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 !