Passion has a bad name these days, and only means sex, or deranged zeal of political and religious fanatics. Most people just want to be reasonable and decent, or nice. Even when passion is lauded, it is usually only because it is confused with ego ambition.
Wrestling with Kierkegaard today, a clarification emerged.
Passion is the energy of love. It is a kind of love, but a kind that has to use energy, because it faces a hard road, and daunting task, in the existential situation in which it must act. To love means going further into this situation, not turning back at the point where innocence is lost and experience initiates us in to ‘the way it is.’ But this has an ever increasing existential ‘cost.’ Without passion, love refuses to engage reality because love decides it cannot pay the cost of allowing itself to be committed to what happens to it as it gets more and more stuck in with reality. For once the dictionary is spot on= it defines cost as ‘to cause the expenditure of.’ Given the existential exactions in which all action, all meaning and purpose, all valuing, is situated, then to love is existentially costly= it requires the expenditure of our very being, and it subjects us to increasing expenditure in terms of putting us more and more on the line as we go all the way down the line. Thus the dictionary adds to its definition of cost= ‘to result in the loss of or infliction of.’ Without passion, love will pay no cost= it will suffer nothing for what it loves, it will carry nothing for what it loves. Passion is what we will give, and give up, and give away, for love. Passion is a love that will accept to be put into danger, and will accept to be made to embrace loss, by the situation where it finds itself in order to act nobly towards what is most precious and precariously placed there. Passion is love’s generosity and courage, its heroism. Passion is what we will expend, what we will allow to be inflicted and what we will lose, as a consequence of being bound to and bound up with what we love. Passion is a willingness, and is an urge that wants to, risk and let go the very self for the sake of that which is loved. Love is not cheap, not easy, not safe. Our life is what we will pay, our life is what we will expend, for love.
If love were situated differently, it would not need any such passion. If it were situated in a place of fulfilment, or of ease, or of no difficulty, we would not need passion to make its vow, and go through its ordeal.
But love is not situated in that manner. The existential givens of this world where we are situated are not surface, mechanical, predictable things, which we can control. The givens of this life are the deep things, the non contrived, the contingency that is never fail-safe against danger and loss.
Passion is our willingness to have a go, to pay the cost, and carry the consequence, out of a strange and irrational sense that it is worthwhile. Thus we know the pain of the depth, the pain that comes to lodge in the really deep heart, is sacred.
When people innocently say to us, “how’s it going”?, do they really know what “it” they are asking of, and how much is implied that it can be “going”?
The truth on which passion leans is that God created the world out of his own passion, and has dignified and burdened us with passion, so ours can be purified, but most important, offered up like God’s for the world, and thereby joined to God’s.
We are called to the divine-humanity, which means called to the conjunction of the divine and human passions.
But then that means there is a single description of passion that supersedes all the others, or rather, gathers them up in a single point. Passion rests on a truth of heart, and it is this truth that passion always seeks. The ‘drive’ in passion, the impetus, is for truth. Passion stands on, and stands up for, truth. Passion serves something bigger, and this is truth. Passion will make give away, and sacrifice, for truth. If the soul’s desire is a thirst for the Eros of God’s Goodness, Beauty, Life More Abundant, and Providential Wisdom, poured like spring water into a parched ground, then the heart’s passion is a hunger, an eagerness, an ardent seeking of, a fighting for, an ultimate give away and ultimate sacrifice because of, a truth kindled in a harsh ground. Passion stands and falls by truth. It is the truth of God’s venture in the human venture that passion seeks, defends, makes give away and sacrifice for.
This is the way of heart.
It reveals that ‘mankind is a passion’, because God’s purpose in creating us was to share gifts with the soul, providing truth could be tested and proved with the heart.
Passion goes into the room of no exit, and only emerges to be staked to the ground for truth.