As summer draws to a conclusion once again I am faced with a familiar scene. Sun-bleached hair and and tanned brown skin still smell of salt and ocean air as I step onto Madison High School's campus.
Two dueling sides of my psyche clash in order to attain complete control of mind and body. The heart, both pumping life's blood throughout my body toward the extremities and making emotional and passionate appeals to my conscious thought, embraces and thrives on freethought, adventure, and desire, but maybe most importantly love. A love that connects all of us, yes, but more so in that it gives us comfort in our purposes in life.
It is the American way to earn a structured position of employment in order to provide for yourself and those directly connected to you. It is also the American way to push through such a life gridded and laid out by the constructs of the 9-5 work day. Many of us spend time and energy silencing the noise fighting for voice in your stream of consciousness. The noise that if paid any attention, would drive us to do something crazy, something drastic, something that does not fit in our neatly created world.
The brain can be found at the center of this struggle to silence the noise in weighing options, calculating, predicting and influencing your actions. Constricting freedoms through restrictive interpretations of what is necessary in order to exist and prosper in life, the brain works in order to support you in your drive to achieve a persona, in the safest way possible, that will be perceived by the masses as successful.
Once this successful persona is developed , the brain becomes hyper-aware of conceivable threats and further separates the decision making process from the heart. The heart, driven by its passion, seems to hold no connection to any calculated processes. The brain, knowing what is best for continued success and prosperity, may allow the heart to make minor contributions, but mostly it maintains its stance as "knowing best."
Now, a life fueled by an uninhibited heart may be one of reckless abandon ultimately ending in a fireworks display the most gaudy of US Independence celebrations would envy, but to what extent do we allow our brains to drive us through our world and the decisions to be made. What balance between the two warring factions would both nurture a love and passion for what you do and how it is accomplished and also provide enough calculated maneuvers to ensure basic needs are met?
What do we call this balance? Calculated risk? What is to be made of a meshing of two seemingly opposite forces? Are we doomed to pick one of three lives? Are we driven by pure passion and act directly from the heart with little to know thought as to the consequences? Are we to sit and weigh and measure every little decision and determine the safest and most beneficial path to take culminating in drab life with little room for emotional expression? Or, in the face of frustration and stress, are we destined to search for a harmonious balance between the two that may not even exist?
The leaders of this world have made a choice for themselves. Many have picked different avenues and made each one of them work, but at what expense? These questions are nothing new, and the answers are determined by an individual's level of comfort in his or her decisions, but, in a not so veiled attempt to stick up for the heart, I would ask one question: in a world filled with the unpredictability that ours is accustomed to, how calculated can you possibly be in making almost any decision?