6/21/10

The Seat of Wisdom

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Last night my son took a spoon and sculpted a stylized heart in a bowl of yoghurt.

Last week two dear friends photographed heart-shaped stones.

My friend Beth observed on Saturday that the horse we were admiring had a marking shaped like a heart.

The song my daughter wrote for Father’s Day on Sunday was of course, signed with a heart.

The bracelet my husband gave me for my birthday was engraved with small silver hearts.

Indeed it seems that every garden and every home I enter, no matter how cynical or drunken or bedraggled the proprietor, heart-shaped designs emerge -- on wind chimes, paintings, banners stuck in lawns, refrigerator magnets, vases, paperweights, bars of soap. Call it corny, but we have embraced this ancient symbol and celebrate it everywhere.

Gandhi tells us, Culture of mind must be subservient to heart.

Confucius observes: Laws and words do not rule the world: symbols do.

The symbol for the heart appears to have originated as an indication, not just of romantic love -- but of universal love and the seat of wisdom.

Barring corporate logos, the heart shape is clearly the most recognizable and prevalent symbol in modern times. In a profoundly symbol-illiterate culture, this is surely worth noting. As the curmudgeonly Jack Mueller would say,

Love remains the central force.