gogh-bandaged-ear1Here’s a question for the depressed, the trapped, or the merely unmotivated.

What drives us?

Hunger? Fear? Passion?

For now, let’s forget hunger and fear. They’re pretty basic. Solid. They can be shifted, a little, but mostly you have them or you don’t; as solid and ancient and immobile as time and tide.

But passion…ephemeral, exquisite, entrancing passion. It drives us and tears us down. An inside force that pulls like an outside force, a force that can build, or destroy us. Humanity speaks of the drive that comes from passion as an outside influence. We speak of the muses as gods that bestow passion to the lucky few. We speak of those with passion as being blessed.

Perhaps they are, or perhaps they aren’t. They used to kill men, letting them be dragged to death by wild horses. Pure need seems to have pretty much the same effect. Look at van Gogh.

But is that worse than a life lived without passion?

There are some things all humans just know. When a baby is upset, or really hurt. When someone is angry. And being different. Even the challenged kids know when every one else has something that they just don’t seem to possess. They don’t like it either.

I think I lived my whole life wondering what drive looked like from the inside. Pressed up against the storefront glass, watching the way the driven people moved, how they ate, how they spoke. And mostly I played a pretty good game, pretending; I’m not untalented, just uninvolved. But what I saw as I watched, was enticing. You can see what it is…you just can’t touch it. That’s maddening.

[Side note: Is this what television does to us? Does it show us the things we are not, creating an ever-spiralling circle of unfulfilled hunger? Some may disagree, but I don’t think we are bright enough or sufficiently in control of our base selves to truly know, on every level, that it ain’t real.]

Yet none of us are completely devoid of passion, they ebb and flow – and the one thing that always made it possible for me to continue was people. They’re lovely, endlessly fascinating, and when someone around you has passion and drive, it’s almost like you have some yourself. But, in the end, it’s just an act. It burns away and on to the next…you end up skipping across the surface of your life, never really digging in. You never succeed the way you should, and lets’s face it – you never really live.

Perhaps humans are built this way; some leaders, some followers. Perhaps without a sensible ratio, the human race bobs around in billions of tiny boats, bumping hulls, stealing fish and singing “My Way” at the top of our collective lungs.

Whatever the genetic necessity however, it REALLY wasn’t working for me. Clearly a leader, trapped in a follower’s body, like some sort of motivational transvestite. [Yup, I already regret that simile. Too late now, though.]

My cure? Sit on my ass and wait for passion to come. Occasionally do something fun or scary. Against all odds, this worked. Naturally it backfired immediately, but hey, it’s not all pool parties in the Hamptons, is it.

Gods willing, the neuro will help with the rest of it or reduce the level of distraction that forces me to keep finding new sources of passion.

So, if neuro does help…

Is passion the natural human state, absenting sadness and distraction? Can we just reawaken it with technical wizardry? Must we wait for outside forces to provide inspiration or can we, without an ember or a spark to warm, ignite the fire by rubbing sticks?

Does anyone have a match?

PS. Next time I promise to write about something more upbeat. Like brain injury.


4 Responses to “Passion”

  1. Jason Says:

    “But is that worse than a life lived without passion?” Good point. Life without passion is so empty. I wonder how people can exist when their only passions are possessions and money.

    “Is this what television does to us?” We’d like to think we know that reality TV is completely scripted, or that expectations are unjustifiable. But do we..?

    • Tim Says:

      This is my point. Advertisers wouldn’t use beautiful people if that didn’t create an effect. We see them, we see they are using XXX and we go out and buy it. The why doesn’t really matter. The fact is, this clearly implies at least a sub-conscious connection and need to fit in. Otherwise they’d use people that looked like actual humans. Believe me, there’s billions of dollars of research into this shit.
      Now take that effect and magnify it by creating story lines powerful enough to make you cry. See what that does to the way you see the world. How much it connects you to that world. It’s why product placement is so wickedly effective.
      Lord help me I truly believe that our so-called entertainment industry is cracking our society and breaking us like twigs.
      I don’t know my neighbours, but I know what Jennifer and Angelina do for their workout? How horrible is that?

      • Jason Says:

        True. This is a bit of a tangent from your point, but I used to turn the volume on “mute” whenever commercials would come on. Sometimes I’d talk or read, but it used to drive a certain friend of mine nuts. From my perspective, regardless of their revenue goals, it was still my conscious choice (to a certain point) on whether or not I want to watch that shit. If they want to subtly influence my goals they’ll have to be a bit more intelligent and adept than turning up the decibel level.

  2. Lormo Says:

    I can’t wait until your hilarious post about brain injury!

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