The Usage of the Word "Heart"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ike, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    0
    Stupid question, but lately it's been bugging me.

    When and why did the usage of heart come to infer more than the organ's real purpose? As in, "I just feel it in my heart..." "She broke my heart," and "Special place in my heart."

    I know it's used in the Bible like this, so it at least goes back to the Romans. Lately, it infuriates me when people use this phrase, and I know it shouldn't. I'd just like to know where it came from.
     
  2. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do you also object to phrases like 'The heart of the city' and 'The heart of the matter'?
    I think it's more likely the word always meant the centre of something, and when doctors discovered the human organ that seemed so important to life they named it the heart after that meaning.
    So in a sense I think you should be asking when the organ first 'usurped' the word 'heart'!!! [​IMG]
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    0
    It probably stems from the fact that it was once believed that the heart was the center of the body. The heart was responsible for emotion, for thinking, and for life. In essence it was the 'brain', the organ of utmost importance.
    So when someone says "my heart was broken" it implies the worst tragedy one can endure, for the very essence of being has been broken. The word "heart" is used in all these phrases to exaggerate the importance of the situation for the "heart" is held in the highest regard.
    Of course, this is just my interpretation and I do not claim it as fact. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, that's my vernacular really. I would always 'object' to something I found irritating, while not actually meaning it in a strong sense!!
    I guess you are being anal but then sometimes you can just get bees in your bonnet about things. I'm sure it will pass. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ike,

    In the Old Testament, the phrase for the seat of emotions was the bowels. This can be seen in Gen. 43:30 and at 1 Kings 3:26. These are in the King James Version, so other translations may have worded it differently. This does not imply that every time that the word bowel occurs that it is talking about the seat of emotions because, just like "heart" today, it can mean the actual body part.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    Forgive me, Ike, but since you're interested in semantics:
     
  9. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    0
    From Dictionary.com:
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    That's a great explanation. Thanks for the link!

    M.
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know about you guys, but I feel physical pain in there when the emotion is intense enough, especially negative ones (jealousy, some years ago). That of course has nothing to do with any heart disease. I thougt every one felt that way, but now the original question is making me wonder [​IMG]
    Also anyone who has been in love surely knows how it feels?
    --
    Holadem
     
  12. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1998
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    173
     
  13. John Spencer

    John Spencer Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2000
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because it just sounds better than "I love you from the bottom of my colon"? This is just my guess...
     
  14. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Messages:
    2,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Robert--exactly what I was thinking, or feeling, or...
     
  15. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 1999
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    5
    When I was a little kid, and I would overhear someone using the expression "hard on," I thought they were saying "heart on." Of course, even at a young age, I understood that this phrase referred to sexual arousal, even if I had no comprehension of what that was.
    So, you wanna talk about confusion surrounding the use of the word "heart" and human emotions?
    [​IMG]
    Come to think of it, speaking of an organ which is given complete control over your "emotions"... [​IMG]
     
  16. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 15, 2001
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ike: The common usage of heart as the metaphorical seat of all our emotions and feeling has always bothered me a bit, too... Especially when it's used to contrast thoughts with emotions... As in:
    Answer with your heart, not with your head...
    *GROAN* Your emotions are just as much a product of your mind as any logic or abstract thought... I suppose I object to it because so many people completely forget that it's only a metaphor.
    It may also be because I'm not religious... When people start to talk about the mind, the body, the heart and the soul like four different sides to themselves, it just seems nuts to me... I mean, to me it's clear that only 2 of the 4 actually exist... (And maybe only one, in fact, since there's ample evidence to suggest that the mind/consciousness is really only a side-effect or illusion of the brain...)
     
  17. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  18. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ike,
    When I saw your topic I thought you might be referring to another use of "heart." It goes back at least 30 years and was usually applied to some young man who needed legal aid, a bath and continuous anger management classes. Some family member or general toady was always proclaiming, "He's got a lot of har'-art. [​IMG]
     
  19. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    The usage arose at a time when very few people had any idea what the inside of a human body looked like, much less which organ did what. As noted, for many peoples in the ancient world, the seat of the emotions (and in some cases the intelligence) was the viscera - we still talk about "gut reactions" Nobody had any clear idea what the brain did, and almost nobody thought of it as the seat of thought. I don't know about the rest of you, but I do often "feel" emotions as physical sensations, in both the chest and the gut, so the connection seems natural. Once the usage was established it was unlikely that "technical" information about what organs actually did was going to change was what always, in essence, a metaphorical usage anyway. Does it bother you when someone says, of a brave person, "He's got guts"? There are plenty of technologically obsolete terms that continue in use because of sheer inertia, and nobody takes them too literally. Musicians still talk about "cutting a record" - which embraces two generations of obsolete technology. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  20. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,718
    Likes Received:
    463
    "Using your head" is like doing the analysis first to consider the ramifications of an reaction to certain stimuli. "Using your heart" is like reacting and responding to a certain stimuli with little regard to the consequences of that reaction.
     

Share This Page