Sunday, August 18, 2013

Passion - the flavorless and contagious substance that may very well change our world.

Sometimes I feel destined for greatness, but then I realize that I’m too lazy to do anything about it. Which is ironic, since out of anyone in history searching for answers, I’m the most likely to find them. Because I have an iPhone, and because of Google. But no, 50% of the time I’m 100% likely to go back to looking at cat pictures on the internet or figure out which cool filters to use on that picture of my breakfast I just took. And this may very well be the existential crisis of my generation. 
Before I go on to the slightly more motivational stuff - a bit of a disclaimer. Speaking about groups of people often results in observation being misconstrued as judgement. I’m speaking from a macro-sociological vantage point (looking at an entire generation’s behaviors) and attempting to understand the recent observable trend of laziness in myself and my peers by breaking it down into it’s constituent parts. Call it a practice in using methods of analytic philosophy in the context of social philosophy. In another way, these are just observations turned conclusions caused by my own insight, research, and personal experience [all those hours spent watching Family Guy have to count for something].
I’m part of a generation where the last flame of necessity for passion is almost quenched by the world and what it has to offer. More and more I see people my age [and sadly at any age] at a standstill in life. Motionless. Content in their mediocrity. Happily indulging in what the world has to offer with no sense of moderation or wisdom to know when to stop. And somewhere in there we’ve lost our passion for life. I’m a firm believer in the masses being of the same essence as the great people we remember from history. 
By passion I mean that deep, almost incomprehensible inner desire or will that humanity has to be excellent. In The Republic,Plato divides the soul into constituent parts – the nous (“reason”), thumos (“passion”), and eros (“desire”). In another one of his works, the Phaedrus, he depicts the “reason” or nous as a charioteer controlling two horses – the passion and desire - as a allegory of humanity’s long battle of reason against it’s own broken nature. Regardless of what you believe about the “soul”, I’m not trying to talk particularities about it- I only mention this to bring attention to the fact that in some way or another, the reality of “passion” is an attribute of our identity as human beings. This doesn’t have to be a moral thing either, it supersedes ethics – passion is a driving force for both good and evil. Hitler was a passionate person. Think about that.
It’s one of those few things that can’t really be taught to people. Try to convince someone to be passionate about something. Anything. I have a friend who is a musician. He speaks of music and plays music so passionately that it almost makes me jealous, even if I have no real inclination to do the same. And even if I did have a desire to play music as he does, it would be inauthentic – as I wouldn’t be playing music as an intimate creative expression that comes from deep inside- but more likely because I want to be that guy all the girls sit around when he pulls out a guitar and starts playing Yellow by Coldplay. Yeah, that guy. Please don’t be that guy – it makes it hard for simpletons like me. What am I supposed to do, talk her into liking me?
Passion can’t be taught and willpower can’t be created, but it’s something that gets under your skin. Because passionate people have something to live for. That type of fullness in life is something desirable to every human being.
And it doesn’t have to be something grandiose, sometimes it’s as simple as just being a really awesome human being at whatever point in life you are. We have a tendency to see greatness and passion manifested by those at the front lines or on the front page - the scientists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, revolutionary politicians, the famous musicians, artists  and writers.
But what does this have to do with energy and sustainability? And what does this have to do with you and with me? 
You see, passion is the flavorless and contagious substance that can infect only human beings. There are people in this world who understand their minute, individual role in the bigger picture. They get that small decisions can have big consequences. This isn't so much a passion to create as it is to cultivate what already exists - a beautiful planet full of living, breathing, creating, and unique people. I believe we are all called to this type of passion. It doesn't start with much - spend some time reading around this blog and our main site here, and you may very well change the world. 


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