Bird Droppings August 18, 2011
Looking for the passion
“All games have an important and probably decisive influence on the destinies of the players under ordinary social conditions; but some offer more opportunities than others for life long careers and are more likely to involve innocent bystanders.” Dr. Eric Berne, The games people play
In a recent note I had written down a thought. Why are you passionate about your job? I started thinking and yes perhaps as I think I obsess too much. I may ponder as I call it over trivial thoughts for some meaningless dribble, little shadows that many simple never see. Can you be passionate about something any other way? Yesterday I filled in a form for a young man who was very obsessive in so much of his life, obsessive to a point of distraction from reality many times.
If you mention Jeff Gordon’s number and his eyes would light up and statistics would flow about this NASCAR race or that and this sponsor or that and soon you would wish you never mentioned Jeff Gordon. It is funny since you used that to get from another subject that he had been obsessed on. Technically it is called Obsessive compulsive Disorder or OCD. Could I see passion in that obsession or is there obsession in passion.
“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” Chief Seattle, recorded by Dr. Henry Smith, 1854
So often in life we do or say things that seemingly are independent thoughts sort of random utterances that mean only a bit to us as we pass in that moment. Yet the ripples the effects and flow of direction from that utterance can carry and evolve far beyond that moment. As in a game where one person manipulates a piece and often the other parties involved are unaware of strategy and plan and soon there is nothing left. I think back to that obsession and what may be said in meaningless thought pursuing a thought an idea that is driven from some physiological mechanism we do not control. Could it be that passion is mistaken for that an errant whisper and dream an obsession on a simple concept that is mistaken as true passion.
“Passion and prejudice govern the world, only under the name of reason.” John Wesley
“Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
It was perhaps John Wesley’s obsession that leads to his passion; the founder of the United Methodist Church, Wesley was an Anglican Priest who was methodical in his thinking. He often would have communion 30 times in a single day. He was often on his knees in prayer for hours on end or composing hymns and music as did his brother Charles. The web of life has so many strands all woven in and about. Was John Wesley a man obsessed or was he passionate about his calling. Hawthorne sees a different picture of man. He sees one of seemingly change, of personality differences and varying capabilities. Emerson’s thinks as I do that there is a close kinship between obsession and passion, a powerful spring but difficult to regulate.
“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” Amiel, Journal, 17 December 1856
“Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” Honoré de Balzac
“Every civilization is, among other things, an arrangement for domesticating the passions and setting them to do useful work.” Aldous Huxley
I look at how we see passion and conversely obsession and wonder if often the two are not synonymous sharing attributes of each other. Perhaps it is offering similarities within differences. It is easier to say you are passionate about your job than obsessed with it. It is far easier to except a passionate person than an obsessive one. Religion needed obsession to succeed as I look at Wesley and so many of the Saints yet passion for their beliefs is a more powerful and believable offering. In art I see Vincent Van Gogh who without his obsession would have never painted with the feverish pitch and effort that he did and his paintings today would not be selling for tens of millions of dollars, when in his life time they barely kept him alive. We see passion now when the poor girl he sent an ear to, saw obsession. Huxley seems to so easily change the tune with the atmosphere, we domesticate the passions. We turn that obsession into useful and meaningful work. Often in the game as I started passion is turned not against the passionate but for the person holding the hand.
“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.” Elbert Hubbard
I have known many who even take medication for OCD and you can tell when and how much they took based on their interactions. I wonder how we deal with passion do we manipulate and propagate as needed. Or do we simply medicate when not needed and push under the rug when the deed is completed and game won. It is such a difficult chore to ponder on passion. Do we have it or is it simply obsession? Please keep all in harm’s way in your heart and on your mind.