Dialectics



The following is from a book review entitled Bipolar Disorder that was written by a professor of American Religious History and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University:

The premise of Head and Heart is clearly stated in the introduction. From colonial origins to the present, American thought and values have oscillated between the poles of “head” and “heart.” Sometimes one is dominant, sometimes the other. But regardless of which happens to prevail at any given time, the other never goes entirely away. This leads in the best cases to a creative dialectic in which each needs the other in order to sustain what we now call the United States of America. At worst, the tension between head and heart emerges in witch hunts, violent nativism and racist hatred. Although these tendencies are primarily identified with Protestantism, Wills argues that they can be found in many churches and, in fact, are better thought of as “force fields” or strands that figure in all the major Judeo-Christian traditions. Assessing the two poles, Wills concedes some positive achievements of the heart impulse (usually labeled “evangelicalism”), but his heart lies clearly with the head tradition (usually labeled “enlightened religion”).


I have not read the book, and nor do I plan to (my "to-read" list is already too long). However, the book apparently touches on a phenomenon that will not go away – emotional thinking.

The faith in the political (LAT review) |
Interview with Garry Wills (PBS) |
City on a Hill (NYT review) |

The book's author, Gary Wills, talks about Head and Heart on FORA.tv:









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