Friday, October 26, 2012

Follow Your Heart To Ruin

     "Follow your heart", more than any other phrase, was the guiding principle for the children of the 1960s. It was this misguided principle that they subsequently inculcated in their children, thereby condemning them to lives of undue frustration and adversity. The drug addict follows his heart to abandoning everything good in his life for the sake of pursuing his addiction. The pregnant teen followed her heart when she participated in the conception of the child within her. The obese over-eaters follow their hearts to a life-style that leads to diabetes, heart disease and eventual death. Prisons are full of people who have followed their hearts.
     The heart will always lead one astray, because the human heart doesn't want that which is sensible nor productive. The heart is ruled by emotion, thereby making it incapable of reason or the ability to see consequences for behavior. Even when it comes to those things traditionally assigned to the heart, like compassion, charity and love, the heart will not yield the best of results. The person who gives the homeless drug addict or alcoholic a few dollars because their heart tells them to do so, is not helping the addict or themselves. They may have an immediate feeling of self worth and well being for engaging in a charitable act, but intellectually they know the addict will use the money to buy more alcohol or drugs, thereby perpetuating the squallier in their life. The heart will also mislead when it comes to love. How many people have followed their hearts into bad marriages, when they knew intellectually from the outset that their potential mate was not right for them. The heart is what informs someone that through marriage they will "change"  their potential mate's bad habits or character flaws.
     It is my assessment that our country has engaged in policies of the heart that have put us in debt and have made the intended beneficiaries of those policies more dependent. Dependence is never healthy, either for the dependent or those upon whom they depend. The simple explanation is that independence is the key to happiness. People who are not self-reliant are much less likely to be happy. Happiness is dependent on doing the things in life we may not want to, like going to work everyday, saving money or telling our children "no" when we know in the short-term they may not like us very much. In other words, the glow of instant gratification fades almost as instantly and the heart needs to manufacture a new object of pursuit. Lest we forget that the road to ruin is not paved with reason from the intellect but good intentions from the heart.

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  1. Excellent piece, I have bookmarked your blog and appreciate having the sort of quality writing you provide.
    I have said to friends before that the heart follows the mind--although there are feelings we get without asking for them, what we do will affect the way we feel. If I eat broccoli in spite of hating it at first, I will begin to develop a taste for it. If I flip someone off because they cut in front of me, my anger will become amplified. Using the mind to "follow the heart" results in nothing but a circular loop that tends toward anarchy.

    1. Thanks, John I really appreciate the feedback. It is always nice to hear that someone appreciates what you've written.

  2. I just thought I'd add a thought I had the other day which pertains to writing. I was thinking of how food is so enticing because we love it's flavor and the good feeling from having eaten well. And it's good to enjoy food not just because we need it. What is beautiful about what people can do and make is that it can become enticing as natural pleasures, like excellent writing which I do not need as I need food, yet provides such a similar attraction and satisfaction that a thousand monkeys on typewriters could never provide.
    I hope you enjoy my little thought as much as I have begun to enjoy your blog.