Nearly four hundred years before Christ walked this earth as fully man and fully God, Plato within his dialogue Phaedrus, created a rather interesting allegorical representation for a person’s soul.
Plato described a charioteer being pulled by two winged horses. The charioteer himself was seen to be the reason and intellect of the soul that must guide the stallions to enlightenment. Now one of the steeds is pictured to be of noble breed and character and representative of rationality and moral impulse of a righteous nature, while the other of the two horses was the diametric opposite in bearing and virtue and thus represented the soul's irrational passions, appetites, or decidedly more base natures. The two horses of such disparate natures were exceptionally hard to drive accordingly as they each wished to venture towards their own predilections, while the charioteer struggled mightily to drive them to his wanted destination of that elusive enlightenment.
It is a story of which I first learned back in high school the better part of three decades ago, but was recently reminded of a few weeks back in the homily at Mass one Sunday. In the homily, our deacon spoke of the soul that is the Charioteer driving the winged twin horses of reason and passion.
While perhaps not truly faithful to Plato’s original story, one can see the troubles that the charioteer soul might encounter when one steed tries to pull the chariot in one direction at the expense of the direction that the other steed wishes to travel, and thereby going to a place that the soul neither intended nor wished to venture.
If the horse of passion is allowed full rein to pull the chariot at the expense of the horse of reason, one might very well find one’s soul fulfilled, albeit for a very short lived time, as we do not live in a world where rationality and logic are absent for long, and thereby the consequences of having ignored them will quickly become apparent to the soul with excruciating and even grave consequences.
Indeed, fall in love with someone where the physical chemistry is magnificent initially, but the character or intellect are wanting and one will soon find that passion to falter and extinguish, leaving the soul injured and longing.
At the same time, if one were to marry and commit oneself to a person for practical matters that made unassailable logical sense, as the person was of sterling character, quality, and the perfect complement to one in all things of a pragmatic nature, but yet there was no chemistry or passion and love for that individual, it would be a marriage that too would soon falter as the purpose and meaning of such a marriage would never be fully realized.
The consequences of such disproportionate reason and passion, in favor of either steed, can likely be found applicable to any number of one’s relationships, career, vital interests, or critical elements to that which makes us each lacking in our own humanity. I suspect that in all things, ensuring that there is a balance of reason and passion would ultimately make for a much longer lasting and far more fulfilling life’s journey within the context of the soul driving that chariot.
Indeed, when passion and reason are yoked equally, one will find the chariot soul easy to steer towards that wanted destination and the journey will prove to be far smoother and enjoyable for the traveling.