YMMV.

With friendliness!

One reply on “Unpleasant Vedanā and Hangry Bacteria?”

YMMV? Google just taught me it stands for Your Mileage May Vary, and is used on social media to mean you understand people may have a different opinion or experience than yours. LOVE IT!!! It’s kinder than IMHO. Thank you, Teacher!!


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