Reason vs Emotion

Which is more reliable reason or emotion?

Should you follow your heart or your head?


Reason and emotion are very important components in our lives for decision-making, both of them are related, but only one is more reliable. I personally think emotion is more helpful and powerful in making decisions. While reason is the way in which we try to make sense of the world using logic, rationality, comparison, judgment, and experience, emotion is an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or like, is experienced.

When we attach significance to something we attach feelings not conclusions. Even the most passionate rationalist pursues knowledge because it is satisfying or because it feels good to discover things. Emotions make our lives meaningful and the constant search of meaning is the driving force behind our search of knowledge. Hence, without our emotional responses, there would not be any reason to do anything. So, if emotions are the driving force behind our search of knowledge, then emotions should play a powerful role in the decisions that we make regarding what knowledge to pursue and what to do with that knowledge once we obtained it. Rationalism in this case can only tell us what is, while emotion is required in the reasoning process to tell us what should be, and in this way emotion in decision-making is more reliable than reason.

A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. This studies showed how even with what we believe are logical decisions; the very point of choice is based on emotion.


Many people might associate following your heart with emotion and your head with reasoning, many might say that it is better to follow your head, since the decisions based only on reason are probably safer, and maybe more logical, but does the decision taken need to be based on safe and logic? Isn’t it better to decide on whether it would make you happy? Reason considers only what would benefit us more as a human, citizen, or something as general, and probably giving us an unhappy response, or satisfaction to the decision taken. However, emotions are more individualized, and its purpose is focused on our likes, needs and interests, giving us a happy satisfaction.

According to my personal experienced, I based my decisions more on what I like, or my interests, even though I know they are not “safer”, for example: I would decide to read the romantic book than the biology book. This decision makes me happy, since is based on my interest and likes, even though I am conscious that if I read the biology book I could learn more things for my biology class, but the romantic one I would enjoy it more. Not always following our hearts would lead us to take good decisions, but at least since it was what we wanted and felt happy about it, we can say we didn’t loose it all, although it was wrong. But if the wrong decision taken was follow by our head, we would feel very frustrated, since we neither benefited from the decision, nor did we feel any pleasure from it. This is why in decision-making following our heart is better than our head; at least we would gain something from it.


“Only those people who disengage the heart and engage the brain are able to understand the world”

 I don’t agree with the following quote, since we also need emotion to understand the “world” . We understand and gain knowledge of the world through interpretations, judgments and experiences, and without emotion neither of these can be done; although it is impossible to make decisions only considering the rational part of the brain, there is no time to carefully logically think on every decision we take, so emotion as the automatic part of the brain, is the one that linked to intuition help us take spontaneously quickly decisions, which are always based on our interest, needs and likes, and mostly unconsciously we would decide on something that would make us happy and pleasurable.


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“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”


What does Martin’s Luther King quote mean?

It explains that people should have faith present in there daily lives and complete their journey even if they don’t see the whole picture yet. If you step down a staircase, even though you do not see the whole staircase, you know where you are going to end up. This is the same as when you have faith in your life’s journey, you might not see the complete picture but as long as you keep going and trying, you know where you will be when your journey is complete; and you will as well achieve your goals and dreams.

People should take the first step, with the faith that the rest of the staircase is there, and that they will be able to get to their destination. The staircase as a metaphor is to explain that as you take each step, the next step becomes the first step in the rest of the staircase, so in this manner, you can continue making progress, as long as you have faith that there will be another step waiting for you when you finish taking the other step.

It is essentially in our lives to have faith, and believe that the universe will place the necessary steps for our journey, in front of us along the way. It can be said that by this quote King concludes that people should embrace their journey and the unknown, having faith and taking consistent actions but never quitting. The world has already built our staircase to success; it’s only waiting for us to take the first step.

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What do the quote suggest about the role faith plays in our acquisition of knowledge?

King’s quote suggests that faith, as our essential unknown steps to our journey of life, is fundamental for knowledge to take root and start being acquired. Faith is a form of “believe” or “trust” in certain ideas, things or beings, and not only in the context of religion but also is the very basis of science. It is said that knowledge occurs always after emotion, and according to the quote faith is the path that lead to our emotions, and actions necessarily to reach the end of our journey. So when there’s no “believing in”, there will be no fact in science nor in religion; and knowledge is manifested as “facts, information and skills acquired through experience or education; theoretical and practical”. So with no faith there will be no knowledge. For example: science always uses faith in the creation of the laws, since they are created with the believing or supposition that the law is true, and what is once true will be true the second time, and all the other times. Though this believing or supposition requires faith in order to become a fact, without it science would just be a matter of questioning and not answering.

Theories are some of the most important things in science, however theories are just groups of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct. They are not known for sure, it’s just a guess about how things work. For example, in the theory of evolution, since supposedly takes millions of years to occur we have no true proof. Though there’s evidence to help support the idea, but only evidence for one part of the theory, not everything. This is where faith comes in; since there is no complete proof that evolution actually happened, people have to have faith in its existence and so science is when one achieves knowledge from hard facts and proof from experiments, but also the act of believing in the facts, experiments and it’s proofs are correct, is what is known as “having faith in”; and if we didn’t have faith in on theory or facts then we would never had made technological and scientific advancements, since knowledge will never be acquired. This is why faith, according to the quote as our essential unknown steps to our journey of life, is fundamental in our acquisition of knowledge.


Can you think of other ways of knowing and areas of knowledge that these quote relate to?

In a way of knowing like religion, faith as our essential unknown steps to our journey of life has a relationship with it. Any religion that includes believing in anything supernatural boils down to faith and requires the suspension of incredulity. Religion teaches to follow the unknown or unexplained steps, guiding people across their path of life, through the idea of believing in a supernatural being, that will help them overcome with their unknown steps, and exhibit faith in order to achieve their goals and successfully end their journey. This faith is what supports a religion; and it’s what keeps people believing and passing it on to generations.

Faith as our essential steps to our journey of life also relates with an area of knowledge called imagination. In imagination, the idea that faith guides us even though we don’t know where we’re going has a relationship with this area of knowledge; the best way for us to try to perceive something we are not able to see or proof its existence, is to use the part of our minds that is unlimited as well, our imagination.

“Faith Imagined is what I live by. The things I value most in life, I cannot see. I value God, heaven and the human spirit, and I have faith that they all exist.” this description said by a God believer shows how does imagination influences in her faith part of her live. She then says “ I read the Bible, and I use my mind’s eye to see, feel and touch the God-created images.”, when she says mind’s eye she refers to her imagination, and explain how is it essential for her believe in God. She concludes that imagination is a gift from God. Since it enables us to take knowledge from our minds and pour it into our hearts. Imagination can be defined as our creative license from the Creator. He has designed our path, but he wants us to paint the colors along the way; in other words as King’s quote state, our staircase has already been designed is just waiting for us to take the first step.

Martin Luther King Biography

05-martin-king-010909_14089_600x450Martin Luther King junior was one of the principal leaders of the civil rights movement of the United States. King challenge racial discrimination and segregation, and he was a prominent defender of non-violence protest. He was born in 1929 in Atlanta Georgia, he was obtained the Baptist minister at the age of 18, and then he graduated from Morehouse College in 1948. He met his feature wife while he was making a doctoral degree in systematic theology in Boston University. King led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His leadership was fundamental to the movement’s success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States. King rose to national prominence as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, to achieve civil rights.

After Morehouse, he went to Crozer College, where King discovered the insights and potential of liberal theology and began to articulate his opinions about Christianity. He went on to study the twentieth-century giants of theology (Tillich, Wieman, Niebuhr, and Barth) while pursuing a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University. But by the end of his seminary years at Crozer he had already laid out his understanding of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. He in his movements promoted Christianity as a way of life based on an inner experience and rooted in a commitment to the social gospel. From all his study of religion is where this quote came from, he was a strong believer in faith.

Based your journey of life on faith, and even though its mostly out of a reasonable reality, it will always give you a light in the darkness, a confident expectation, known as hope and without this hope, life will lose its meaning.



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