Head and Heart: Is this debate even real? They told us to listen to our heart but can our heart even think?

Rahul Mody, 2nd year, Angeles University Foundation, Philippines

George Henry Lewes, an English philosopher, rightfully said, “Heart and Brain are the two lords of life. In metaphors of ordinary speech and the stricter language of science, we use these terms to indicate two central powers, from which all motives radiate, to which all influences converge.” This comes with the debate of the Heart vs Brain. Cardio vs Neuro if you must. Is one truly superior to the other? Let us discuss this.

To lay down some foundation, let us first discuss the function of each. The brain is an extremely complex organ. Even what we know of the brain to date is only a small percentage of its’ true potential. To put it simply, the brain functions to control our thoughts, emotions, actions, senses, body regulation, and almost every other process in our body. It works along with the spinal cord to form the central nervous system. In contrast, the heart is a far simpler organ. It has one very straightforward function i.e., to pump blood. However, the heart is special in its own way.

Working relentlessly day in and day out without even a second of break. Truly, both these organs are vital to our survival. How can we pin the importance of one over the other?

The Salary Debate

Maybe we can compare the two in terms of which physician earns more. The one that deals with the brain or the one that deals with the heart? According to online sources, in the United States, the average salary range for a cardiologist typically falls between $381,138 and $572,430 On the other hand, the average salary range for a neurologist falls between $241,828 and $324,871. The heart wins, right? But then let us look at another statistic. The average salary for a cardiothoracic surgeon is $509,533while for a neurosurgeon it is $657,801. Looks like round 2 goes to the brain.  This contradiction can lead us to believe that the salary debate is quite irrelevant when comparing these two. Let us move on to another category.

The Dependency Debate

When arguing about which organ is better than the other, a lot of people bring up the fact that the organs are mutually exclusive of each other. How the brain is needed for controlling every aspect of body function and the heart is needed for pumping blood. This is yet another contradiction and these organs, although vital on their own, are interdependent. The heart must pump blood to the brain to continue its functioning. The brain must send signals to the heart for it to continue pumping. One cannot continue or exist without the other. The beauty of the human body and its functioning can be truly appreciated once you realize how the organs are interdependent. And the same goes for the heart and the brain. I guess we can count this round as a draw. Now, moving on to the final debate.

The Dysfunction Debate

Truly the organ whose dysfunction causes bigger issues is the more important organ, right? Well, what if both organ dysfunction can cause issues of an approximately equal magnitude? Heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure can all lead to post-treatment complications, possibly comatose states, or in extreme cases, death. Similarly, stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury can lead to disruption in daily life activities, body function, and in extreme cases, death. Organs of this size and magnitude cause the biggest problems in the human body and the dysfunction of either can potentially be fatal. Proper care and treatment are required for both.

In conclusion, the heart vs the brain is not a plausible debate. When you smile or cry, you say you feel it in your heart. But it is the function of the brain to express emotion. It is your heart that is helping your brain produce that emotion. The famous British musician, Van Morrison, asked the question, “If my heart could think, would my brain begin to feel”? Follow your heart, but never leave your brain behind.”

Rahul Mody, 2nd year, Angeles University Foundation, Philippines


[1] Salary.com. Cardiologist – Non-Invasive Salary. Salary.com. Available from: https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/cardiologist-non-invasive-salary. Accessed May 6, 2023.

[2] Salary.com. Physician – Neurology Salaries. https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/physician-doctor-neurologist-salary. Accessed May 6, 2023.

[3] Salary.com. Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salaries. https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/cardiothoracic-surgeon-salary . Accessed May 6, 2023.

[4] Salary.com. Neurosurgeon Salaries.  https://www.salary.com/research/salary/alternate/neurosurgeon-salary . Accessed May 6, 2023.

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