10/18/13

Passion Hypothesis in Blogs

In exploring the importance of "passion" in Western society, it may be helpful to evaluate the theme's prevalence in mainstream media, foreseeing that older sources of Western writing (see last week's post) do not address "passion." At least in the US, mainstream novels, perhaps fortunately, do not address the theme, while novels that address the theme are relatively obscure. In this post, for that reason, we will explore the prevalence of "passion" among blogs. Of course, we anticipate that blogs - like novels - will be relatively obscure, but the short writing and quick access they allow for counteract their obscurity.

We first mention, to preclude this readership's potential doubts about "success blogs", that blogs and websites that explore career paths and success often compel readers to feel silly. They can produce disgust. But, this silliness is a reader's fault; success blogs and websites play only a minor role, if one at all, in generating silliness. Three reasons may govern why such readers experience silliness, perhaps better phrased as slight paranoia and dismay:

1) They expect a solution to their problems with success. 2) A mental disparity arises: reading about success, seemingly superficial, and applying it to the largesse of daily life and failure produces doubt. 3) They fear others tracing their search engine history to discover their insecurities.

The disgust a reader purportedly feels at disagreeing with another writer's views of success, after a reading a "success" blog, is therefore often illegitimate. Readers are insecure, not simply in disagreement with a writer's views, when they feel disgust. In short, we need to be open-minded if we want to fairly evaluate these blogs.

This site is arguably a leading "success" blog. Its foundation is built upon following dreams, passion,  the big-city complex, boyhood fantasy etc. Perhaps paradoxically, it infuses Western Philosophy with Eastern Philosophy to address success in strange ways.

Study Hacks is another "success" blog, authored by a professor of Computer Science at Georgetown, Cal Newport. While Newport's books (How to Become a Straight A Student, How to Win at College, How to Become a High-School Superstar) hint at the same silliness readers experience in reading conventional success blogs, his final book "So Good They Can't Ignore You" offers insight into the Passion Hypothesis*. Its fundamental thesis is that passion in our professional lives results from investing in a fied, rather than cultivating inherent interest. It may seem, at this point, that I espouse Newport's views, judging by the space and content I allot to this paragraph. But I ask that readers see my purpose as a presentation of viewpoints from both sides of a question. 

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