general philosophy


head and heart, thinking and feeling, rationality and emotion, yeah?

I’m interested in ideas/responses to the following four questions…

(Read ’em slow enough to actually properly think and feel!  And also… even though they obviously relate/overlap/interlock, the questions aren’t meant to flow on from one another, but rather are meant to be stand-alone… ish.)

  • What do you think about how you feel?
  • What do you think about what you think?
  • How do you feel about how you feel?
  • How do you feel about what you think?

Any thoughts (head) or feelings (heart) about thinking and/or feelings that come to mind reading these?

7 replies on “head-heart”


1) I think what I feel is fickle. It depends on how much sleep I’ve had, what I’ve been doing, who I’ve been in contact with and whether I’m suffering SSRI withdrawal syndromes because I’ve forgotten a dose of paroxetine.
2) I think that Descartes got it right with the self as subject and everything else is object. I imagine that it’s this thinking bit of me that gets resurrected into a fresh body in the new earth – I can’t back this assertion biblically, but can’t imagine it being any other way.
3) I don’t feel much about how I feel, other than that feelings can’t always be trusted.
4) I feel pretty happy with what I think, and am comfortable with being infallible, as there’s always an opportunity to be corrected when wrong.

Thanks for the feedback, Simon! I suppose my request is a bit personal (if not a bit confusing, too?) and a big ask, so thanks for bothering with it. A few comments in response… :)

1) I wonder if we’ve been taught to under-value feelings? Lot’s of feelings (even –or especially!?– pain) can be life-savers (sending a clear message to ‘us’ that we need to change course unless we want to continue with the pain, etc!). I also am really challenging my own assumptions (often very subconscious!) about not being able to trust feelings. Certainly, though, the things you list are very valid and need to be a part of any analysis of feelings, but I’m personally wondering if we ‘think’ too negatively about our ‘feelings’
2) Interesting. On resurrection, my understanding is that the NT writers speak of our existing bodies being glorified, transformed, redeemed, etc. as opposed to a ‘fresh body’. I’ll cut of my rambling there :)
3) I suppose the follow up question (no pressure to respond – I’m just asking ‘out loud’) would be, given your view that feelings can’t always be trusted, to ask if that would indicate that you ‘feel’ untrusting/doubtful/hesitant/nervous/anxious about (or feel ‘distanced’ from) your feelings? I wonder if we all might like to feel a bit ‘closer’ to our feelings (whilst, of course, not being controlled/misled by them)?
4) Clearly an acceptable humility there. No further comments spring to mind :)

Thanks again for sharing :)

I’ll play:

1) I think there is an inaccessible quality about feelings.
2) I think that what I think is somehow recursive.
3) I feel anxiety that my feelings are sometimes beyond conscious control.
4) I feel awe that I can think.

Glad you mentioned pain – a topic close to home for my postop patients. While pain can be quite useful in terms of withdrawing from painful stimuli, it can also be pathological i.e. the pain persists without the stimulus causing it (e.g phantom limb pain, postherpetic neuralgia). Feelings are just the same; some are useful, others are pathological.

As for being ‘closer’ to our feelings, this is what clinical psychologists do for depressed patients, whether learning to recognise abberant thinking with cognitive behavioural therapy, or looking at the underlying triggers such as the concept of schemas. I think we forget that we aren’t quite the perfectly rational and free willed types we think we are.

As for the resurrection, what exactly does it mean to be glorified, transformed, redeemed? How does this manifest itself in real terms? I think I’ll have to wait until it happens – not even NT Wright can get this concept into my head in surprised by hope!

Hope the above is useful

Thanks Ian!
(as with Simon, my comments do not mean to pressure further comment – feel free to share or not)
1) ‘inaccessible quality’ – that sounds ‘distant’. Assuming nothing about you, I personally am interested in inviting my feelings to exist ‘closer’ than I have in the past. I’ve a hankering I’ll still be able to sort desirable feelings from the un-desirable ones – just maybe being a bit more patient/understanding with the un-desirable ones? That’s me, anyway :)
2) ‘recursive’ – able to be repeated?
3) I too, have had much fear about being ‘controlled’ or ‘misled’ by emotions (I’m learning about the role some pretty significant sexual abuse early in my life has had on this). But yeah, I’m very interested in letting them exist ‘closer’ and being more ‘patient’/’understanding’ with them.
4) Rational thought is uh-may-zing. Well said :)

Thanks Simon for the additional comments,
Good thoughts again. As I mentioned to Ian, I’m more and more interested in letting feelings be ‘close’, being ‘patient/understanding’ with them, etc.
As for what I take the resurrected/glorified body to look like, the biblical witness says ‘like Him’ (Christ), and also gives metaphors (being ‘further clothed’, the current ‘tent’ becoming a ‘house’, this current ‘seed’ transformed into a ‘plant’, etc.). Ultimately, you’re right – we’ll see, huh? :)

I don’t mind digging :)

1) Inaccessible in that the drivers for what I feel often are not transparent.
2) Recursive as in a bad pun…
3) I want to understand feelings and that’s a difficult thing to do from the inside lol.
4) Any thought is uh-may-zing lol.

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