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Heart and head, hand-in-hand…


I have observed that, at some point of time or the other, in any in-depth discussion, particularly regarding a decision, already made or to be made, the issue of heart versus head comes into focus. It is as if they are two things opposed to each other, an either-or option, mutually exclusive. I too have my moments of ‘what I must do’ versus what I want to do’…in other words head versus heart. It is a difficult to handle dichotomy.


I have wondered why the head and heart are always pitched against each other. Why can’t they complement each other…participate equally in a decision, for example ?


This morning I was just flicking through channels and on one I saw a small part of a scene that set me thinking about this.


This 5 year old little girl and her mother are walking back from school. The mother’s sandal’s thumb-strap gives way. But she continues walking since there is no other option. Mother is limping now and Daughter is watching her and imitating the mother. After a while Mother removes her sandals and carries them in her hands. Some distance away, Mother sits down on the footpath and starts massaging her aching feet. Daughter looks at Mother massaging her aching feet. Daughter looks at Mothers feet without sandals and looks at her own with school shoes. Then Daughter removes her shoes and attempts to make her mother wear them.


At this point I switched off the TV as I had to leave. But the scene got me thinking. The scene played over in my mind as I drove to office. In my understanding, this is how the head-heart scenario worked in this one at indecipherable, inseparable, minute levels: Daughter sees (information input through a sensory organ – action governed by brain), understands what ‘aching’ is (head function), compares her feet to the mother’s feet (head function), understands the difference (head function), correlates ‘aching’ with ‘missing footwear’ (head function), then feels compassion (emotion = heart function) and attempts to put her shoes on her mother’s feet (head function).


Some would argue that emotion too is just some chemical activity or brain function. However, for the average human, emotion is associated with heart and rationality with head. I choose to follow that line of thought.


Here, I believe, the head and heart behaved as team-mates.


I have always wished them to be good friends with each other and more often than not, I have found them to be at loggerheads with each other. Life would be so much strife-free, decisions so much more appropriate, errors so few, if they were to be in tandem !

Comments

Seema Smile said…
What about liver? As in 'maine kaleje pe pathar rakh ke ye decision liya'.
Must have been painful, putting stone on liver and all... they must try the kidney instead... that is where the phrase 'kidney stones' comes from.
The Wanderer said…
:) Oh ya ! And the times when a filmy father overcome with emotions says to his son-in-law, "Main apne kaleje ka tukda tumhe soanp raha hoon !"...
Swapnali said…
Beautiful story of the girl and the mother.

One thing that is worth thinking is that because the child's brain "head" is not fully developed she was not able to use rationality as to the fact the sizes of the shoes are different and although the intention is innocent and very cute, the action is not useful to the mother in the real sense.

So, in effect, what I am trying to say is the the heart and the head "HAVE" to work together and at par with each other, in order for any decision to work effectively.

But that you are right in saying, is the hardest to achieve.

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