Monday, November 22, 2010

Passions

In the last couple of weeks, a friend of mine did something objectively irrational—one might say stupid—something that put his life at risk. But, as we discussed it briefly, it became apparent that he did what he did not in a drug- or alcohol-induced haze but in another sort of haze, that sort of place in which one loses oneself in passion. 
In our society, we value passion, we value devotion, we value going all in. And, although we do not put it quite this way, there is a long tradition in many of the cultures that feed into our own, of valuing losing oneself, whether in meditation in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, in a mystical union with or experience of the Godhead in mystical traditions in all the Abrahamic religions, becoming one with ones actions in varieties of Zen and Taoist thought, losing oneself in action in literary figures (e.g., Hans Castorp at the end of The Magic Mountain) and so on. 
And, while I am cautious—probably overcautious—and was raised to mistrust this kind of loss of control and rationality, there is something admirable about diving so deeply, even when risks are involved, about embracing the Dionysian and letting Apollo be damned.
Of course, I'll remain on the Apollonian side, but I can see the appeal of the other way.

2 comments:

Jesus J. Ruiz said...

Great observation. I have a buddy who married a girl out of whim (then divorced her out of whim), his credit is in the dumps, spends frivolously, . Everything I'm not in the sense of responsibility. Yet his 'free spirit' is why I'm his friend. He is a good person to party with lol.

Tyler said...

There are stupid getting-lost-in-the-moment decisions and then there are marriages on a whim. That might be taking it to extremes.