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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A matter of mind, or heart?

It is generally understood that the laws of a society strive to keep the behavior of its citizens in order. There are, however, no laws governing thought. Thought is rather hard to ascertain from outward observance.

There are a great many people who do not appreciate the "reining in" of their behavior, but they adapt in order to avoid consequences of breaking the law. Few, however, can stomach even the idea of a “thought police;" let's examine why.

No one likes to be told what to think because thoughts are more personal than behaviors. And truly, no person has the right to tell any other person what to think. But are thoughts any less powerful than behavior, even though they are inward? Surely the reasonable person acknowledges the relationship between thought and behavior.

The root of behavior goes even deeper than thought, to motive. Motive trumps even intelligence, as does wisdom or lack thereof -- a “slow” person can be quite wise, and a brilliant person quite foolish. It seems that within the will, or “heart” of a person, lies the root of that person’s thinking.

The term “heart” often refers to emotions, and indeed emotions play a huge role in the shaping of thinking. On their own, however, emotions are not “right” or “wrong;" they merely indicate affectations of the will or of those things the individual holds dear. What a person does with his/her emotions determines whether or not those emotions will lead to damaging consequence. Hence emotions shape the will/heart but influence behavior only insomuch as they are filtered through the will.

It’s pretty obvious that no law imposed by humans can rightfully address matters of emotion or thought, except as they relate to behaviors which either contribute to the good or ill of society. Does this mean that emotion and thought belong under no law at all?

Since it is clear that the root causes of behavior lie within thought and emotion, they must be subject to some sort of law. (Unless all of our behavior is programmed in our genes, as some would have us think, but I’m pretty sure that hasn’t been conclusively demonstrated....)

There is a law which addresses matters of volition; it is God's law. Through this law, found in relationship to Him, persons can find an authentic way to deal with the root causes of their behavior as well as the behavior itself. There is no need to resort to mere behavior modification in order to conform to societal or cultural rules.

Surely this is the most satisfactory way to peaceful coexistence, is it not?


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