This is a post by my good friend Kara, who, as of today, has become the second official PFC Character. For her character, Kara has chosen the name Wilbur, Duke of the High Seas. When asked, she claimed the explanation was self-evident.
(Monday’s) post led me to think about Spock and what a cool character he is. It also led me to think about vulcanized rubber.
Vulcanized rubber is truly an astounding material.
We drive on it every day. Most shoes are made with vulcanized rubber soles. Lots and lots of good uses can be found for vulcanized rubber.
Thinking about tires led me to correlate tires to people’s hearts.
In the same way that the vulcanizing process makes rubber hard and durable instead of sticky and un-durable, our own “vulcanizing” of our hearts can lead to the same result.
Instead of having pliable, mold-able, soft, sticky hearts we learn to shut off our emotions and “logic” our way through life. We are told to “act like a grown up” to “stop crying because big kids don’t cry.”
We’re given sayings like “no use crying over spilled milk,” and on and on and on it goes. Until we finally buy into the idea that logic is more valuable than emotion, and the lie that emotion and logic cannot co-exist.
Logic and Emotion
While I am not arguing that all emotion is logical, I will say that I believe most emotion comes from a very logical place.
Even a temper tantrum thrown by a 3 year old can be explained logically. Typically the 3 year old wants to do something cool. Mom and Dad say no. 3 year old melts down and throws a tantrum. I would argue this emotion, expressed in its raw form, comes from a very logical place: I want something, I didn’t get it, I’m super mad about that and I’m going to express my anger.
The problem is we have done a very poor job, in my opinion, of letting emotion be emotion.
Instead of looking deep into our hearts and souls to find what the root of the sadness is (am I really sad I had a PB&J for lunch today, or is the sadness actually coming from feeling alone and being dismayed I don’t have someone to share a nice lunch with, and if that is the cause of my sadness, why am I feeling alone and what lies am I telling myself about my worth as a result of being alone, for example), we try to explain it away without valuing it for what it is.
We tell ourselves to move on, to get over it, to not let ourselves get too excited because surely something bad is around the corner….
Emotion As It Was
I believe our most true emotional state comes when we are toddlers, and then we spend the rest of our lives being told to not act like a child and not express ourselves like a child. And while depth of emotion can come with age, we only really get the true emotion we once had if we work really hard at it.
We all start with emotion, and then we logic our way out of it.
We try as best as we can to contain our emotion or rationalize our emotion, or pass it off as “just one of those days.” And while it’s true we all have those days, it’s also true sitting in the irritation of the day can lead to deep discovery of our true selves if we let it.
Back to vulcanized rubber.
The process of vulcanization in rubber is, for the most part, irreversible. Once a tire is made it can’t often be made back into regular rubber.
And so it goes with our vulcanized hearts.
The more we become like Spock, the more irreversible the vulcanization becomes until finally we are left with walls around ourselves, an answer for everything, and very little depth of relationship or depth of life to be had.
The truth is we can live without depth. We can let our hearts become vulcanized and make a choice, conscious or not, to value logic over emotion. We can choose to live in the fields of ho-hum and hum-drum.
We will survive if we make this choice.
But, we will not thrive if we make this choice.
We will miss out on walking through the valleys of life with a dear friend who is experiencing pain. We will miss out on running the hills of joy with a child who just got her first remote control helicopter. We will miss the salt of tears on our cheeks, and the pain caused by laughing for hours. We will miss the color of life. We will miss the melody of life.
As much as it can hurt to feel things deeply, it can also bring great joy to feel things deeply.
Rather than live with a vulcanized heart, I would say it is far, far better to live in the turmoil of emotion than the perceived safety of logic.
Follow Kara / Wilbur on Twitter (@kenya_kara)!
This week’s topic (also known as the Weekly Curiosity) is emotion. Check back each weekday at 12:34pm for a new post exploring this idea. In the meantime, here are three ways you can join the quest: