Apathetic Passion

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So, I just finished the Fever bundle, by Karen Marie Moning, and I'm beginning to work my way through Iced in anticipation of reading Burned. I'm fairly certain it's going to be a quasi-religious experience for me. In the interim, I can't stop thinking about Mac and Barrons and the Unseelie King. I'm thinking about passion, joy, lust for life and an infinite amount of desire. I’m thinking about the objects of those desires, and what happens when desire is destructive rather than generative.  And I'm thinking about what it means when those feelings are missing. For me, the world seems divided—into those who know what their passion is and those who don’t have one. And I’m really only talking about passions that are contributory.  I’d much rather see passionate people like Mac who care about the world and the fate of humanity rather than the kind of lust for life that characterizes Barrons.  I love the guy, but he’s somewhat selfish. Which is a little like saying Kanye West is somewhat self-absorbed.

What do we lust for? Is our passion worthy?  What if what we are passionate about is the pursuit of pleasure? What if it turns out that what we care about, what we’re passionate about, is ourselves, and not really anyone else?  I feel like I see a lot of that out there. Obviously, there are those whose passion is for helping others—and we read about them in magazines and hear about them on the news.  But I have a nagging suspicion that we hear and read about these people because they are the exception, and not the rule. That there are more people for whom a lust for life looks more like eating a bowl of potato chips while watching the Superbowl than joining Doctors without Borders.

What happens when desire is thwarted?  What happens to those of us who find out that what we thought we wanted wasn’t? The Unseelie King pondered this problem for an eternity, but it’s not clear he came up with any answers. How many people do you know who spent years in school studying one thing, thinking they loved it, only to discover that they really weren’t that enamored after all? What if our purported passion doesn't feel like we thought it would?  What if it doesn't feel like passion, but instead feels like ashes? What happens when our desire turns into apathy? What happens when nothing inspires our desire?  Look around you. There are more people than not who just don't give a damn. Rhett Butler is all around us, and we don’t care about that, either.

What does all this mean? It means we live in a world where a lot of us either care passionately about only that which promotes our own agendas, or they don’t care at all.  Rock and a hard place, for sure. There is so much apathy in the world.  As well as misplaced passion. Which leads me to ask, how can we inspire engagement in those who have disengaged, and redirect those whose passions are turned inward? Again, I don’t have a lot of answers, just a lot of questions. For Mac and Barrons, there is purpose in rebuilding the world and passion flows from purpose.  So there is one answer—purpose produces passion. So does curiosity. And authentic connection. And gratitude. I guess I had some answers after all.

We need the good kind of passion.  Without it, we are lost, and when the Fae apocalypse occurs (I prefer it to the Zombie apocalypse, so we’ll go with that) we’ll be hard pressed to rouse ourselves from our food comas, rampant consumerism and prurient voyeurism to give a shit.  And this is an issue, because, as my favorite philosopher, Dr. Seuss, tells us, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”  We need to give a shit. And we need to do it with passion. Let's get on that, shall we?