Dagdha's Blog

Genesis of Passion

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on February 14, 2012

Passion is not love. It’s not hate, obsession, or any other emotion with which it’s commonly associated, yet it’s hard to think of an instance where it appears substantively. Ideologically, passion is an intrinsic part of who we are as human beings, often cited as the catalyst for art and creativity. On some level we’re taught that passion is the key to happiness, whether it’s in our jobs, relationships, or intellectual pursuits. But what specifically is passion?

In my dictionary, passion is defined as the sharing of novelty. Like an engine that constantly needs fuel to run, passion depends on novelty, without which it withers and dies. In this instance, novelty could be equated to mystery, the unknown, the objective of adventure, and the driving force behind human development. This is why new hobbies, new ideas, and new relationships are so exciting and you want to tell everyone about them. New experiences are like high-octane fuel for passion, which is also why maintaining the same enthusiastic zeal about something requires progressively more work.

In relationships, for example, two twitterpated love fools will deny reason, responsibility, and other relationships in the pursuit of blind, intense passion (Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers come to mind), but anyone who has ever had a consistent relationship longer than a year will tell you that’s the honeymoon phase. When this initial period has passed, keeping passion alive requires more effort, specifically because the original novelty has worn off, hence the age-old advice that couples should share interests and the equally common, yet paradoxical, adage that “opposites attract.” Both admonitions support the idea that novelty and the sharing of it imbue passion.  As for old, still happy couples, their passion is deeper, tempered through time on an anvil of novel experience, like parenthood.

So why does there seem to be a fundamental lack of passion in the world, when technology enables an unknowable trove of new ideas and experiences? What is killing passion?

I believe it’s television and other forms of tightly controlled media.  Television is a drug, an electric narcotic more deserving of Timothy Leary’s famous slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out” than any other drug, including opium. Like cigarettes that subtly kill over years of addiction, television (and more recently the Internet and social media) slowly takes hold of its consumer, contributing to the rising obesity and heart disease epidemics, in addition to brainwashing viewers into obedient consumers.  If you don’t believe me, turn off your television, internet, and Facebook for a month and see if you don’t spend less money and experience a lot more.  The addictive quality of these mediums is perceived novelty.  There always seems to be something new – a new show, a new online game, a new status update – but a higher level perspective, which one can attain through abstinence, reveals that it’s all a programmed illusion.  Why do you think Facebook changes so often but the content remains virtually the same? And even if the end result of this addiction isn’t physical death, passion will die.

Returning to my earlier example of relationships, I think that television poisons and ultimately destroys their passion.  Whether it provides a false sense of how relationships should be (romantic, familial, or otherwise) or simply limits personal interaction and shared experiences, television does nothing to engender any kind of passion. It can’t because it never provides direct, original experience.

I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me, but this my perspective. I am happiest when I do something I’m passionate about, whether it’s reading a new book, trying a new restaurant, hiking a new trail, practicing martial arts, or writing, all of which focus on learning from new experience. I think that most people worthy of admiration live passionate lives, and probably because they continually seek the unknown.  If you want to garner passion in your own life, unplug yourself from the comfort of familiarity and seek out novelty. Your television won’t go anywhere.

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