If you gain wisdom from staring at your belly button, it’s “omphaloskepsis.” Plus, “innie” and “outie” defined

Some of us get squeamish at the sight of them. Some of us shoot studs into them. Some of us forget they are even there.

No two are exactly alike — even for identical twins.

The belly button is the scar on the abdomen that is caused when the umbilical cord, through which the mammalian fetus receives nourishment, is removed. Unlike other placental mammals, the human umbilicus is quite conspicuous. In humans, the navel is the center of gravity of the body.

Omphalos, an ancient religious stone artifact, means “navel” in Greek. The legend goes that Zeus had two eagles fly across the world to meet at its center, or omphalos. The mythologies of many cultures consider the navel a primary component of creation myths.

Omphaloskepsis is the contemplation of one’s umbilicus in the process of meditation. However, the term navel-gazing has quite a different connotation. A navel-gazer is excessively self-absorbed.

When the scar appears as a depression, it is referred to as an innie. When it appears as a protrusion, the opposite colloquialism applies: outie. Some who are unhappy with the appearance of their navel opt for umbilicoplasty, or belly button surgery.

The navel was recently in the news. A study found that runners of West-African origin typically have a higher center of gravity than their competitors of European origin. In other words, their belly buttons give them an advantage on the track. Europeans have an advantage in swimming competitions because they typically have longer torsos and lower belly buttons. No mention was made regarding the effect of innies versus outies on performance. Do you think the center of the world is more likely in an innie or outie?

National Training Center (NTC)

Engineer April 1, 2000 | Bell, Steven; Neal, Robert On today’s battlefields, engineer leaders are, more and more, pressed for time. Therefore, they must make work efficiently between missions to reconsolidate, resupply, and prepare soldiers and equipment for future operations. Two recent trends in these areas have been identified during training at the National Training Center. First, companies and platoons often lack effective SOPS for tactical assembly area (TAA) operations. Second, too little focus is placed on preparing the unit’s equipment for continued operations. here gta 5 news

Engineer Platoon TAA Procedures Issue: Engineer platoons frequently do not have an SOP for TAA procedures.

Discussion: Engineer platoons often do not employ all chemical defense equipment (CDE). They also frequently do not establish tactical wire communications, protective obstacles, and listening posts/observation posts (LPs/OPs) for early warning.

Recommendation: Engineer platoons should develop specific SOPs for TAA procedures. The SOPS should be based on the company and battalion SOPs and doctrinal references such as FM 5-34, Engineer Field Data, pages 1-13 and 1-14. Emphasis should be placed on establishing priorities of work that enhance force protection. Security can be enhanced by performing quartering party operations, emplacing key weapons, emplacing CDE, establishing tactical wire (HOTLOOP) communications, maintaining radio listening silence on platoon FM nets, and performing “stand-to” procedures.

Volcano System Maintenance Issue: Engineer Volcano crews frequently conduct inadequate preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS).

Discussion: Vibration during cross-country travel in the M548 chassis often causes bolts, nuts, and electrical connections to loosen during movement. This can result in three types of failures: mechanical failure of the mounting hardware resulting in damage to the launcher or display control unit (DCU) as the launcher shifts; electrical connectivity failure between the DCU and the launcher panels; and connectivity failure between the launcher panels and the canisters.

Recommendation: Units should conduct daily PMCS according to Training Manual 9-1095-208-10-l, Operator s Manual for Dispenser, Mine, M139 w/Mounting Kits. Units should conduct combat checks according to Graphic Training Aid (GTA) 5-10-42, Volcano Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, during extended hauls. Crews should conduct PMCS according to GTA 5-10-42 and conduct a full built-in test (BIT) on the DCU in the assault position before execution. At a minimum, crews should conduct daily inspections of all mounting hardware for tightness and conduct a daily BIT test, especially after cross-country movement. go to web site gta 5 news

[Author Affiliation] By Sergeant First Class Steven Bell and Sergeant First Class Robert Neal [Author Affiliation] SFC Bell is an engineer company trainer. SFC Neal is an engineer platoon trainer.

Bell, Steven; Neal, Robert


  1. Ginny Weasley -  December 4, 2015 - 4:40 am

    God, I am very sure, thinks looking at your belly button is a laughable practice which will not gain you any wisdom but will only make you look foolish.

  2. Kay -  July 6, 2015 - 1:17 am

    Where do I find these type of classes/yoga? omphaloskepsis’ (staring at ones bellybutton) is that normal in a regular yoga class or what would be the name if the yoga to go to for gazing into ones own bellybutton power. Does anybody know of any such class in Vegas?

    • Ginny Weasley -  December 4, 2015 - 4:35 am

      It says omphalokepsis is gaining wisdom by staring at your belly button. Gaining wisdom by staring at your belly button is foolish and it can’t happen. Don’t try to do it, it will be a disappointment.

  3. B Zoe -  October 5, 2010 - 9:06 am

    In answer to this question, I agree with Skyler (see 7/18 post below). On another note, I was born an “innie” but several years ago had laproscopic surgery from which I emerged as an “outie”. As time has passed since then I’m now an “innie” again. There’re distinct advantages & disadvantages to each from my experience and it all depends on your state of mind and reference. Although I don’t believe it fair to be judgmental on such an issue; I do however have a preference for my innie despite the similar problems with toe jam & malodorousness. This preference perplexes me, nearly as much as my purpose in life (which I have changed several times in my 50 yrs. on this planet). If I feel the need to view things from an “outie” point-of-view again later, I know I can visit any trusty aesthetician to get a Restylane injection to return to my former, albeit short-spanned life as an outtie.

  4. forex robot -  July 26, 2010 - 8:12 am

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  5. jorgen -  July 22, 2010 - 9:44 am

    I am shocked how much time you people have set aside to argue ceaslessly on a blogsite! The christian guy getting bashed by his humanist fellow, people who find belly buttons very attractive or outright disgusting, and the the whole center of gravity concept!

    I wish this article would go more in depth. Interesting though how adaption has given other countries low center of gravities to manuever more agily.

  6. Liza -  July 21, 2010 - 1:01 pm

    I agree with Skyler. The earth is connected to the rest of the universe in a way through its umbilical cord of gravitiy which would be an outie.

  7. Dee -  July 21, 2010 - 9:34 am

    To Rhianna: many women especially are concerned about an innie or outei belly button. Number one if outie it is not very attractive in a bikini and it is not attractive in body clenching tops or stretch materials. It makes a difference to the individual. I’m glad for my innie!

  8. R.D. Bharadwaj -  July 20, 2010 - 11:51 pm

    It is really interesting to read new words every day. Today’s word -“omphaloskepsis” i.e. staring at your belly, is a new addition to my vocabulary. But let me inform you that in Indian context “Navel Gazing” is also taken as looking at the bellies of beautiful / young ladies admiringly, as if giving an impression that you like the pleassing personality of that lady. Ladies with flat naked bellies really look quite pleasing / beautiful to the on-lookers. This is particularly true in context to the Indian Women who wear Saries and their flat or little bit round shaped bellies looks quite ravishing and sexy to the men and that is why so many married ladies often wear Saries on most the social gatherings. They also enjoy men looking at them admiringly. – R.D. Bhardwaj, New Delhi

  9. alphabetgirl -  July 20, 2010 - 11:17 am

    I challenge the idea that the “umbilical cord is removed”.

    I would like an expert to explain what actually is done after the birth of a baby, and how the “belly button” is formed.

    On another note, I heard (back in the 60′s) and frequently say, “I want to quit the human race. I think I’ll hand in my belly button.”

  10. quack -  July 20, 2010 - 3:59 am

    Omphaloskepsis-Bibliokepsis-bibliokepsis-Lars von Trier the idiot
    -how about libation

  11. Charles -  July 20, 2010 - 3:17 am

    It is shame that Fran is so busy that he/she does not have time to contemplate his own navel, shall we pity those to busy to contemplate their own self’s, as they are too busy perhaps in the pursuit of more tangible satisfactions.

    It is interesting to note if nothing else that the naval is at the very least handy for marking the position of your solar plexus which lays a few finger widths above, and your Solar Plexus Chakra is the chakra associated with Personality, Self-respect, Self-confidence.

    If you ever study martial arts – you would know that your solar plexus is an area of your body you will want to protect very well from strikes, as at hit here this will almost certainly leave you winded and open to further attacks as it takes a few seconds to minutes to regain your posture.

    Thank Omphalos that I will always have my guard in the correct place above my navel.

    Thank you Kumar for reminding us of the connection to the mother and the universal mother.

    No wonder Omphalos, is such a mysterious sounding word.

  12. ladylove -  July 19, 2010 - 9:45 pm

    I love this post… but i think belly button piercing looks better with innie… LOLzzz

  13. bacchus -  July 19, 2010 - 5:32 am

    you can’t do belly-button shots with an outie

  14. Crab -  July 19, 2010 - 5:15 am

    ‘This term ‘innies’ and ‘outies’ is silly, because who cares what are belly button shapes are!!’

    It is not about ‘caring’. It is just to describe the shape.

  15. Dom -  July 19, 2010 - 3:23 am

    @krysteene: I am also a member of this prestigious group! It doesn’t fit into either such narrowly defined category (and is certainly not an outtie, CIA!). It presents a pleasing median point (physically and by category). The “in-n-out” belly button confers the advantages of both innie and outtie, without the disadvantages, viz.:
    1) No “black hole” disappearing into who knows where, expertly designed to collect fluff.
    2) No protrusion to get caught on clothing and scraped by surfboards.

  16. bubble -  July 19, 2010 - 12:46 am

    i learnt a new word Omphaloskepsis

  17. bubble -  July 19, 2010 - 12:45 am

    good info

  18. fizjizverberwallking??? -  July 19, 2010 - 12:26 am

    i have an inniec:D

  19. fizjizverberwallking??? -  July 19, 2010 - 12:24 am

    i found this very interesting. not so sure about the innies vs. outties argument either, but i SUCK at running/sprinting/any form of running races but am reeaaallllly good at swimming. i do agree that the navel is the centre of gravity though, ive been told that loads of times by teachers, friends, internet, so on so forth. :)

  20. Adam O'Hirsi -  July 18, 2010 - 9:52 pm

    How on earth can one gain wisdom by looking at an object, unless the object bears some material information?

    How about “Bibliokepsis?” If bibliokepsis is approved, then I am a bibliokepsis.

    Adam O’Hirsi

  21. the innie -  July 18, 2010 - 9:32 pm

    Are there any relation or implication between a navel-gazer and a hunch?

    I am going out for lunch then drop by a video store, the problem is their
    DVD selection is so meager that my hunch does not work too well going beyond or around the innie and the outie.

  22. learn-dog -  July 18, 2010 - 9:01 pm

    Everyone is so insightful and everyone has strengthened my knowledge of belly-buttons:) I feel more knowledgeable when I read and think about my body…I kinda forgot…we all got one….right?

  23. just -  July 18, 2010 - 7:47 pm

    anyway, very entertaining stuff, but if i read every one, I am getting sleepy, and developing a headache.belly-button has nothing to do with it.

  24. just -  July 18, 2010 - 7:43 pm

    I found lint in my bellybutton.A sign from God? Or do I need to buy some dryer sheets?

  25. WTF -  July 18, 2010 - 7:41 pm

    You guys are bored!!!!!!

  26. CIA -  July 18, 2010 - 7:25 pm

    @krysteene: Hmmmm… good question (if a bit longwinded!!) – i deem you an outie (being an innie myself so anyone not being a true ‘innie’ is an outie!) And also I don’t agree that u have an advantage… i reckon you are at a disadvantage not being able to discern your true belly button identification.

  27. krysteene -  July 18, 2010 - 6:49 pm

    OK I’ve heard the innie outie argument and discussion many times as well s visual comparisons when we get bored and conversation dilutes to those basic human elements we all have in common. My question, is it not possible to have both an innie and an outie? I ask because I have and most of my family has a belly button that goes in and then has the “bump” yet does not protrude past the “in”. does that make us neutral in the equation or because of the “bump instead of a complete “hole” where nothing is seen we are categorized as outies? If so, I argue there is an error in perception here as it clearly goes in first the out. If neutral and without classification would that not give us an advantage over all the innies and outies? I’ve seen true outies and it quite fit. Any experts to enlighten me? lol

  28. Eddie -  July 18, 2010 - 5:42 pm

    Re Fran Glaros-Sharp
    I find you one-sided and blind. I do not practice this myself but seriously don’t knock meditation which, clearly from what you were saying, you don’t seem to understand anyway. The way you refer to things you belong to a monotheist religion, yes? These have been the worst ever religions to nature and human-kind. Horrid. If I was religious which I am not (I am a Humanist – look up the British Humanist Association and see how involved they are) I would feel much more open with something such as Buddhism. You don’t have to do anything for a god. You do it for the good of Nature and Humanity and you know that means educating humanity sometimes. Not everything is possible, we are still terribly limited beings when you look at the Universe. A religion is so absolute, when looking at science a whole world is possible would you believe it. It involves critical thinking. Yet still not everything is possible. Everything is an awful lot and if more infinite than our relatively tiny minds can muster. For the small amount of time I actually believed in a gos it was the most repressed degrading time I’ve ever had in my life so no, of course I think science has more possibilities – I’m freer.

  29. Unique Mom -  July 18, 2010 - 5:28 pm

    I just had tram-flap surgery, so what does that mean about my center of gravity? I’m still an innie, but it looks very different. Just wondering why. It it what I had before, but just stretched with cute little scar marks around it from the stitches?

  30. Ridan Eon -  July 18, 2010 - 2:31 pm

    Bubba Bob, if the protrusion were on the front end of the swimmer (like a ship’s), an outie would help in the swimmer’s streamlining. Unfortunately, the structure is on the ventral side. Have you seen a ship designer adding a proboscis on the bottom of a ship? That structure will definitely add to the drag.

  31. tudorwit -  July 18, 2010 - 2:19 pm

    Re: dougie fresh- you make a good point that the navel is not the center of gravity in humans. This was misleading to me when I read it at first. However, I don’t think the article is trying to prove this. It just compares the body’s torso size to its center of gravity, then relates this to where the navel is located. So the shorter the torso, the higher the navel and vice versa as a result of the position of the anatomical components and mass located there.

    I think the sun is the world’s belly button.

  32. bubba bob -  July 18, 2010 - 1:40 pm

    Regarding the dis/advantages for a swimmer: Is it the “innies” or the “outies” gift a golf ball greater flight? Note the bulbous noses on modern deep-sea ships. Productive Probiscosities!
    Alas! I Love alliteration

  33. Minty Red -  July 18, 2010 - 12:54 pm

    I am one of the rare individuals that has lived on both sides of this fence. Upon birth, I was an outie. At age three, I underwent umbilicoplasty tranforming who I was; I became an innie. As I have always said, there are two types of people in this world, innies and outies. Only few of us have known both forms of existence…

  34. Denny -  July 18, 2010 - 12:25 pm

    Where is the center of gravity then?

    And to Rick, is all admiration objectively removed from perversion? Isn’t there even an element of it there? Or are we remiss for relating perversion to simple sexuality in this case? Just wondering, since most people would consider things like exceptional admiration for the feet to be a “foot fetish”. Is there a difference?

  35. forex robot -  July 18, 2010 - 11:58 am

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  36. Ridan Eon -  July 18, 2010 - 11:22 am

    In some southeast Asian cultures, the navel isn’t just the severed organ for fetal alimentation. It is accorded a more important role after birth. Since it’s the giver of life, while one was in the womb, it’s also considered as the determiner of life. To their mystics, “omphaloskepsis” consists of divining your future from the appearance of your navel. Strange belief. But isn’t in the belief in the efficacy of something that the placebo effect has its effect?

    On the advantage of an outie or innie in swimming, I think there is a possibility that an innie will confer some blessing on the bearer. Remembering how the dimples of a golf ball can aid its flight, an innie will function in the same manner and will bestow a positive hydrodynamic edge. Or so I am inclined to believe, until otherwise disproven in an experiment.

  37. dougie fresh -  July 18, 2010 - 10:50 am

    the navel is not one’s center of gravity. It might be that the navel coincidentally aligns with one’s center of gravity, but the two are unrelated.

    Consider that gaining leg or upper body muscle will shift your center of gravity, but not the position of your navel. Merely lifting your arms will change your center of gravity, but arm lifting will not shift your navel.

  38. bubba bob -  July 18, 2010 - 10:08 am

    Re: Rhianna….because who cares what our belly-button shapes are?
    I do. I DO! I DO TWO!! Exotic, Erotic, and Naughty and HOT! I think it’s Important what Navel you’ve Got!
    (I’ll show you mine if you’ll ….)

  39. Rick Turner -  July 18, 2010 - 9:45 am

    Personally I have always been fond of the umbillicus, on the female gender, & certainly not in a form of perversion. Some guys admire feet, legs etc. I admire the infamous umbillicus & again not in an offensive manor.

  40. Paul Hardy -  July 18, 2010 - 9:44 am

    An innie is NORMAL
    An outie is usually due to a congenital umbilical hernia, that will sometimes be outgrown before age 3-5, and sometimes will persist

  41. Kumar -  July 18, 2010 - 9:16 am

    The much forgotten umbilicus. Symbolically, it would represent our connection to our mother but perhaps the the universal mother. Each generation of humanity is part of an ongoing separation from our original ancestors. There are some myths that talk of separation of Father Sky and Mother Earth – the creation of male and female. Then there is the separation of parent from child – we are back to the, “which came first? Chicken or the egg question.” For some of us the umbilicus literally collects dust. I am a bit wiser now – the umbilicus will now represent the symbolic severed connection to the greater universe.

  42. Skyler -  July 18, 2010 - 8:32 am

    I’m from Ecuador: ‘The belly button of the world’. I say that is an outie, since the Andes Mountains are there. :)

  43. jennifer -  July 18, 2010 - 8:20 am

    inny, outty….not enough information to comment
    center of gravity is constantly changing as we move
    however is an excellant source for guided breath and directing
    inner widom.

  44. OMPHALOSKEPSIS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  July 18, 2010 - 6:16 am

    [...] an umbilical hernia for about fifteen years — before we it became strangulated because of our “OMPHALOSKEPSIS” our gestalt kept us overly self absorbed. — The question was about our “Inny” [...]

  45. bubba bob -  July 18, 2010 - 5:57 am

    The center of my graviy has gradualy grown worse, enabling the gazing of my now enormous girth. But now the button of my belly, having always been with me, (though I know where I can find it) is more difficult to see.
    OOMPH!aloskepsis says it all, to me.

  46. Fran Glaros-Sharp -  July 18, 2010 - 5:30 am

    In a world where folks are so busy (I am anway) the last thing I have time to do is to stare at my belly button. I figure it’s exactly the way God intended it to be, and I could stare all day and no change would take place. However, I would acquire a very stiff neck later on. Time is a precious thing, so let’s not waste one minute doing what accomplishes nothing. Give time to God and do some charity, and work for Him and His church, where one day there will be a profit. With God all thimngs are possible.

  47. Rhianna -  July 18, 2010 - 5:23 am

    This term ‘innies’ and ‘outies’ is silly, because who cares what are belly button shapes are!!

  48. Antoinette -  July 18, 2010 - 12:18 am

    The title of this article suggests that you can only apply the term ‘omphaloskepsis’ if you ‘gain wisdom’ from contemplating your belly button. What if you do NOT gain wisdom from this contemplation? Isn’t omphaloskepsis the contemplation itself (as it says in the main text), not necessarily resulting in wisdom?
    Anyway, interesting article! I had never heard of the terms ‘innie’ and ‘outie’. I’m gaining wisdom… errrr… knowledge every day! ;-)

  49. Dr. Sadiq -  July 18, 2010 - 12:14 am

    this is new word i learn “omphaloskepsis.” … but naval gazing exercise is been establish practice in many yoga, buddish and sufi school … to bring our attention inward toward our own centre … to our inside source …where when we were unaware and uncounscious at mother womb .. but every food nourishment and love was been provide by nature life or god unconditioanally . . so as per some sufi and yogi school at initial stages of studentship … this naval gazing excrcise has to be done … so student learn to focus inward toward its own divine sourse of everything … nice entry … i hope my explantion helps a little …. Dr. Prof. Shaikh G. Sadiq (MD, PHD. )


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top