The Medieval Roman Catholic Church (and the more traditional Roman Catholic Church today) taught that only so-called ‘Reason’ was safe. The imagination was the playground of the devil, the emotions and the passions were subject to sin, and God forbid anyone follow intuition over logic and ‘reason’. Of course, they also taught that Reason was to be subjected to the authorities, and that room for ‘idle thoughts’ was an ‘occasion of sin’, lest Reason challenge their teachings and win free of their yoke. But the fact remains: reason was held to be the best guide man had (outside the church), and the imagination and emotions were inferior, to be kept firmly underneath the intellect and not listened to as something easily accessible to the devil.
Now, most of Western society is no longer Roman Catholic. Much of it is anti-Catholic, even anti-Christian, often anti-Religion or Spirituality altogether. The laws of the Roman Catholic Church have been discarded, left and right, and so have a great many of its traditions.
However, the exaltation of ‘Reason’, of the Intellect, of logic and analysis, over other aspects of our humanity, the imagination, the emotions, the intuition, holds as strong as ever. It is such a base assumption that most people do not even notice that it is an assumption, a cultural assumption, possibly even a religious assumption, and certainly not the most basic ground of all human learning or living. Certainly not a necessary given.
This is evidenced by the kinds of insults people make. “You’re being emotional!” is one of them.
It is time to realize that putting logic and analytical thought, the powers of the intellect, above emotion, imagination, and intuition and the powers of the heart in thinking and decision-making and considering the later fundamentally unsuitable as a foundation for living one’s life, is a cultural value, and a religious one (in the bad sense of the word) when one makes the assumption that is how everyone should think and tries to impose that value system on others who don’t want it. It is one which is almost certainly suited to some people, and not suited to other people. It may be suited to some people who come from a culture that does not ascribe to it. It may be unsuited to some people who come from a culture that does ascribe to it.
It is not the only way to live and it is time to throw out the belief that intellect is superior over emotions as what it is: the heritage of a religion, not a basic and obvious fact of reality, that it would be ridiculous or stupid to ignore.
Copyright © 2022 Raina Nightingale