PASSION AND REASON
Winning the race against over 200 million potential brothers and sisters to fertilize the female egg, I started my journey toward life on planet earth. It was only three weeks after conception that a sheet of electrically charged cells organized themselves into a tiny immature heart, then started beating. Then within just fourteen weeks it was pumping seven gallons a day throughout my tiny little body. Now it’s “Pumping 75 gallons an hour, 1800 gallons a day, and 657,000 gallons every a year (enough to fill four Olympic sized swimming pools) in order to keep all of my cells freshly oxygenated”. 1
In his book More Than Meets the Eye, Richard Swenson points out that “every day this ten ounce muscle contracts 100,000 times, never missing a beat”. 2 Over a lifetime of faithful service, the heart, a self-lubricating, self-regulating, high capacity organ, beats 2.5 billion times, and pumps 60 million gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels; enough blood vessels to stretch two and a half times around the earth’s equator.
This high speed, high pressure transportation system pumps millions of microscopic molecular machines throughout every organ of our bodies, and carries every kind of precious cargo, including: oxygen, water, glucose, proteins, and carbon dioxide to name a few.
Like an express train filled with balloons, the red blood cells are a cleverly engineered transportation system that carries this life-giving oxygen throughout the tissues of our bodies. “We breathe approximately 23,000 times per day and 630 million times over an average life span” 3 generating much needed oxygen. Each red blood cell can carry up to a million molecules of oxygen because of the cell’s complex iron-rich substance called hemoglobin. This oxygen filled train then travels the 60,000 miles of the body’s blood vessels in search of oxygen-starved cells. Every second we manufacture over two million of these red blood cells, which if laid side by side would go around the earth’s equator four times.
It is hard to conclude that such order and precision came mindlessly into being? I find it easier to believe that the Creator created something out of nothing, than nothing created something out of nothing. The production of platelets that are involved in the critical process of blood clotting was no mistake. The immune system, with its fifty billion white blood cells ready to go to war against harmful microbes in a picosecond, is no accident, but the work of a great thinker.
Understanding our physical heart is crucial to good health, but understanding the importance of our phycological, spiritual heart is vital in building a healthy enterprise, especially in dealing with people and making decisions. This the seat of guidance-systems such as intuition, conscience and passion.
HEART AND HEAD
In Hebrew thought the heart is the sanctuary of the soul. It is the spiritual dimension of the mind, will, imagination and emotion. Metaphorically it is the centre of love and compassion, seen as the seat of intimacy and affection, the very core of who we are. It is the seat of self, the place of human consciousness. The heart is where our passions are birthed andtake root, then produce fruit both good and bad. Solomon teaches: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” 4 The heart is where our passions originate, the place they can be developed or defiled. In Solomon’s day the wellspring was a very important place. This was a place to guard with your life because it was, to the family and community, the very source of life itself. Raiding armies would fill in or poison their enemy’s wells in order to wipe them out or bring them hardship.
In the same way, our hearts can be corrupted with bitterness, fear, hatred, prejudice, or jealousy; mindsets that will infect our thoughts. These kinds of attitudes will pollute or poison the mind. Our inner drive can be crippled and our thinking distorted by a preoccupation with such powerful yet negative emotions. When we lose heart we lose our passion for life, and it affects our thinking capacity. The heart is a wellspring of passion; we must guard this fresh water of pure inspiration from pollution.
As oxygen is to the body, passion is to our thinking. We suffocate without passion and creative self-expression. We have all been wired with unique gifts or loves that forever need expression. Passion is the inner drive and relentless pursuit of the someone or something we love. Passion is a spiritual force, that seems to come from nowhere, yet gives energy, motivation, and imagination to our thinking. It is thinking in bright yellow!
Passion is an invisible force drawing on every megabyte of our mental capacity; it is spiritual adrenaline! A passionate person is the one on fire with an idea, or sacrificially driven to serve the ones they love. Passion is the difference between the good and the great. Passion is a wellspring of inspiration.
Passionate people don’t spend their days trying not to be bad, instead they step into a world of greatness. Why someone gives themselves to a field of study or work for a lifetime is a mystery. I cannot imagine what the world would be like, if some of the great leaders in medical care and research, lost their passion. The passionate desire to help those in pain, is still the great mother of invention.
In the areas of medicine and health, there were few as passionate as Florence Nightingale. She led the way, and helped lay the foundations of modern medicine and health-care. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was the founder of modern nursing, who did her work, she believed, under the inspiration of Christ. When she was 17, she felt God calling her into His service. Theodore Fliedner (1800-1864) deeply influenced Nightingale, by organizing deaconesses within the Lutheran Church who were involved in helping with education, ex-convicts, and nursing instruction. Florence Nightingale became famous, traveling to far off battlefields, cleaning soldier’s wounds, and comforting those who where dying. She was a legend, known as the lady with the lamp. Throughout history passion or compassion has truly been the wellspring of invention.
The innovations of love continued. When returning to England, Florence Nightingale wrote a book called, Notes on Hospitals published in 1859. This had a profound effect throughout the world on hospital care and hygienic design. Then in 1860 the Nightingale School for Training Nurses was opened at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
Passion is a raging river of feelings, ideas, inspiration and experience, while reason is a deep pool of knowledge, logic and wisdom. Passion can operate devoid of reason, but when coupled with reason it is a most powerful mix. Passion and reason need to be kept in balance. Overly passionate and we blow up; totally rational, and we dry up.
Passionate people, at times, can find themselves adrift on an angry ocean of emotion. On the other hand, rational people can suffer from what is called the paralysis of analysis. They analyze things to death. Passion and reason are the two wings of a bird, the two sides of a coin–the perfect marriage.
It has been said that, the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing about. Passion can often throw reason out of the window. This is probably why Blaise Pascal said, All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling, such is the power of emotion or passion. This is why we must be disciplined, because to many truly great people have become the victims of their out-of-control passion. On the other hand reason can drag us into a deep rut, a surreal world of boredom, never engaging the things we are really passion about.
It interests me, that we all like to be considered a rational person, but truly admire those who live life with passion. Reason is a great servant, but a poor master, due to the fact, that if reason dominates, we can loose the power of instinct, intuition and conscience.
Unpolluted passion gives thinking the power it needs to climb the highest of life’s mountains– however we do need reason as our guide.
In essence, thinking in yellow and blue flows form the wellspring of passion, whereas thinking in green and red comes the world of reason–keeping us safe. Passion without reason is like a boat without a rudder, it will drift in whatever direction the winds are blowing, or the tides are going.
Building a successful enterprise requires both of these powerful forces.