Heart Over Mind Over Heart

You hear that in a battle of heart and mind, that often the heart will win. In a lot of metaphorical circumstances, this reference alludes to the mind wanting to do what’s right, or needs to be done, and the heart telling you what you really want. I’m listening to ‘Not Strong Enough‘ (Apocalyptica ft. Brent Smith, mentioned in Tracks and Tunes), and it got me thinking, is that always the case?

I know it’s wrong, and I know it’s right,

And if I try to win the fight,

My heart will overrule my mind,

And I’m not strong enough to stay away.

Not Strong Enough lyrics

I recently had to go digging through some old stuff in my trunk (affectionately to be called Heroin Diariesmy ‘toy box’ now), and I found my copy of The Heroin Diaries – A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rockstar. The introduction gives a brief ‘Alternative Medical Dictionary’ (pictured right). I think these are examples where it may well be that the heart wants the right things, and the mind is telling you, through fault in cognitive processing, what it needs.

Perhaps I’m wrong. I can’t say I’ve dealt with Cocaine or Heroin addiction/withdrawal. However, I think that depression and addiction in particular are mental afflictions, and it’s your ‘heart’ that wants nothing more than to be free of them. Your mind wants to give in to the need to abuse a substance or follow a dark train of thought to nowhere, and that’s how these afflictions take hold in the first place. The metaphorical ‘heart’ is what gives you the strength to think differently and break the cycle.

In saying that, it can work both ways. Emotional distress can cause a release of hormones that effect your actual heart and cause physical pain (i.e. heartache/heartbreak). In those circumstances, the ‘heart’ can drive you to any escape from the pain, be it drugs or alcohol or any other kind of self-abuse. In this situation, you have the genesis of ‘faulty thinking’ or of, as the song goes, heart overruling the mind.

It seems that the mind is mechanical – that is, if you consider it to be nothing more than a processor for empirical data, and separate from a metaphoric ‘heart’ which processes emotional information. If that is so (then let it be so), then the ‘heart’ is both the poison and the cure. If it is not so (you realists, processing all in one mind), then our thoughts are doomed to be forever infected with emotional input that potentially corrupts our thinking, and forever saved by the joy that same input brings.

My thoughts on this are that it’s not worth thinking about too much. If you can process right and wrong as two separate bodies, and feel emotionally settled with the difference, then by processing the empirical and emotional data you can make a decision. If you can’t, then you don’t have enough empirical information to work with and you need to see and do more than just think about it.

Image Source: Google Images, photo of The Heroin Diaries

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