AbezAbez Is... 50% White, 50 % Pakistani, Muslim Hijab-wearing type female, Daughter of Momma, Sister of Owlie Wife of HF, Momma of Khalid, a special little boy with Autism, and Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair, Writer, Graphic Designer, Editor, Freelancer, Blogger, Inhaler of Chocolate
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Saturday, December 11, 2004

good dog, bad dog

I have a dog. Rather, we have a guard-dog who happens to have made herself an outdoor member of the family. Once she ‘rescued’ my father from a lit firecracker that someone threw at his feet. She picked it up in her mouth and dropped it farther away where it exploded. Then she came back to attack the person who’d thrown the firecracker. (that would be where my father rescued the other guy)

Her job is to bark at whatever is out of the ordinary, which includes people prowling around the boundary wall as well as hawks soaring at altitudes of hundreds of feet in the air. She also barks at:

Flies
Wasps
Cats on the boundary wall
Ravens
Nothing

She can’t help it, really, and no matter how well trained, and no matter how dedicated she is to her work (barkbarkbark!) she hasn’t got any logic. It doesn’t matter how good a dog she is (good dog), cuz she’s still a dog.

A heart, no matter how good or how sincerely intentioned, is still just a heart. Its primary concern is feeling and emotion, and although feeling and emotion are parts of human life that make the world a beautiful and compassionate place, they cannot take the place of logic.

But what’s up with the brain? Some people use their brains as weapons, and some people can warp logic so totally that anything can be justified. Granted, they may still have hearts that shudder at what they’re doing and don’t believe the lies the brain is telling, but their hearts may have been subjugated like the cringing, miserable puppy that’s been kicked too many times and follows reluctantly with its tailed tucked between its legs.

Because neither the heart nor mind are perfect, they are supposed to operate as a team. Neither one is meant to function wholly without the help of the other, but in this day and age, people are more likely to be told to ignore their thoughts and follow their feelings which is why I talked about the heart first. Few people these days are in danger of over or mis-using their logic. But it is possible. Logic is a sword with a double blade. A person of skill can swing it any way they want and it can cut through confusion, or take lows blows at sense and reason. This, in fact, is the very basis of most propaganda and the type of facetious logic that people use to justify actions that are wrong to everyone but themselves. The brain can be misused in the same way that the heart can, and a person can choose to justify whatever they want in the same way they can choose to act on whatever emotion suits them.

[I’m not using drugs, this is a prescription. It’s a halal drug, I just take ten a day…]

In the ideal situation, the brain is holding the leash to a well-trained seeing-eye dog. In reality, most of us are confused leash-holders who rely too much on under-trained dogs to guide us, and instead of taking a moment to reason things out and then run the suggestion by the heart, we follow the heart’s advice entirely and leave the brain on the backburner. It’s not a conscious decision, it’s just the effect of being told that religion, love, and sincerity are all matters of the heart.

Life, and everything in it, is a matter of both heart and mind, and the idea is to get them to function as a lean, mean, intelligent, compassionate human machine who reasons things through the lens of kindness and faith. Nothing can be left to one or the other entirely, because religion without heart is cold, and God has told us to be kind and act with mercy and compassion. On the other hand, religion based entirely on emotion may lead us in illogical directions (i.e. The Church of Elvis) that fulfill our emotional voids but do no favors to the search for truth and guidance.

Love based entirely on emotion will fade when the fireworks have faded and the conscious effort to invest in a person is missing, and love based only on logic lacks warmth. (I’m a man, you’re a woman. I’ll bring home bacon and you cook it.)

Like the well-trained dog (no insult to hearts or dogs intended) the heart can be a guide, a warning system, and a valuable informant, but it’s not perfect and it simply cannot reason. When your heart looks at something it wants, the fact that you can’t have it doesn’t make it want any less. It’s your brain’s job to gently pull the heart away and keep walking.

The heart barks at flies, and without the brain to hold on to the leash, it tends to run in any direction it wants. Hold on to that leash. Let’s not forget who’s master.

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