Emotion, intellect and will are the three intelligences that produce purposeful action. These three powers are a single system, rather than opposing forces. They are interdependent, much like the components of a combustion engine.
The relationship between emotion, intellect and will has been hotly debated for centuries. The basis of the controversy is a flawed hypothesis:that emotion and intellect are opposing force in a grand battle to command the will. As though the will were a plow horse for harness by the fittest master! Proponents of the intellect as master claim that facts and data are the only reliable source for action and that feelings are irrational and dangerous. The advocates for emotion maintain that reason alone dehumanizes mankind and fosters unethical and inhumane conduct. A Visionmaker understands that each power has an individual but interdependent function.
Emotion, which means "causing movement" helps answer the question 'What'. What is meaningful? What has fire? What's worth pursuing? What will I live my life for, that will provide the experience of feeling fully alive and used for a purpose greater than the ego?
Intellect provides the 'How' to the emotions 'What'. It is the power that imagines, acquires knowledge, reasons, solves problems and analyzes choices. If emotion is the vehicle that connects us to what is most meaningful, the intellect plans the journey.
The will is the capacity to make something happen. The energy, power and timing to act with purpose is the will's contribution to the dynamic partnership. Ultimately, the will is the means by which human beings deliver vision to form.
Emotion, intellect and will, united in support of a common destination, help us perceive, understand, make choices, and take action. These are the critical components of purposeful action and the source of all breakthroughs. A Visionmaker develops emotion, intellect and will equally. Each must be understood, respected and applied in partnership to generate a purposeful act.
The holy trinity of emotion, intellect and will, when applied to action, creates a fire that scorches convention and gives birth to form. As Bertrand Russell writes: "Instinct, mind and spirit (emotion, intellect and will)* are all essential to a full life; each has its own excellence and its own corruption. Each can attain spurious excellence at the expense of the others; each has a tendency to encroach upon the others; but in the life which is to be sought all three will be developed in coordination, and intimately blended in a single harmonious whole."
*The material in parenthesis is mine.
© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.