A Modest Physiological Proposal
Martha Engber
[Total Pages: 6]
Engber Page 1


Consider the average index finger. It consists of three segments starting with the fingertip moving down to the middle phalanx and then the proximal phalanx that attaches to the knuckle. Together these phalanges can extend, as when pointing the finger, or flex, as when pulling a trigger.
    By themselves, phalanges, or any body parts, for that matter, are only so many proteins, lipids, carbo-hydrates, nucleic acids, and minerals that, when com-bined, become tissue and bone. These compounds would remain completely useless if not for the Central Nervous System, or CNS.

    The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord, which together issue commands that direct bodily movement. If one needs to kill an enemy, for instance, the CNS sends an order for the hand to pick up and use a weapon. The CNS can just as easily command the hand to wave, as in victory, or the bicep to flex, as in a show of strength.
    Considering that these are among the millions of possible bodily actions that can be instigated by the CNS, it's not unreasonable to think of the CNS as the body's chief executive. From its superior position on the body it presides over an extensive mass of units, otherwise known as cells, which carry out the many tasks that allow humanity to thrive as the world's dominant species.