10/21/13

Psychology of Passion

The basis for this series's relevance is that passion potentially leads to unhappiness, because passion, very simply, cannot always be fulfilled. In contrast, as this post will explain,  psychology interprets passion in a more routine fashion that suggests we should be optimistic. 

Psychologists Celine Blanchard and Marylene Gagne, among others, have recently posited the existence of two types of passion, harmonious and obsessive passion. Their research is interesting, however, not because it unveils a categorization of passion easily identifiable in the lives of people, but because it implies that passion can assume very regular forms. 

While the West believes a passion takes on an interesting, almost-exotic, unroutine form, Blanchard (et. all) evaluate passion's categorization in areas like reading and talking with friends. Passion, first written into a 1959 paper, needs to follow seven criteria -- and talking with friends can qualify. 

This discrepancy can be accounted for. While some associate "dreams" with passion, thus accounting for the volatility and potential unhappiness at least I saw in passion, psychological research does not associate "dreams",  "goals" etc.  with passion. Rather, the passion of "psychology" is a source of tranquil, everlasting joy. It suggests the agrarian life rather than the city life.

Some interesting research:

"Passion is defined as a strong inclination toward an activity that people like, that they find important, and in which they invest time and energy."

Types of Passionate Activities and the Percentage of People Engaging in Each One
Activities Types of activities  /   % of participants
Individual sports/physical activity Cycling, jogging, swimming   /  34.85
Team sports Playing basketball, hockey, football   /  25.54
Passive leisure Listening to music, watching movies  /  15.05
Active music Playing the guitar, playing the piano  /  10.01
Reading Reading a novel, reading poetry  /  4.95
Active arts Painting, photography   /   3.96
Work/education Part-time work, reading in one’s area of studies  /  3.56
Interpersonal relationships, being with friends or family  /  1.98