Heart & Mind

Close friends are held dear by empathy. Caring is the hallmark of emotional stature. Such emotional mush is an afterthought at best to a business owner. The cool analytics of profit enraptures a capitalist. Hence the regularity of public relations fiascos created by CEOs who display their love of lucre over the cares of employees or customers. This stark dichotomy between compassion and capitalism is seated within the brain.

The brain comprises pattern-matching networks of various sorts. The cognitive network for emotional logic, of which empathy is at core, is biologically separate from the analytic network, in which cooler calculations are made.

Goal-oriented problem solving exercises the analytic network, which is designed for coping with the external world. This network evolved from primal cunning for survival.

In contrast, the demands of sociality engage the emotional logic (emologi) network, which ultimately serves internal psychological needs. It is a later-evolved psychobiological network.

The separateness of analytic and emologi networks means that only one is worked at a time. Operationally, the two networks are mutually exclusive.

A healthy individual exercises both networks, and integrates their productions, through the mental network which evaluates trade-offs. But empathy doesn’t pay the rent, or satisfy investors. So we see which mental network has trumped in the world we live; a world made poorer for not valuing that which really matters most.


Ishi Nobu, Spokes of the Wheel, Book 5: The Path of Understanding (pre-publication).

“Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa: brain physiology limits simultaneous use of both networks,” ScienceDaily (30 October 2012).