Let Emotions be Tested on the Anvil of Rationality Beyond the Panorama September 10, 2020

Let Emotions be Tested on the Anvil of Rationality

  Pascal rightly says, “the heart has reasons that reason knows nothing about”. Indeed in those lines, the quest for reasoning the rational intelligence is accentuated, consequently bearing in mind the pre-eminence of emotional intelligence.

      To start with, let’s take an example, wherein you are offered your dream job, however, the only stipulation put forward is that you have to go to some faraway, spatially located country where you can’t take your family with you. Now my dear readers, here you have to make a quick choice, what would you rather do: go far off to pursue your professional goals which may ultimately result in loneliness, or stay with your family, sacrificing your career and ambitions, reckoning your emotional attachment to the family?

     Turning the clocks back to the year 1999 in Bristol where India was playing a World Cup match against Kenya. Yes, you guessed it right, I am exemplifying the story of far famed Sachin Tendulkar- it had been a few days before the match that he had lost his father. Even with that agonizing intensity of lugubriousness, he brokenheartedly yet wittingly gave his father a tribute by scoring 140 runs. If we heed carefully enough, we will notice that for him it would have been a special set of circumstances in life considering the mental state he was in to colligate to the enigma of testing his emotions on the basis of rationality .  

      Testing one’s emotions on anvil of rationality simply means keeping our mind sane and noetic, yet having a kitschy bathetic approach. Emotions are coalesce of both rational and fickle cerebration. The decision making process is perpetual, the very fact that we subconsciously make so many decisions in a single day makes this topic to be discussed even more prominent. Our rational brain very well knows that certain habits like not eating healthy food or following a proper diet and skipping exercises etc, are bad for our health, but our emotional brain snubs to acknowledge or vindicate these lamentable demeanors.

In fact, recent studies show that decision making is not purely a rational process, it emerges from a confluence of emotional and rational parts of the brain, but if that is true, why do we even have this disarray or confusion to choose between either of the two? If our thinking is the result of both collectively then why do we even distinguish between them by weighing on different parameters?

 In the quest of attaining rationality is it necessary that our emotional intelligence must get squandered? Can both the quotients not function together? These are some questions that usually strike our minds when we strive to resolve the ultimate debate of rational and emotional thinking. The main contend however lies in the question- to which intellection should we respond? Well well, this all seemingly sounds estranging, doesn’t it? Our mind’s state is what Aristotle once said, ‘to say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and what of what is not that is not, is true.” Let me put it in simple words: there is no single answer to the question of how the rational and emotional thinking of the mind works. Rational thinking and emotional thinking both are obverse sides in contraposition of the same coin.

    Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Memorial Prize laureate wrote in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, that there are two different systems of thinking, first the emotional and intuitive process and then the slower and more effortful process of rational  logic. These two sections of the brain are constantly competing with one another. Let me cite here one more example, Mahatma Gandhi very well understood that these two approaches are somehow linked to each other, therefore whenever he took any decision he made it a point to be rational and yet take people’s emotions into consideration and have affixation to the minds of the masses, result of which were the notable movements like Dandi March and Non-Cooperation.

   To conclude, Thomas Oppong, in his research article very correctly said that, ‘you can’t be rational if you are too emotional, but at the same time, you can’t be rational if you are not emotional’. It is not possible to act practically in all situations, sometimes we should listen to our heart too, but at the same time it’s no intellect to drown in the flow of emotions. One must be conscious of what and how we make decisions. We can identify the decisions that we make on a daily basis with kid gloves and react accordingly.

Ending it on the note that ‘emotion is not the enemy of reason’, hence let the emotions be tested on anvil of rationality. 

Shreya Karande
Shreya Karande

Shreya is a sublime poet, a follower of spirituality, and an observer of the intricacies of the world around her.

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