I find that the people I connect with tend to have a technical background. They may be trained as scientists or engineers, may come from a family where analytical thought is valued, may just have always felt called to thinking rather than following the trends.
In other words, they are nerds.
You may prefer a different term — geeks, boffins, whatever — but in any case, they tend to lead with thought and know how to understand the details of technical things. They have the process of asking questions to get to a level of conceptual knowledge, wanting not just to understand how to work things but rather wanting to understand how things work.
Now, since I know myself to be a girl nerd, the people I really find I click with are nerds who own their own hearts. A sharp mind and deep empathy, open to both connect with feelings and understand the shape of things, well, that’s where I live.
This makes me wonder if there is some kind of community to be found around the idea of Nerds With Hearts.
We don’t have control of anything until we take ownership of it; are people who work to own both their scientific, analytical brain and their open, vulnerable heart the kind of people who can get together, move past dogma and cant to find a way to connect with the world on many levels?
One big problem is that there are no humans who live without emotions. Every nerd has a heart, that’s true. For that matter, every human has a brain. Nerds, though take ownership of their brains, but they often don’t really take ownership of their hearts, often have seen too many examples of emotions creating drama, so they reject any feelings that they can’t easily categorize into neat compartments.
Much of this struggle can be found around alternatives to belief. Many atheists just flat out reject anything that can’t be empirically proven to their satisfaction and this rejection becomes dogma. All belief, even the belief that there might be forces past logical human understanding, is denigrated and mocked as simpleminded and atavistic.
For agnostics, though, accepting that there are things they don’t know, being graceful with the belief systems of others, understanding that myths and mythical language are just ways to code human understandings that cannot be easily codified, are important parts of their worldview. They accept that the heart knows what it knows, even if that knowledge isn’t purely rational.
The scientific, technical mindset is based on questioning, on the doubting and experiments that extend knowledge. That’s a great thing, a real valuing of the human rational mind that seems to set us apart from other mammals.
The symbolic, artistic mindset is based on expression, on the creation of symbol that reveals and shares knowledge that is not simply rationalized. If you have to explain a joke it falls apart, because unless it, like other art, enters the consciousness in a sly way, it won’t enter the consciousness at all.
I have a nerd heart. I own my own nerd self and, after a huge amount of surrender and trust in my own feelings, I also own my own heart.
In my experience, that’s a rare combination. Yet there must be others who have done this work, trying to blend fire and ice in a cute way.
Is there a basis to form community around Nerd Hearts? Maybe.