I had a good long talk with Bill and Jess last night, and among the many things we discussed, I talked about my conception of the roles of the logical (rational) mind and the emotional (sensory/reactive) mind.  I think every person has in some measure both of these pieces to their thinking, and I can certainly tell a few things about mine just through introspection and gut analysis:

  • I am not exactly comfortable with how important my emotional mind is in my decision making process.
  • I believe that ideally, my emotional mind would take a backseat to my logical mind in decision making.

When I brought up this latter point (which I have actually done a few times recently), I was immediately forced to defend why I thought this.  The outline of my thought process is that I believe in each human’s capacity for free will.  The emotional mind, bound up as it is in what is happening (or what has happened) around you, is so rooted in context [the here and now, the practical] that it is much more the piece driven by biological imperatives, or previous mental conditioning, or even just simple nurture as you grew and learned.  The logical mind, on the other hand, must therefore be the seat of agency – it is the place where I (the “I” of Dave) make decisions.  Since the emotional mind is predisposed to lots of outmoded behaviors that I consider at least in part immoral or useless (selfishness, jealousy, anger), I must rely on my logical mind to transcend who I am and allow me to be who I want to be.

Of course, this is probably sounding hopelessly idealistic and/or naive.  It certainly appeared to when speaking to Bill and Jess!  Upon reflection, I think I am overcompensating for the power of my emotional mind in my decision making (see first bullet point above) and saying “the logical mind should be supreme!” to counteract what I view as less-controllable influence on my decisions.  The perfect Dave is probably one in which the logical and emotional coexist peacefully – I am capable of making decisions (free will, guided by the logical mind) but I am well-informed, and not cut off from, my emotions while doing so.

(Also, I was trying to connect this highly analytical post to a Yesterdave anecdote, but the one I found – my troubled “relationship” with Katharina and the balance of logical vs. emotional in its resolution – is so difficult to explain I figured I would leave it for later!)