It feels like we may be on the cusp of a change in how we think about ourselves, at least with respect to our health. As we improve our ability to understand the complex relationships among the huge number of microbes we have for roommates, and how our external environment and diet impacts these communities, it seems likely that we will uncover major implications for our health and wellness. The spiritual world has long nurtured the idea of a deep and powerful connection between ourselves and the world around us, but perhaps that connection is much closer and personal than we ever thought. As noted in an NY Times editorial related to this paper:
"We are not just the expression of an individual human genome. We are, as Dr. Gordon writes, “a genetic landscape,” a collective of genomes of hundreds of different species all working together — in ways that leave our minds mysteriously free to focus on getting our bodies to the office and wondering what’s for lunch."