Mind and heart

This post is dedicated to my friend, to whom I posed one of those unfair “would you rather…” questions the other night.

I asked her, “Would you rather be in a relationship with someone who was really intelligent but didn’t have a lot of heart, or someone who was all heart but had very little intelligence?”

She said heart. “Because the heart,” she said emphatically, “is where emotional connection comes from.”

But that’s technically not true. The heart is just a blood-pumping machine. The brain is where emotion comes from. Everything we feel and think comes from our brain.

However, it would be obnoxious of me to belabour this point because I know, and we all know, what is meant by “heart.” We weren’t speaking anatomically; we were talking about intelligence—being cerebral, and emotion—having heart.

The heart is considered the emotional, moral centre. Love, affection, generosity, compassion, and even courage are considered the domain if the heart. Intellect, reason, perception, conscience, sense, and even will are considered the domain of the mind.

I decided to play devil’s advocate with my friend because it’s fun. I said to her, “You would choose to be with a stupid person? You wouldn’t be able to have a conversation! What would you talk about?” She replied, “We would talk about our feelings. It’s more important to not be with a cold asshole. If I want cerebral,” she continued, “I can read a book or watch Rachel Maddow.”

This concept of a ‘brainy’ person being cold is not an uncommon stereotype. Many people, when considering someone whose mind rules their heart, imagine a cold, calculating, elitist, socially inept neurotic. But, many people, when considering someone whose heart rules their mind, imagine a flighty, unbalanced, moody, unintelligent person who makes spontaneous decisions with little consideration of facts and is a slave to their emotions.

Yet a person whose mind rules over their heart is also reasonable, stable, thoughtful, well-meaning, truth-seeking, open-minded, and considerate. And a person whose heart rules over their mind is also considered passionate, spontaneous, romantic, vivacious, and true to self.

Humans are emotional animals; as I’ve said before on this blog, emotion tends to trump reason. But the mind is important because it protects us from simply reacting to stimuli. We need to process, reason, and arrive at good decisions. The brain is the reigns and the heart is the horses. We need the control.

But the fact is, I had offered my friend a false dichotomy. She shouldn’t even have answered the question because it’s not an either/or thing. Seldom will we be confronted by a person who is only intellect or only emotion. Her point, though, was that if you had to choose between someone who was extremely smart but emotionally cold, and someone who was warm and caring but not very smart, you should choose the warm-hearted person because that’s more important in a relationship.

And this is what got me thinking about the societal stereotype of very intelligent people being cold. I think very smart people can be warm and have good hearts. It all comes down to balance. Deciding what’s important to you, in what quantities, and then I suppose being lucky enough to end up with someone who has everything you need in the right proportions.

Mind and heart, balanced. Like someone who is sweet and kind enough to come over to your house late at night when your grandmother dies, bringing you food and staying with you, but who also asks you every time she talks to you, “What book are you reading right now?”—that’s a pretty awesome person.


Tricky Politicky

My last post was actually about Canadian (well, Toronto) politics! I’ve written very little about Canadian politics and quite a bit about American politics, and it makes me sad that I seem so much more interested in America’s politics than my own country’s. I guess because it’s so much more ubiquitous, steeped in drama and absurdity, and often affects the rest of the world.

I intend to make more of an effort to stay abreast of Canadian news. I have a bunch of Canadian news sites in my Google Reader, and I will try to start reading them first thing every day rather than all the American and world news blogs I read. I will try.

But for now I can’t resist commenting on some clever politicking going on in Washington!

It’s beyond my comprehension how actual government officials can blatantly get away with the most egregious bullshit—lies and conspiracy theories—and infect the public and the media with said bullshit.

I am speaking of the “Birthers” and the “Deathers.”

The Birthers, as you probably know, are the whack-job conspiracy theorists who claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore cannot be president.

It’s not only radical fringe right-wing radio/TV hosts and conspiracy theorists wearing aluminum-foil hats who believe this; actual Republicans in congress believe it too (or pretend to, which may be worse).

They all claim that the controversy would be laid to rest if Obama would just release his birth certificate. Why won’t he let us see his birth certificate? If he has nothing to hide and was really born in Hawaii, then why won’t he just release his birth certificate?

Of course the answer is: He has.

Not only was the birth certificate made public ages ago, it has been validated by many sources, including conservative ones.

Not only has he released his birth certificate, but his born-in-Hawaii “story” has been confirmed by the doctor who delivered him, Hawaii state officials, and the birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser.

See the evidence for yourself.

But the thing about conspiracy theorists is that they can never be disproven. No matter how much real evidence you throw at them, they will always counter it with an even wilder proclamation about a conspiracy. I suppose this could all be a 48-year conspiracy by Muslims or Kenyans to install one of their own in the White House. Anything’s possible.

The Deathers is a group of lying, fear-mongering anti-healthcare-reformists who are feeding the public the outright lie that under Barack Obama’s proposed healthcare reform bill, old people will be killed.

Many Republicans in congress, not to mention the conservative pundits, have been busy trying to quash healthcare reform by scaring the public. Now they’re claiming that the U.S. government will mass euthanize the elderly under “socialized” medicine.

One cannot even claim misunderstanding or confusion of facts on this one—it’s simply a bald-faced lie.

This is just the latest tactic to try and undermine a public healthcare option. Republicans are against “socialized” medicine, saying that the government has no place in healthcare, even though the best healthcare administered in their country is provided by the government: Medicare for seniors, the Veterans’ Association for veterans, the Department of Defense for soldiers, and the federal government for all members of congress. These are all rated among the very best healthcare systems (particularly the VA’s system).

The truth (if anyone cares) is that a part of the proposed healthcare bill entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation” would enhance Medicare to pay for end-of-life consultations with doctors to prepare for the inevitable. It’s essentially about living wills, powers of attorney, palliative care, etc.—informing senior citizens as to the options available to them and making sure they have everything in order when that inevitable end comes.

The consultations would include “an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.” (Thanks to Talking Points Memo for providing the text of the bill.)

And it’s optional, not mandatory.

But conservative crazies trying to scare the general public are feeding them the lie that this will mean government workers will knock on your grandmother’s door and ask her if she’d prefer a needle, a pill, or the gas chamber.

The fact that Republicans are using this as a scare tactic now is not only disgusting, underhanded, and despicable, but it’s hypocritical. From Talking Points Memo:

Discussions between sick or elderly people and their doctors about end-of-life treatment have long been an accepted part of modern patient care. As Politico itself notes, in 2003, a Bush administration agency “issued a 20-page report outlining a five-part process for physicians to discuss end-of-life care with their patients.” And since 1990, Congress has required health-care agencies to inform patients about state laws regarding advance directives such as a living will.

This web site has a good overview of the absurdity, plus a video compilation of the Deathers and their lies.

Okay, so now onto the fun politics part.

The Democrats are calling the Republicans’ bluff on both of these issues.

Congressman Neil Abercrombie introduced a resolution in Congress to recognize and celebrate Hawaii on the 50th anniversary of its entry into the union. It’s a pretty standard tradition. Business as usual.

But, Abercrombie introduced the following language into the resolution: “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii….”

And voila: Gotcha!

The language turns this standard lip-service bill into a sort of anti-Birther bill. Thus, Republicans would have to choose to vote against recognizing and celebrating Hawaii as the 50th state, or for admitting that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and therefore is a U.S. citizen.

The bill passed unanimously.


Now onto those trying to block a public option on healthcare. Their latest tactic to convince the public that government-run healthcare would be a terrible, horrible, very bad thing is the “government-run healthcare will kill your grandparents” line.

So Congressman Anthony Weiner introduced an amendment that would eliminate Medicare, the popular publicly funded healthcare plan that cares for America’s elderly (quite well), and has done for over 40 years.

Every Conservative who says they are against publicly funded healthcare had to go on record and put their money where their mouth is. You’re against publicly funded, government-run health care? Fine then, vote to eliminate Medicare.

How many Republicans voted to eliminate Medicare? Why, that’d be zero.

Brilliant again!!

You gotta love this new calling-your-bluff, cutting-through-the-bullshit politicking. I hope they keep it up. The mythmakers shouldn’t win. I’m getting pretty damned sick of the fear mongers spewing lies and vile invective about Canada’s universal healthcare system.

But more on that later.

Jennifer Hudson just gave me an orgasm

Did you watch the Grammys? I’m watching them right now and I thought I’d let you know that Jennifer Hudson just gave me an orgasm. She performed with an orchestra and a gospel choir, and she did that thing that she does so well—give orgasms.

Look for it online. Turn it up loud.

The fact that Jennifer Hudson can sing like this is what makes her album so disappointing. When someone can give ‘er in true soul fashion, then it is beyond insulting and sad to make them sing watered-down R&B pop crap. Jennifer Hudson, Joss Stone, and Serena Ryder should be making soul music, not R&B or pop.

Hopefully the standing ovation she got at the end of her performance will make some record execs and image-makers think twice about her next album.

Thanks for the orgasm, Jennifer.

P.S. Stevie Wonder is performing with the freakin’ Jonas Brothers?!?!?!!!???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Jebus help me….

EDIT: This is unreal!


Colin Deslage is clearly a pseudonym. In addition to Call It What It Is, I just discovered that he has these other blogs:  The Plenary Vacuum, Musings On Eternity, Struggling to Write, Web Apis Gone Mad, It’s Good to Be Bad, Life Between Poles, The Subprime Primer, Warming the Innards, Mostly Get It Wrong, Positive Transference, Allegory In Braid, Scenes From Life, Paradox of Tolerance, A Simulated Reality, No Snow For Me, Comparing Weather Patters, and probably a hundred more.

So clearly they are all “scraper” sites after all, and they pull posts and articles from other sites automatically. I don’t necessarily understand why, as most of these blogs do not contain ads. But maybe they’re to come. I still want to do something about this! Fellow bloggers? Help me out here; I’m new. Can we report this name to Blogger/Blogspot and have them take down all of his fake blogs? This still stands: http://www.google.com/blogger_dmca.html)


Colin Deslage is, I think, not in his right mind.

I went through all of his posts on his blog, “Call It What It Is.” (I will, Colin—it’s PLAGIARISM!!) Many of them were posted videos, but of the written ones I found that most of them were plagiarized. In fact, I found 35 original blogs or articles that he stole. Of the ones I could not find the plagiarized source for, it could be that he wrote them himself. But more likely I just couldn’t find them. I alerted 32 writers that their work has been plagiarized (one was me, one didn’t have a way to reach them, and one’s blog was no longer live).

There are a few hints that this guy is maybe not right in his head. First of all, he plagiarized everything word for word. He copied misspelled and improperly used words. He copied headlines. He copied photos. In one case he copied a blog about Hawaii by a guy named Frank. The headline was “Frank’s big island travel tips” and it had a photo of Frank in the post! (Colin Deslage has his own name and photo posted on his blog!)

Another tell is that he didn’t try to disguise anything that distinguishes the original blogs. For example, apparently Deslage has a teenaged son who is a youth preacher, but is also an atheist. And his uncle survived the Japanes occupation. And he lives in Australia. And New York. And Philadelphia. And maybe Hawaii. And he knows a lot about diet and weight loss, but also literature, hip hop, complex science, and President Nasheed’s run for parliament in the Maldivian election. And he writes poetry.

He literally copied and pasted articles from web magazines about science, and some about health and weight loss.

So what to make of all this? The kindly writer of the blogs Godless Romantic and PictureThis informed me (the newbie blogger) about “scrapers”—”blogs or sites that use some mechanism to blindly gather material from anywhere and then post it in order to drive up their numbers so that more people will see the ads on their site.” I doubt this is what’s going on here, though, as there are no ads whatsoever on this blog. (EDIT: In fact, this is very evidently what’s going on.)

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm  Comments (8)  
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Humankind — only two hours old

“…imagine that the earth—four thousand six hundred million years old—[were] a forty-six-year-old woman…. It had taken the whole of the Earth Woman’s life for the earth to become what it was. For the oceans to part. For the mountains to rise. The Earth Woman was eleven years old…when the first single-celled organisms appeared. The first animals, creatures like worms and jellyfish, appeared only when she was forty. She was over forty-five—just eight months ago—when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The whole of human civilization as we know it began only two hours ago in the Earth Woman’s life…. It was an awe-inspiring and humbling thought…that the whole of contemporary history, the World Wars, the War of Dreams, the Man on the Moon, science, literature, philosophy, the pursuit of knowledge—was no more than a blink of the Earth Woman’s eye.”        – Arundhati Roy, from The God of Small Things

I think about this quotation a lot. It truly is humbling. First of all, it puts the earth and our place on it into perspective. I have a feeling that if we as a people don’t stop our destruction of the earth, she’ll just boot us off and start all over again. She’s been here infinitely longer than humanity has been, and will likely be here long after we’re gone.

This quotation also brings me some small bit of comfort when I start thinking about the state of the world, with all its corruption, discord, conflict, intolerance, discrimination, oppression, violence, and war. I remind myself that humankind is just an infant, which is why people act infantile so much of the time. I remind myself of this when I think about the fact that people do not solve problems with grace, diplomacy, tact, compassion, and maturity, but with violence, vengeance, pettiness, pride, and jingoism.

The hatred, intolerance, and violence—will it end when humankind “grows up”? I wish I could live long enough to know the answer to this, but it won’t reveal itself until millions of years hence.

In the meantime, it’s a worthwhile pursuit for humanity to keep striving to be wise and mature beyond its years.