Reason and Emotion

The ability to reason and understand is important to our well-being, but so is our ability to feel emotions. Let’s look at how the two fit together.

Intelligence is a wonderful thing. Our ability to reason, to make rational choices, and to look at things analytically has given humanity many great things. But when the mind is operating without the heart, when intellect rules without benefit of humility, we often end up in very deep trouble. In the 20th century alone, we saw the most cultured nation in Europe launch the Holocaust and the most creative scientists among us have managed to spoil our air and drinking water.

Have you ever wondered why so many people seem to be afraid of their feelings? They are determined to avoid appearing openly emotional and they often behave scornfully to others who are in the grip of strong feelings. They want to feel in control at all times, but one of the things about being fully human is acknowledging that reason can only go so far. There are some things in life that are deeply mysterious. They defy logical explanation and require that we accept rather than understand.

Sometimes we need to care and show kindness rather than dissect and analyze. Remember the scientists in the movie “E.T.?” They were driven by their intellects to study this wonderful creature instead of loving and learning from him, something the children did quite naturally.

So, don’t allow your quest to understand life prevent you from truly experiencing it, and don’t let your desire for knowledge keep you from achieving real wisdom. To be fully alive, it takes both reason and emotion.