The Two Minds--The Rational and The Emotional.

Updated: May 13, 2020

One time, on a cold day, I was delighted by the company of a slightly petrified friend at the time. He had fallen for a lady that went to the same university as him and as he is about to unfold his emotions for that woman, he quivered, pausing for a moment to recognize what he was saying, he stood up firmly with a smirk, “But it’s probably just nothing, I can’t be in love with someone at this time.” But as the glacial breezes lifted his hair, I witnessed as his eyes surged up with tears. The presence of his teary eyes could have patently passed unnoted, but the empathic comprehension of someone’s watery eyes meant that he is in love in spite of his words to the contrary. His words were the act of the rational mind while his tears were that of the emotional one. I believe, we have two minds, one that thinks, while the other feels. The two minds present dissimilar procedures of “knowing,” the perception of information in each vastly differs. One; the rational mind is the system in which reason is judging information; it’s the mode of comprehension we are typically conscious of and is more prominent in awareness, thoughtful, able to reason with whatever data before it, it can contemplate and reflect. Nonetheless, besides it exists a powerful, yet Impulsive, though at oftentimes illogical—the emotional mind.

Consider the final moments of Gary and Mary Chauncey, blessed with an eleven-year-old daughter Andrea, which due to the cause of cerebral palsy has been confined to a wheelchair. The Chauncey family were passengers on an Amtrak train which collapsed into the river due to a massive barge hit. Thinking primarily of their daughter both Gary and Mary helped their daughter escape the collapsing train and as the train sank beneath the water, they perished. It was a heroic act funded by pure love that allowed Andrea's parents to override their impulse for personal survival. Seen from an intellective perspective their choice was arguably irrational; seen from the heart it was the only choice to make.

The IQ of both Andrea's parents could have been that of an average, but their final heroic act displayed absolute wisdom, IQ is one side of the story, at oftentimes we tend to mistake intelligence for wisdom. Being an A star student wouldn’t entitle thy to be wise, to know life is far aloof from understanding it, and that’s where EQ comes into the play, the other side—Emotional Intelligence. Our shrewdness and extreme rationality are the results of our rational mind thinking sensibly of any situation before us, taking time to yield a logical, and thoughtful conclusion which would in return offer us a sense of being right.

Acknowledging something as right “in your heart” is an unalike direction of conviction—somehow a deeper kind of certainty—than thinking so with your rational mind. The feeling and reason are so readily at war, but the ratio of which controls the mind had always been steady; the more intense the feeling, the more dominant the emotional mind becomes—and the more ineffectual the rational one. “For better or worse, intelligence can come to nothing when the emotions hold sway.” Said Dr. Daniel Goleman holder of the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement, as he further elaborated on his idea of the emotional mind. He argued how inadequate our decisions have lately been due to their sentimental deficiency, and how deceptive the human scientific name is.

The term Homo-sapiens—The thinking species is somewhat contradictory in principle. It has imposed on us an iota of accountability to prioritize our thoughts over feelings, overlooking the wondrous evolutionary process invested into the emotional mind. The irrational mind serves the role of swift judgments, it sacrifices accuracy for speed, it has evolved over millions of years to enhance our split-second decisions. Many species have perished due to the absence of emotionality in their decisions, whereas a predator appears, they would pause to make a judicious verdict to fight-ot-flee, unknown to them that their pause would cost them their lives.

In one perspective one might feel the urge to override their reason over emotion, and others might overlook reasonable judgments for the sentimental values, but neither of the two is, in my opinion, the correct approach. The dichotomy of the logical and illogical approximates imposes a distinction in the process involved between the “mind” and the “heart.” The two minds work in sequence to guide us through the world, with emotions fading into and informing the operations of the rational mind, then the rational mind refining and at oftentimes vetoing the input of the emotions. Their co-existence is essential for the rather sensible verdicts and balanced decisions.

Our emotions, be it wrathfulness, love, joy, fear and so on give our emotional mind an imperious flora, one that wouldn’t take rest to decide whether to fight or flee, it would echo so accordingly with the data before it and thus making an instantaneous, yet definitive decision. So, the next time you’re in close proximity with the one you think of as different, with someone you like an ounce more than the rest, and you feel the urge to express and unfold the enigma, that is your feelings. Instead of overlooking that impetuous sensation, take a second to embrace it and understand that though your intellect may possess a differing opinion, in life quests, wisdom is of more importance.


-The article is highly influenced by the work of Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence, 1995.





Suggested book(s) on the topic:

1-Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, 1995. Reviews based on Goodreads: 4/5.

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