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Your_Majesty's avatar

Why does the heart always take the blame?

Asked by Your_Majesty (8212points) March 3rd, 2010

We all know that ‘heart(liver)’ have nothing to do with human’s emotion,psychology,and behavior. It is ‘brain’ that responsible for that. But in reality we all know that many people like to blame ‘heart’ as the one that responsible for human behavior(i.e. like when someone who is strict and careless always called heartless,no heart,etc by other people. As we know ‘heart’ isn’t the right organ that should take the blame.) Why this misconception always happen in human life?,have people lost their point of view in reality?.

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17 Answers

laureth's avatar

In this context, you’re mixing up the physical heart (blood circulation organ) with the metaphorical heart. As far as why the heart has a metaphorical meaning these days, well, it’s been that way for a long time. We didn’t start this particular fire. ;)

Back in the day, the Egyptians didn’t know what the brain was for. It wasn’t as clear as, say, the stomach that held food or the heart that pumped blood. Mostly they thought the brain is what made snot, and it was so useless in the afterlife that they discarded it when mummifying a corpse (but they kept other, important organs in jars for you).

However, perhaps they noticed the way that the “heart” pumped more when excited, or seemed to beat more slowly when asleep, and when the heart stopped beating entirely, someone looked like they didn’t feel anything at all. So when you were looking to enter the Egyptian afterlife, you needed to have a “light” heart (when weighed against a feather) – that is, one not burdened by troubles and misdeeds.

The “heart” has been the center of emotion for a long time. It’s a myth that is so potent, it can overrule actual medical knowledge – which is really not so different from some religious beliefs today.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@laureth Good point of view. But there’s no contemporary with rational people nowadays(as we know what the ‘real’ function for each organ in human body). I didn’t blame that metaphorical way as an essence of language,but as we realize the truth(reality) how come we still use that irrelevant way in the context of reality. As a rational person I think it’s irrational to misplace something that we have already known its truth. Can reality really replace that metaphorical mean and the way people think despite its historical effect?.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@laureth Excellent point. The ancient Egyptians attributed the brains function to the heart and we’ve been misattributing, at least in a literary sense, evert since.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Doctor_D: It’s all semantics. If the kidneys had been thought to be what caused emotions and steered someone’s actions, then we’d use terms like “kidneyless” and “kidneyfelt.” We still use this term because, as @laureth said, we’re talking about our metaphorical hearts which are different than our literal hearts.

marinelife's avatar

Heart substitutes for spirit here.

stump's avatar

It is because the feelings involved are physically centered in the heart area. Emotions are patterns of tension and relaxation in the body connected to ideas.

Blackberry's avatar

They aren’t literally blaming the heart, it’s just a metaphor for their feelings instead of using their brain. I think people still use this metaphor because it makes it easier to not take responsibility for our actions.

CMaz's avatar


snugbug's avatar

Because when we are struck with an emotional sensation either high or low our bodies internal defense center kicks in. Our blood pressure goes up heart rate increases causing us to get that broken hearted , feeling or excited whatever the mood may be. Your chest gets tight you automatically feel the emotions in your chest. As you calm down all these symptoms resolve and your body goes back to leveled internal defense mechanism.

laureth's avatar

@Doctor_D – You want to remove metaphor from language entirely? Isn’t that throwing the baby out with the bathwater, putting the horse before the cart like that?

No actual babies or horses were harmed in the writing of this response.

Blackberry's avatar

@laureth What do those sayings mean?

Blackberry's avatar

@laureth Oh I see, cool.

nebule's avatar

Isn’t it like William James put it kind of like the fact that we feel our emotions as part of our bodies… they may or may not be perceived from the brain/ mind but the location of the feeling is often said to be in the stomach (nerves/ fear) or heart (love, longing) or throat (fear, crying) etc.

Just_Justine's avatar

It has to do with something about humors fluids and the body and first time philosophers but I have forgotten the whole splab, so bah bad answer.

PacificToast's avatar

It’s a metaphorical heart. I suppose that because it beats, it is assumed to be the engine that runs you, and therefore must take the blame for anything that goes wrong. Also, in the Bible it says God knows what’s in a man’s heart. Which came first heart as an organ or heart as a spirit?

babaji's avatar

Heart is at the center of all activity

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