In philosophy, Passions is a central concept, which refers to the conception of subjectivity. For philosophers of freedom, passion is a “disease of the soul” (Kant), for the rationalist philosophers (Plato, Descartes), they blur the trial and prevent access to truths. Whereas for the Romantics, the passion intensifies life, stands for liberation. Passions in religion and philosophy have a different connotation from the popular concept of passion which is generally seen as a positive emotion.
Motivational culture is a cornerstone of post-industrial society, and it feeds on passion. Pick up a book like Drive, by Daniel Pink, and we will learn about the value of passion. Professionals are no longer satisfied with money and status – they want meaning, intrinsic value, and a big passionate experience of life. Cultivating a powerful sense of passion can take us a long way, and to some pretty interesting places as well. But it’s a mistake to think that passion is some kind of magic carpet ride, destination Xanadu. Nikolas Tesla was passionate about his breakthrough inventions, but he died in poverty. Romeo and Juliet epitomize passion, and we all know how that story ends.
Specific definitions of some philosophers are:
- Kant: “The passion takes the time and, however powerful it may be, she thought to reach its goal. Passion is like a poison swallowed or disability contracted and she needs a doctor who heals the soul from inside or outside, who knows yet most often prescribe drugs palliative”
“The inclination that the reason the subject can not be controlled or managed with difficulty there is passion”
- Spinoza: “I mean disorders of the body through which the power to act in this body is increased or diminished, helped or reduced, and at the same time, the ideas of these disorders. When we can be the adequate cause of someone one of those conditions, so I mean by love action, in other cases a passion”
- Hume: “The passion is a violent emotion of the mind and sensitive to the appearance of a good or bad, or object which, owing to the original constitution of our faculties, is fit excite an appetite”
- Cicero: “Zeno gives this definition of passion: Passion is a commotion of the soul opposed to right reason and against nature”
Contemporary philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger has developed a view of the passions that disassociates them from human nature, and instead gives them a formless life that serve in our noninstrumental dealings with each other. Rather than the guiding force behind our relations with the world, they organize and are organized around the need and danger that is at the heart of our relations with each other.
Background of Passion
Passions has always haunted Western philosophy and, more often than not, aroused harsh judgments. For the passions represent a force of excess and lawlessness in humanity that produces troubling, confusing paradoxes.
According to European philosopher Michel Meyer, they have aroused harsh judgments as the representation of a force of excess and lawlessness in humanity that produces troubling, confusing paradoxes. Meyer sees philosophers as having treated the passions as a given expression of human nature, leaving the question of whether the passions “torture people because it blinds them, or, on the contrary, does it permit them to apprehend who and what we really are?
If we want to achieve our dreams, we need to check our passions against reality. We also need to check our passions, because they have a way of taking control of us. This is something we don’t tend to acknowledge, because we are constantly told that it is important to feel passionate about things. Passion is important – it is vital. But it is also vital that we don’t let ourselves be consumed by passions, so that the passion (as opposed to the goal) becomes the meaning of life.