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A Wizardly Question Of Heart, Brain, And Courage

(Editor's note about the author)

T.O. Illustratio is a free lance writer and observer of the interaction of personalities in everyday life. The author seeks to inspire readers to look within themselves to see how much good they can do in this world when a definitive purpose in life is clear.)

"Who could have known that a film classic might evoke a question of which trait is more valuable? In the ever-growing distance from my youth, a yearly ritual was family viewing of “The Wizard Of Oz.” After a few years we could recite all of the script and sing the lyrics to most of the songs.


That old movie also promoted an interesting question. Of the three desires longed for by some main characters, a brain, a heart, and courage, which is the most important? Decades later, the same question could be asked.


I will stipulate here and now, there were some nights of lost sleep in the early years due to a fear of those flying monkeys. Age and memory served to fade those fears away, but the good memories and the big questions are still fresh in my mind.


The Greatest Trait?


Of the three, a brain sought by the Scarecrow, the heart desired by the Tin Man, and courage, the ultimate wish of the Cowardly Lion, which is most important? Perhaps a preliminary question to that question would be, “Are we interested in any of the three?”


For if our ambition is to simply exist in the short period on earth, then neither courage, heart, nor even an advanced brain is necessary. For the sake of this writing however, we’ll assume to seek a higher calling, a more defined purpose.


Along That Yellow Brick Road


As Dorothy followed the yellow brick road on her way to meet the wizard, she picked up some interesting travel companions. She met a Scarecrow so dim-witted, he was only qualified to chase away birds.


Not satisfied to simply exist in this lot in life, he desired a brain that could solve problems, could improve his own lot, and as we would learn on the yellow brick road, improve the lives of others.


The Tin Man was sentenced to an isolated exile in a metal suit because of an angry demeanor. But he wished for a heart that would unleash the caring nature buried deep within the metal barrier.


And finally joining Dorothy on her quest for a way back home, the Cowardly Lion appeared, full of initial bluster, but lacking any real courage to back up his growls and gestures. But he wasn’t really looking for courage as a means to evil. No, his aching for courage was to be a difference-maker in a very positive manner.


As a spoiler alert for any who have never seen “The Wizard of Oz,” in the end, as all feel-good movies end, the good guys prevail. All three characters who walked with Dorothy had the respective strengths for which they longed. They never realized those traits were already there inside them. Until those wishes were needed to help their friend, Dorothy.


And The Answer To That Question


My apologies for digressing from the initial question of which trait is most important. Some context was needed to consider the question. And in truth, a return visit to the simplicity of youthful life always invokes a warm glow.


But back to the present. An advanced brain has to be a huge advantage for all of us who follow our own yellow brick road to make a difference in the lives of our fellow humans.


And the courage to act on the wisdom of our brain is crucial. The world is well-stocked with geniuses. There are countless academics who can relate indisputable theories of how life could be better for all. But without courage, those noble thoughts remain dormant, with no positive impact provided.


History is replete with biographies of evil geniuses who brought horror to our world. There are legions of people with courage to spare, but limited vision and purpose.


No, I would humbly submit that heart is most important. A caring spirit emanating from a generous heart will guide our brains to decision-making that benefits humanity. The courage will be there to break inertia and overcome any trepidation of acting on our heart’s conviction.


It is my sincere belief that like the characters in “The Wizard of Oz” when we pull back the curtain, we’ll see that we have caring hearts and have had all along.


Will we channel those caring hearts to lead our brains and inspire our courage? Now that is another important question!"


Written by T.O. Illustratio


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