Feeling is connected to intellect

As we begin this blog, we have had some discussion around what the purpose and intention should be with it. In conversation with Kiri yesterday, we talked about how we incorporate the nitty gritty research details about paradigms, epistemology, theory, etc., but that actually these first few stages where we establish who we are, and where we are at is really important because this blog is an opportunity to give shape to us as whole people, not just researchers. All the challenges presented from day one of our individual journeys are part of the educational achievement and signify markers of development–not just as scholars, but as humans. As I was reading Research as Ceremony, Shawn Wilson discusses approaching knowledge through intellect, and approaching knowledge through emotions and motives, and cites Hampton, another Indigenous researcher in the following quote that speaks directly to the process that we have intuitively used to start our blog:

“We do what we do for reasons, emotional reasons. That is the engine that drives us….Feeling is connected to our intellect and we ignore, hide from, disguise, and suppress that feeling at our peril and the peril of those around us. Emotionless, passion-less, abstract, intellectual research is a goddam lie, it does not exist. It is a lie to ourselves and a lie to other people. Humans–feeling, living, breathing, thinking humans–do research.” (2008, p. 56 as cited in Hampton, 1995, p. 52)

The connection between feeling and intellect is something that is profoundly difficult to articulate, especially in the written form. But for anyone who has experienced the reiteration and verification processes of knowledge that is preserved in oral tradition, these connections are seamless and validated in real time. There is no differentiation between feeling and intellect because they work together, making us ever-new in the unfolding of the eternal present. In this relationship with our research, with each other and with our readers, we share both.


  1. Kiri.Dell

    Something I’ve been thinking about in relation to this is why we choose an academic form of writing for our thoughts and ideas? There are so many other forms we could of chosen to communicate to our audiences, i.e other styles of non-fiction, poetry, short stories, journalism, lyrics, etc.

    I always wondered if writing from the head, is a way for some to avoid ‘being connected’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Abigail McClutchie

    Thank you for this insightful blog Dara. Fear of being an intellectual out of touch in the ivory tower or connected, heart-felt and passionate on the other, scared me away from academia. Until I learned recently, it’s not an ‘either /or’ situation, like you point out it’s an ‘and’ situation. You can be intellectual ‘and’ emotional, passionate, and connected, all at once. Sometimes, we need to translate academic knowledge into feeling based – emotive language and vice-versa, back and forth between the two languages. Navigating the language of the heart and mind enables us to share our stories with different audiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amber Nicholson

    Reminds me of the phrase: Think with your head and feel with your heart.

    Intellect (knowing), emotion (feeling) and will (determination) are inseparable—each informing the other.


  4. Chris Woods

    Love the whakatauki … I sometimes think of intuition as ‘experience is action’ and the idea that our experience and knowledge together can bring wisdom sits well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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