Mozart said, “Love, love, love—that is the soul of genius.” And Johann Wolfgang von Goethe claimed that “People cannot learn what they do not love.” Unfortunately, in our intellectualized society, where the power of the word nearly always triumphs over the power of the heart, having feelings (or dare I say, passion) for something isn’t hip.
(I feel I’m uniquely positioned to criticize over-intellectualism since I myself have a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After walking out of my final dissertation defense, my advisor congratulated me on work well done, and then gave me a sound piece of advice—absolutely NEVER say the word “heart” in an academic setting. “You’ll be laughed out of the room,” he told me. He was right. I ended up playing on the outskirts of academia, finding the niches here and there that acknowledge the heart. But that was a long aside…) What I really want to say is this—because we don’t value the wisdom and passion of the heart, what we get in academia (and in art) is deadness. There’s no life or creativity without heart—passion, emotion, love. We have to care about something to create art, or anything else of real value.
Sheepishly, the activist Che Guevara told us, “Let me say, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The heart is the source and center of our creativity. Without the wisdom of the heart, there would be no art. Art, change, revolution, whatever you are interested in, does not come from the head. Our minds and thinking brains can only analyze, refine, and polish. They cannot create.
As the artist Robert Henri instructed us…“Take your head off your heart and give the latter a chance, something may come of it.”