We’ve all head or read of them: earth, water, fire and air. But how many of us have given it any more thought?
Today, I want to share something extremely interesting I came across some days ago:
The Elements- in relation to intelligence!
The Element of Air
The intellect in every man is God.
‘I think,’ wrote Descartes, ‘therefore I am.’ This famous quotation ushered in the Age of Reason, from which we have not yet recovered. The society in which we live continues to uphold Descartes’ maxim not only as the underpinning of its educational methods and philosophy, but also as the underpinning for what is considered ability or quality in an individual. We live in an age of tests of the intellect. It is the smart child who passes the IQ test with glowing ease who is considered the one to watch, the one to help, the one who will some day in adulthood, contribute most to the world he lives in.
But Descartes’ proposition is a little tricky. For one thing, it is awfully lopsided. How about, ‘I feel, therefore I am’? Or ‘I sense, therefore I am?’ Or even, ‘I am conscious, therefore, I am’? The interesting thing about twentieth century Cartesians – and this includes virtually the entire spectrum of the sciences, education, economic and business studies, and even sadly, psychology – is that they still cling stubbornly to the belief that the intellect, the reasoning of faculty in man, is the only thing in him that is really worthwhile, and the only mode of judgment and evaluation that is accurate and truthful. Reasonable, we call these people. Rational. Logical. Lovers of truth. Air is volatile, breezy, shifting, clear, transparent, and- you might say- definitely abstract.
This is me! I am air. I believe in words, definitions, concepts, and meanings. I believe in books, school, education. I believe in that which can be dissected and analyzed; worked on, improved. I believe in systems. I am a thinker!
However, the Lord has shown me – over the past two years especially- how this has caused me to look down upon people who leaned more towards the emotional side. I have always taken pride in the fact that I think rationally, logically, and am master over my emotions; paying little attention to the feeling-side of me. While I have always known it was there and do enjoy taking a plunge in my sea of emotions every now and then, it was not an aspect of my persona I particularly enjoyed paying a lot of attention to. My rationality and logic would not let me. I never fully learnt how to deal with the depth of emotions, I’ve always preferred to think them through, making sure what I felt actually made sense.
Well, that was until the Lord brought a person into my life who (rationally) made no sense whatsoever, who’s life revolved around emotions and who’s entire life and related decisions were guarded by how she felt. This- for obvious reasons- makes little sense and is not a very smart thing to do; but then again: emotions don’t always make sense! What I realized too, was that while I had a huge brain, she had a huge heart. While I would be ready to lay my life down for a cause (I am loyal to causes and matters/concepts I believe in), she would readily lay it down for a person, whether he/she was worthy or not- she would do it for love.
You can imagine the misunderstandings that naturally erupt when two so very different individuals come together: chaos and frustration. I needed her to think more, she desperately wanted me to understand what I could not: her irrational feelings. I needed her to make sense, to have an explanation for her mood-swings, decisions, actions. But she did not often: it was all about how she felt.
Today we have managed to appreciate each other’s differences. Embracing the fact that we are so different, while at the same time learning from each other. See, that’s the beauty of relationships: no matter how “wrong” the other one is and how “right” you think you are, there is always room (on both sides) to learn. I do so because I see the logic behind it and the fallibility of man, she does so because she loves me. While our reasoning might be very different, the result is the same: allowing us to be shaped into a better image.
The image of Christ!
And that really is the bottom-line.
We often say “This is just who/how/what I am!” I say, No! You most probably don’t even know who you are (yet). I don’t know either, but what I do know is that we are all moving towards that image. The Word of God is that mirror against which you (as a Christian) must compare yourself to. It is wonderfully comforting to know just how complete His Word is. And God, in His greatness, then brings people into your life to teach you a particular thing. You get irritated by a particular action over and over again.. do you not realize He is placing his finger on that particular character trait of yours? Bringing it to your awareness so that you can figure out “a better way”? He allows you to go through particular seasons to reveal yourself to you, so you can grow and be transformed into a better image- Him!
I have come to see my (intellectual) intelligence as a wonderful part of my persona, and have been forced to pay more attention to the emotional side of my being. It might never develop to its fullest capacity, but developing it is.
Let us stop belittling people because they are inherently different. Don’t take pride in the fact that you are more intellectual, or emotional than another. Learn from him/her! It will fulfill you, and fulfill the other too! It really is a win-win; whoever gave us the impression human relationships had to be a zero-sum game?