I am an INTP. Now, now, don’t roll your eyes regarding “fake science”. Actually, Jung was pretty accurate, IMO. As Bohr (I believe) said “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”. I find that with the MBTI, once you get past the meme-y, fortune telling stuff and into actual cognition. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised at how useful the MBTI cognition model is for understanding my fellow humans. It is a blunt instrument, but a hefty one.
Either way, I have spent most of my life in my head. Emotions, for me, are fire hoses better left off than on. Off, they are compartmentalized, tidy, rolled up, hidden. On, they are flinging, messy, disruptive things that whack the shins.
The Lord, though, has been walking me, a lover of logic and reason, through the concepts of love. See, without SOME bit of emotion, there can be no understanding of love. This is not to say that the heart is more important than the mind, indeed the heart is “deceitful” Jer 17:9, and the Lord gives us a “sound mind” 2 Tim 1:7. However, without love, our actions, even noble actions, are cold and dead. A robot surrendering itself to the flames for the sake of another because it did the math is not acting in love. No, there has to be some heart, some emotion, some gut realization to truly grasp what love is.
Now, love is not merely an emotion, and I think that is where we get tripped up. Those of us who are bound in emotion feel things strongly and are tempted to confuse “feel” with “real”. Those who are bound in eschewing emotion, often lump love in there and are prone to haughtiness and coldness.
No, in my opinion, true, beyond-human love is not necessarily from the heart or mind. I believe that love is from the spirit. It has to transcend mere feelings because feelings will mislead us. It has to transcend mere intellect because the scales of our sound minds will not often lean toward true love. Even Spock’s “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”, while hinting at sacrificial love, intellectualizes, and therefore sterilizes, the deep and profound situation when someone decides to lay down his life for another. The motive makes the act.
So love has to be deeper than hearts and flowers but can’t be useless or overly rationalized to the intellectual mind.
This is where the spirit comes in. Love is the only goal for our lives: to love the Lord and to love others. The entire Law and Prophets hang upon loving God and loving others. True love for another is so utterly selfless that I do not believe it is possible for a heart or mind to comprehend. It comes straight from the Lord, who is Spirit, and then in bleeds into our hearts and minds and bodies.
So this is my experiment, my exploratory: put my cognition aside and explore the concepts of love, what it means, what it looks like. This does mean getting in touch with my emotion (and also learning when I have gone too far into it). I am finding deep, closed, dank spaces, old festered wounds, that need the light and love of the Lord to flood me.
Already my paradigm is changing dramatically. I am learning that instead of being insipid, love is powerful. Instead of being frail emotionally, love is strong. It can be a gentle whisper in the ear of a feverish child, but it can also be a loud battle cry rushing to defend the innocent. It is not boring. It is not less exciting. It is not temporal. It is eternal, in fact the only thing I can do that is eternal.
I am anticipating the further discoveries that the Lord has for me on this path. Some parts sting, but I am also learning to value others more, to see outside of my head. It is magnificent.