Sunday 31 May 2020

Heart thinking - negative and positive

I began trying to live by heart-thinking a good while before I became a Christian - but I found that it provided only a negative form of guidance - as in This Poem - by Robert Graves.

In other words, my heart would tell me when I was on a wrong path, had made an error - by the psychological consequences of meaninglessness, alienation, disenchantment... I would know I needed to get off the current track, and find a different way of living.

Different - yes; but how?

But it was no use at all in deciding what I ought to be doing - what my purpose should be - because, as a non-Christian, a non-theist, I did not acknowledge any purpose to reality, nor to my life. Or, that is; my purpose reduced to attending to my current psychological well-being.

That is the kind of partial (and unsatisfactory) insight into the need for primacy of intuition of, say, New Age, Neo-paganism, Jungianism and the like. That is; Non-Christian (or anti-Christian) romanticism - in general - of which Robert Graves was an exemplar.  

Therapy is as far as this can take us.

Only after becoming a Christian, and indeed a Romantic Christian, was I able to see why and how the thinking of the heart could be a guide to the future.

In other words, for heart-thinking genuinely and fully to replace intellect as the primary (not the only) way of thinking requires Romantic Christianity.


Francis Berger said...

Thanks for this post, Bruce. It helped clarify some of the reservations I expressed yesterday concerning modern people and heart-thinking. I was once in the same circumstances you described so well here - that is, I oriented my life around heart-thinking without basing in Christianity, which led to disappointing results of the same kind you mention in the post.

My criticism that the hearts of modern people might be worse than their heads stemmed from this understanding. Christianity, more specifically Romantic Christianity, is the only means through which heart-thinking can prove effective. Otherwise, it truly is nothing more than mere therapy. I know you implied as much in your previous post - but this added elucidation helped make it all much clearer for me.

William Wildblood said...

I agree! It's as though the intuition needs to be grounded in the proper soil if it's to blossom and flower as it should. Otherwise it can come up with some weird and misshapen visions. An attachment to Christ directs it into the proper channels.

Gary said...

The heart is a "unifying" organ... it "brings together", integrates, the entirety of the man´s faculties (spiritual, physical, mental, soul-ish).

When you do not "follow the heart" but follow the "mind" (only, and against the heart), the heart loses power (because what "following the heart" means, is to nourish what the heart knows it needs in order to function at the highest capacity).

That is why, when you act contrary to your true nature (which is of Divine origin), it "feels wrong"... it causes a scattering of the faculties, it which corrodes their unity, which I personally perceive as a sudden sense of weakness or disorientation... even wickedness... but which certainly would chime with a sense of alienation as well.

Bruce, I have never read Steiner but on your recommendation I would like to give it a go. Do you have any suggestions on how to get started? It seems, as you yourself have said, there is a lot of dross and variation in his value. I wouldn´t want to be put off, or get the wrong impression, by spending too long in the wrong place.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gary - I really could not advise on this one! I stumbled my way in, over a period of a couple of years. But you can sample from everything - free - on Rudolf Steiner Archive and Rudolf Steiner Audio.

Gary said...

Wonderful - I´ll start there and move forward using the heart.