Where does one living creature end, and another begin? Ponder this: depending on which scientist you are talking to, the non-human microbes living inside you either match, or outnumber, the amount of human cells you are made of. These microbes play an integral part in your overall health and maybe even your emotional well-being.
This leads me to wonder: am I my “human” genes alone, or some mix of human genes and the microbes I harbor within me? What does this mean for my sense of self? I imagine perhaps I am more of an ecosystem than an individual, isolated being.Then if I extend this thinking to the macrocosm, does that make me like a microbe living in the larger organism of the earth? Am I a beneficial probiotic or a disease-causing pathogen?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but this information is making me rethink what it means to be an individual, autonomous creature.