Why Is Passion Existentially Basic?

Kierkegaard= “It is impossible to exist without passion, unless we misunderstand the word ‘exist’.”

Why is passion the most essential and precious thing in being human?

It has to do with our status as existential beings= beings living on an edge, not beings rooted in solid — safe and secure — ground.

We are inherently subjected to existential uncertainty, non-guarantee, non-adding up. Hence, no thought, whether visionary/mystical or scientific/rational, can penetrate the mystery, the pained mystery, of our destiny of being ‘thrown’ into this world. Nietzsche rightly said ‘the world is deep’; but what this entails is that it is not thought that gets us through life– it is action= and what motivates, drives, sustains, action is passion. Passion is the engine of existential action= the action which has to take a risk, accept a wound, carry a weight, and pay a cost, if it is to do something significant in the absurdity, the irrationality, of this world.

Hence, only passion overcomes hardships, takes leaps, makes commitments and submits to the consequences.

No ordinary emotion or even keen desire comes close to being able to do the things that passion does. Only passion steps up, fights, keeps going, where knowledge has ended and cannot guide action. The urge in passion= to live in the truest way. Passion is ‘for the sake of’ truth= to find truth, to stand up for truth, to make sacrifice and die for truth.

Why bear and endure the suffering of existence?

Passion replies not with an explanation, but with its action; and this action is its trust in the irrationality of its situation, because another Spirit summons its spirit. Nothing it does is simply decided or chosen by itself arbitrarily= it comes as a fate placed upon it like a ‘load.’ Passion is that irrational spark that embraces and goes with — goes all the way with — the fate that the heart cannot escape.

Passion rises to what is hard, deep, fated.

Passion falls back to what is easy, shallow, take it or leave it.

Courage starts it, strength sustains it, wisdom crowns it.