Emeritus Professor Anwar Mall, University of Cape Town

Wednesday 25–Friday 27 January

11.15 am


As the march of science continues, it never fails to surprise. One example is the amazing information emerging about the brain and its relationship with the body, particularly the gut. Standard medical textbooks have focused on the physiology and anatomy of the major organs and systems of the body, treating each as an isolated entity. The brain, for generations, was the seat of control of the entire body. No mention was made of emotions, feelings, instincts, or consciousness. These were regarded as subjective activities in one’s daily existence, not suitable for the objectivity required by the empirical method of scientific investigation. It was brave neuroscientists like Francis Crick (the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA), Antonio Damasio and, later, others who tackled aspects of the ‘mind-making’ part of the brain, available to the public in popular literature.

However, something even more bizarre has entered the fray (a paradigm shift in our thinking of matters of brain-mind), with the recent discoveries of the microbiome and microbiota in the gut. We now speak of the gut-brain axis (with the gut considered to be the second brain), the human being a superorganism and feelings ‘felt’ in our guts rather than in the brain.

Some of these ideas will be shared over the three lectures in this series.

Lecture titles

1. Expert views on brain-mind

2. Homeostasis: precursor of feelings

3. Gut-brain axis

Recommended reading

Damasio, A. 2012. Self comes to Mind. New York: Vintage Books.

Sapolsky, R. 2017. Behave. New York: Penguin Random House.

Solms, M. 2021. The Hidden Spring. London: Profile Books.

Zimmer, C. 2018. She has her Mother’s Laugh. New York: Penguin Random House.

4. Participants will earn 3 CPD points for this course.