Friday, August 7, 2009

Reason, Common Sense Versus Feelings and Emotions

The road from Blantyre to Zomba, if you know (or don’t know it), is small, bumpy, and winding, for whatever reason, like a man’s ways.

The bends are moments of feelings which can be powerful, the bumps like emotions which can be strong to the extent of taking man out of his way into something resembling the Blantyre-Zomba Road: bumps, corners and narrowness.

Can a man or woman, an adult like me, be excited with emotions and feelings and act foolishly? Yes. Can love make a person act on feelings and emotions, not reason and common sense? Yes.

But maybe it is not love in its real meaning. Perhaps this is not a valid question. The question should be: can love be rational, reasonable and based on common sense? These are difficult questions.

What is it that attracts a man to a woman? The answers could as many as there are men. But as for me, it is good height, firm breasts, flat tummy (no waistlines please), nice shape (can’t explain but I know what I mean), and the mysteries that attract me.

This is about appearances. But love is more than that; in fact, love is about something deeper than appearance. Hundreds of girls can fit into my definition of beauty. Is it that I can love anyone who looks as such? The answer is no. But I can, for a moment, be attracted to anyone who fits the description.

The difference—and this is an important difference—is that sexual love works on feelings and emotions. You see a woman and that sight leads to something else, even dangerous. This is the whole story: life has taught me that love must be based on reason and common sense, not on feelings and emotions. The difficult part of it is that common sense does not make sense.

So the immediate conclusion is that love can never be rational, reasonable and based on common sense. But this conclusion lacks common sense. This is the reason it is accepted by millions because wisdom from common sense is not common; it is wisdom that does not make sense and is rejected.

Why do you love the one you love? “Love does not make sense,” says Alfred Kanjere, a marketing executive in Blantyre. “The moment you know why you love someone, it is no longer love.” Perhaps it is business. Is it really that love does not make sense or common sense about love does not make sense?

Love should be based on reason and common sense. But this does not rule out physical attraction. It is very important. But most importantly, choice of a life partner must be a serious matter that takes effort. And for one to reason and apply common sense, they must know their prospective life partner. And knowing someone comes from talking, talking heart to heart: communication.

The challenge is that feelings and emotions are ruling over reason and common sense. People are in a hurry; weddings are in fashion. There is a wave of pressure on young people, especially girls, to marry within a given period. Beyond that there is fear they may become rejects.

The speed with which some relationships end into marriage assumes that the people involved work on feelings and emotions, not reason and common sense.

Reason and common sense realise that two people from different backgrounds need to talk over issues before commitment. Reason and common sense look at compatibility with the seriousness it deserves. Reason and common sense recognise that we do not marry an individual; instead, we marry a family, sometimes a village, even a country. Reason and common sense accept that marriage is about sweet days and sour, sometimes, bitter days. Reason and common sense appreciate that life is about weddings and funerals, safety and accidents, health and sickness, victories and tears. So, reason and common sense ask a person what diseases they suffer from. Reason and common sense discuss differences in faith, culture, and background.

Reason and common sense accept parting as a way to meet again because people who don’t part can’t meet again, anyway. So reason and common sense are at the realistic level, not at fantasy.

If you love a person’s personality long before physical attraction, just personality and nothing more or less, and nothing sure about it all, yet happy and confident, you are operating at the level of reason and common sense.

Back to what appeals to my sight (good height, flat tummy, firm breasts etc). If I meet a lady and love her before I see her breasts and tummy, how do you explain that?

Could I be cheating myself? Or operating at a higher level? The level of reason and common sense that put first things first. The things I like are part of physical beauty which can change with time and the danger is that if I stick to the qualities, I would want someone younger than what I have all the time. But the higher qualities (the personality) appreciated by reason and common sense are almost permanent.

Reason and common sense are important for the choice of a life partner (and indeed any friend) but also for the sustenance of a relationship.

We are living in a dot com age in which to be out of reach is as good as being dead. How do you feel when a person you want is out of reach? Angry? Yes, if you are on feelings and emotions. Reason and common will appreciate that technology can fail and that it does not cover all space and time. Patience results from reason and common sense, not feelings and emotions, not at all.
A person who accepts that a mobile phone can go off or can be out of reach, is applying reason and common sense.

Reason and common sense are crucial for our understanding that a person can be called into duty that prevents him or her from attending to something else. It is lack of reason and common sense that takes away patience. And the absence of patience is a source of trouble, great trouble that has put lives in real trouble. In fact, one can do a whole essay on lack of patience and its troubles.

Reason sounds unreasonable, common sense produces uncommon wisdom. But if you want to be different, operate at a higher level of reason and common sense, not feelings and emotions.

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