Most people can draw a foot. They know the shape of feet — and that they have heels, five toes, and ankles. Similarly, there is a public consensus on the shape and look of lungs, one that reflects the general reality of what lungs actually look like.
But it is incontestable, and particularly apparent every February, that most people are in complete denial about the shape of the human heart.
This is a heart.
And this is what it looks like when you google the word heart.
For those who don’t trust me enough to click on my links, the first is a picture of an anatomically accurate human heart, which more-or-less looks like an alien egg sac. The second link shows (with a few exceptions) rows upon rows of that ubiquitous, simple, symmetrical, flat, pink, symbol that society arbitrarily has decided is the shape of a heart.
How did we end up here? Why this shape? Why not a square or a star with its points sanded down?
No one really knows. Sure, we have theories. One theory is that the heart symbol took its looks from the seed pod of the Silphium, a plant that was used as seasoning and medicine and birth control — the third use is why many believe it came to represent love and passion and by extension the heart. (On a side note, perhaps due to the Silphium’s popularity and bakingsoda-esque level of versatility, it has long since been extinct).
Another theory is that early 13th century artists, the time in which the symbol became more and more prevalent, used the inaccurate description of the famous philosopher Aristotle, who thought the heart had a rounded top and a pointy bottom.
Whatever the reason, we are now stuck with this random shape.
But, I guess I could be missing the heart of the point (or the point of the heart) here. It doesn’t matter what the heart looks like. What matters is that we let the people we most care about and love know that we heart them.
From everyone here at Preferred Care at Home, have a great Valentine’s Day!
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