Understanding Passion

The Original Definition
Passion is word dispensed with great frequency and minimal repute. Language is powerful, yet we often neglect its inherent value through lax usage and ill perceived context. At times it seems a cultural imperative to dismiss the truths once defined in our common vernacular.

Frankl’s theory holds that our primary drive in life is not personal pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of that which we find meaningful.

With specific regard to passion, the foundational truth of this ubiquitous badge of honor has been long forgotten. When employed, the word passion most oft refers to pleasure, affection, love, heart-filled, enjoyment, excitement, desire, and more. While passion may lead to any of these ends, it by no means was originally defined with such a narrow view.

Passion is derived from the Latin ‘pasio’ that literally means ‘to suffer.’ A stark contrast considering the ease with which the word passion is so flippantly assigned. In an attempt to reconcile the ideal of a passionate pursuit of life against the suffering inherently foundational to the very word itself, one must question the pragmatism of such an endeavor. Imagine desire so great, vision of the future so clear, a call that pierces the deafening white noise of life that one can only suffer in the efforts to fulfill that which is so clearly laid before. The pursuit of a life of meaning, rather than a life of happiness.

During World War II, psychiatrist and author, Viktor Frankl labored in four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz. While enduring the horrors of those years, his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. From his own experience, Frankl believed that we simply cannot avoid suffering. But rather, we must choose to accept and grapple with our suffering and find meaning in it. Then build our lives with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory (logostherapy) holds that our primary drive in life is not personal pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of that which we find meaningful.

“Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself – be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is.” ~ Viktor Frankl

To be veraciously passionate, it requires the sober understanding of the suffering to be embraced. And give chase to the adventure of a meaningful life. Be prepared. Be willing. Be encouraged! The flames of passion – when fueled – are not easily extinguished.

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