Sunday, November 25, 2012

A different heart metaphor

Today at my church Reverend Grace said a few of those things that just make me roll my eyes. The suggestion that we listen to the figurative “heart”, representing intuition and emotion and generally thoughts we can't explain, is fine. The comment that the heart has a larger magnetic field than the brain has utterly nothing to do with it — it's one of those new-agey statements that uses linguistic coincidence to take an interesting scientific fact and make of it an idea that's both more questionable (that intuition is more powerful than reason) and less interesting.

Maybe a more interesting figurative use of the heart is that of the constant worker. Why would the heart actually have a larger magnetic field than the brain? Because it's a powerful muscle whose action is precisely timed. The heart's unconscious working is, of course, necessary for every other part of the body and mind, but the body and mind must in turn provide the heart with prudent maintenance, so there's a bit about interdependence.

And where does that leave questions of intuition, emotion, and reason? With a different metaphor. Maybe the gut. I hear a lot of blood goes there.

No comments: