“Riddle me this, old friend: in a presidential race, how do you weigh the candidate's stance on the issues versus the candidate's abilities? Every election year I print out a list of stances on issues, remove the names, hilight the ones I agree with, count the results (this year the highest was 5 of 13, and that candidate won't make the primary)... Where do you vote if the candidate you most respect and admire as a leader and a person disagrees with you on almost every issue?”
A)I’d look at my record. Let’s say that, in the past, when I admired a leader, he turned out to be worthy of my admiration even if we disagreed on issues. After all—you must have similar values, otherwise you wouldn’t admire them, (I assume.)
B) Let’s also say that you look at your track record voting for (or observing) those who agree with you on the issues. Do they turn out to be trustworthy? Do they keep to their promises? And…how did things turn out, anyway?
Let’s say that both A and B are true. The ones we admire turn out to be good leaders. And the one we admire less, but agree with, implement their promises, and the results are good. I vote for B.
Let’ say A is false and B is true. The ones I admire but disagree with, down the road, turn out to be jackasses or dreamers, but the ones who seem a bit lacking, but I agree with, tend to keep their promises, and the results are good. I vote for B.
Let’s say A is true and B is false. I tend to admire people who turn out to be decent leaders, even though I disagree with their policies. And the people whose policies I agree with (even though they seem lacking) either don’t keep their promises, or it doesn’t turn out well.
I go with A. Further, I begin to suspect that I am sporting damage that warps my reality map—that what I think is “good” isn’t at all, it is some kind of hidden agenda relating to fear or neediness, and that there are unscrupulous politicians who exploit this to get elected. In this scenario, head-versus-heart, heart wins. The person who seems most admirable turns out to be so, even if we disagree—I am flatly seeing the world wrong somehow, but can still trust my basic judgment of human beings.
But what if neither is true? What if people I think trustworthy turn out to be rogues, and people who espouse my own political positions are either liars, or, those positions once implemented suck big time?
Then I am in a state of real confusion. I can trust neither my head nor my heart. I would expect this to manifest in other areas of my life: bad relationships, a distorted body image, a sucky career. I have major work to do. I think I would retreat from the political arena until I got my shit together.
Does that help?
In essence, this is the question: should I trust my head or my heart? I’m asking you to look at your own track record. Which has been correct more often? Ideally, you look for those situations where head and heart agree. If they tend not to, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, and some inner work is called for. More to the point, in Lifewriting, HEAD, HEART, and BODY must all agree to have maximum efficiency in your life.
It is so sad to watch people whose physical, mental, and emotional aspects head in different directions. They can be friggin’ BRILLIANT, and yet still fail in life. I’ve had some real doozy examples of this over the years…and quite recently. We’ll talk about this more, later, but one example that came up last year was a company with a VERY spiritual bent who called me in to consult with them. They had superb employees, a dynamite program, and a client list to die for. And were going broke. I listened to them for about an hour, and then asked a simple question:
“I bet you have a company manifesto, a set of rules and principles and goals for your enterprise. Probably written down, maybe graven in stone, and I bet you have it memorized.” They nodded emphatically.
I dropped the bomb: “I bet that nowhere in the top five goals is `we’re going to make a profit.’” They were dumbstruck. It had never occurred to them.
Why? Because deep inside, they consider money to be unspiritual. And the business had, in effect, been designed to prove this contention.
By hiding their dysfunction in the arena of “spirit” it was unassailable. You can’t question someone’s connection to God, can you? THAT’S why I don’t mess with that arena. Not that it doesn’t matter. It does, more than everything else, combined. But because you can’t measure it effectively.
So I look at the three “Mundane” arenas: body, career, relationship. Trust me, if there is a problem, it will show in one of these. And the “I’m spiritual” cop-out will ring loudly.
Now…let’s back away from that and look at Rory’s question again. When head and heart disagree, I’d go with heart, because the emotions tend to process a gigantic amount of data at light speed and present it as a kinesthetic flash. BUT…if your personal history says that your emotions are untrustworthy, trust your head and get help to heal your heart. If the reverse is true, trust your heart and study to increase your knowledge.
We want heads and hearts to agree. We want intellectual maps of the world that lead to love and light. We want healthy emotions that lead us to doing, instinctively, those things that intellect would have led us to if we had the time for our conscious minds to crunch the data.
And both should lead us to healthy bodies. Does the intellect lead you to neglect the body? Probably an emotional problem. Does the heart lead you to dilemmas that make you feel stupid…hmmm, another emotional problem.
In fact, when head and heart disagree, I think I’d assume that the problem lies in an emotional arena, and that we’ve concealed it from ourselves, and masked it over with hyper-intellectual b.s.
The world is filled with people who want to believe that they are driven by intellect, have no unconscious drives, and so on. They stumble through life making choices that any worm would avoid and when it doesn’t work, assume there’s something wrong with the world. No. The world is perfect.
And in fact, so are they. The trick is that they are doing exactly what our biology programs us to do: avoid pain and seek pleasure. So if you are badly hurt when you are too young to sort it all out intellectually, you end up with crossed emotional wiring, and avoid intimacy, or competition, or hope, or love, or success, and believe that these things are impossible to have.
And delete any data to the contrary.
In general, when I see people who are honorable, and good, and balanced, and have beliefs I disagree with, I assume that they are seeing the same mountain from a different direction. That I need to resolve the duality. Neither of us has to be wrong—we can be honorable adversaries, each an advocate for our own position, class, people, whatever.
But…if I see an honorable, successful, healthy person who has a set of beliefs I consider anathema…if my blood boils when I think about them…if I just can’t believe that a reasonable person could have such beliefs…then the problem is MINE. I have discovered an area where my head isn’t working right, where my intellect has a burned fuse and I’m covering up with certainty.
I guess what I’m saying is that, all things considered, I’d rather vote for someone I admire but disagree with than someone for whom I have distain but holds my values.
Frankly, if the people I admire disagree with me, it’s time for me to take another look at what I believe in.
Of course, it all depends on my history: have I, in general, been a better judge of people? Or of predicting future results based on my reality map?
Only you can say.
So…our question for today is: which do you trust, head or heart, and why?
Monday, February 18, 2008
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:55 AM