The heart over reason: Is it good to follow the desires of my heart? Many people have a dilemma that does not allow them to choose whether to follow their heart’s desires or to heed the voice of reason in their brain. This can happen at any stage of life, be it infancy, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.
In turn, this can lead to big identity problems and affect the efficiency of people’s decision-making. For this reason, people must form a critical sense that allows them to decide between reason or their heart.
In this article, we show you how to choose between the heart and reason. Considering that the final decision you make depends on your needs and the circumstances you are experiencing since there is no specific rule to deal with these dilemmas.
The heart over reason: Which is the reason?
To know what reason is, we must investigate, above all, language. We must analyze the use of this term in different areas.
Is rationality a property or just a human capacity? Is thinking the same as understanding? Philosophers have analyzed these questions throughout history. At present, we understand rationality as a plural concept whose meaning and function depend on the application.
The person asking this question wants to know what we mean by reason and usually expects a definition. However, we cannot give this initially, but, in the best of cases, as a result of a proper investigation. But how is the question of reason investigated? There is only one way: through language. We must clarify how we use the word reason in areas familiar to us and ask ourselves how this use fits with what we normally propose in such contexts.
In day-to-day life, the noun reason arises rather rarely, although sometimes we say that it is possible that someone listens to reasons or doubts the government’s reason. But its corresponding adjective -reasonable- is more familiar and rich in meaning: for example, we consider statements, conclusions, decisions, rules, or institutions to be reasonable when they are understandable, sensible, convincing, adequate, or appropriate.
Sometimes we refer by this, attributively, to the content of what we judge and, adverbially, to its realization. Something can be reasonable or unreasonable, not only as a result but also as a process.
Our grammar indeed suggests considering reason as an abstract object about which this or that can be asserted. However, we can avoid it if we remember what we mean when we ask someone to listen to reason. We could just as well say, “Be reasonable!” in saying this, we appeal to the fact that they can do something reasonable; that is exactly as a skill, a faculty (as the philosophers say), or ability.
In Molière’s comedy The Misanthrope, of 1666, it is said: “Man is a rational being; whoever believes it has never been a man”. These words refer to the old definition, coming from the Middle Ages, of the human being as a “rational living being” (animal rationale). But nobody seriously believes that we are always rational because that is part of our essence. But it is that they did not want to affirm that either.
With rationalization as defining the human being, they never referred to a permanent property, but always to a capacity. Only in that sense can rational beings be rational, but also irrational. In this second case, we use the predicate in an evaluative or normative sense.
On the contrary, it would never occur to us to reproach our dog for not being rational; we know it is irrational or lacking in reason from the perspective of the values and norms being rational. In this sense, Immanuel Kant proposed the following correction: to rule out the Molière misunderstanding. We would have to understand a man, not as an animal rationale, but as a “being capable of reasoning.”
The heart over reason: Benefits of learning to reason
When there is a conflict between mind and heart, many people try to position themselves. On the one hand, some believe that reason is superior to feelings because letting ourselves get carried away by them makes us vulnerable. Some believe that emotion is essential to love others, and that love moves us.
The truth is that all are partly right. The human being is characterized by having reason and heart, and both form a whole that cannot be divided. Separately, they are dangerous: the mind uses logic but forgets what you feel; the heart guides you, but it can make mistakes.
If you don’t know what to do, starting by listening to your head is a good option. First, because it is in charge of thinking, arguing, and establishing good sense to your most intimate being. Second, because it is your mind that will put the grain of sanity that you may be missing.
Advantages and disadvantages of following the desires of the heart
Ambition is healthy and positive when developing projects and works as a motor that invites us to improve, grow, or progress, to abandon conformism and mediocrity, and work on willpower. Ambition is healthy when the desired objective and the means employed to achieve it are reasonable.
Ambitious people who desire to improve themselves daily to go further have a positive ambition because everything is possible with determination, effort, and dedication. Positive ambition gives the motivation and determination necessary to achieve goals and objectives in life.
These tips to learn to choose between the heart and reason should be of good help for you to make the right decisions regarding seeing yourself in one of these dilemmas.