Head and Heart: Blend Both and then Use Your Hands to Act

We cannot live by head knowledge alone or be sustained as whole souls merely by our heart

“Our empty heads cannot be filled by our overflowing hearts and our heads cannot grind out enough truths to heal a broken heart. Oddly, if you get the need for this balance, you may find yourself the loneliest one of all: too intellectual for the passionate, too passionate for the intellectual.”


Whether you watch the movie Metropolis or read Republic or simply sit with the Psalms, recall that you can be wounded in your heart or your head. Both wounds matter. God designed both your heart and your head to give you direction and being disabled either place is dangerous.

Take time to get better. We cannot live by head knowledge alone or be sustained as whole souls merely by our heart.

Let’s briefly define terms. I am using “head” as shorthand for the rational faculty. The “head” uses facts, the tools of logic, and reasonable speculation to make sense of the world. The heart takes experiences and emotions and uses them to give us wisdom. The head and heart always are in tension in this broken world. The head and heart both know what should be and are wounded by the failings around us.

A cult or error is as likely to begin with intellectualism as with too much feeling. A person grabs a truth and runs it into the ground in ways that a sound heart would prevent. Ugliness of attitude is a tip off that the heart is wounded and powerless. The man or woman who can only use the head will become narrow and nasty, though often the narrowness will claim to be intellectual openness.

“We have no toleration for intolerance,” becomes an excuse for the most bigoted dismissal of contrary opinions.

Ugly talk is not plain talk. The sneer or the condescending dismissal of those not in the know is more hateful than a put down. Open anger has health to it, but there is no possible charity in the snob’s sneer, because the humiliation would be denied.

A healthy heart takes emotions, judges which are healthy, and compares them to life experiences. An emotionally healthy person can sometimes see emotionally beyond the facts. These “hunches” or “intuitions” are a kind of genius that checks the intellectual like. Pascal understood the power of the heart to see truth that the unbalanced intellect alone could never grasp.

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