The head vs. the heart

Jewish philosophical writings address at no end the perpetual battle between the head and the heart, between the intellect and the emotions, between reason and intuition.  Mesillas Yesharim explains that, until the two have been reconciled, we must always suspect our own decisions and subject them to sincere and constant re-evaluation, since waves of emotion easily carry us away toward the rocky shoals of self-destruction, and reason foresakes us when we distort it through the popular art of rationalization.

But which is the most dangerous?  On that, the Torah is clear:  [So] you will not turn aside after your hearts and after your eyes, which seduce you to chase after them.  Explains Rashi:  the eyes see, the heart desires, and the legs run to do evil.

The most frustrating aspect of an election that began as the most engaging in a generation is that it has become a caricature of irrational exuberance.  Even the most rational of people have been seduced by a heady elixir of charisma, rhetoric, and impossible promises.  For those whose minds have not become completely befuddled, it’s worth reading Charles Krauthammer, probably the most astute columnist in the business, who offers a concise primer on both candidates’ national security and domestic policy credentials and a clear picture of what we can expect from either in the white house.

Hard core liberals don’t care about the facts.  Neither do hard core conservatives.  The former would vote for Louis Farrakan if he were on the Democratic ticket, and the latter would vote for David Duke if he were the Republican nominee.  But to those few thinking people who can swing either way, please do your homework and choose according to your head and not your heart.  There may well be more than you imagine hanging on this election.

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