passion, passionate
Posted: 11 August 2007 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2007-02-07

Passion is a word that I never heard much in conversation until I made a new friend that uses it often to describe his approach to his work (he’s a 3D artist that does CGI renderings for magazines). His art truly is his passion in life.

I decided to investigate the word and I found it very interesting.

c.1175, “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from O.Fr. passion, from L.L. passionem (nom. passio) “suffering, enduring,” from stem of L. pati “to suffer, endure,” from PIE base *pei- “to hurt”

It takes about three or four generations to become suffering in general, and another three or four to become “strong emotion, desire.” When I read that, I immediately flashed on the philosophical idea that “desire is the root of all suffering.” Interesting how this concept is expressed in this etymology. Skip forward another hundred years or so and we have the adjective popping up meaning angry or emotional and it takes another hundred to get to the sexual side of things and another hundred to get to “strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection” which is how my friend uses it.

Passion, from suffering to enthusiasm in five hops, with a dash of philosophy for flavoring. It’s a tasty word. I hope you have passion in your life (and I mean that in its current senses).

Posted: 11 August 2007 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1532
Joined  2007-03-21

It is an interesting movement in etymology.  Passion in most instances of the New Testament Greek is based on “pascho” which could be used in both a good sense as well as a bad sense in the larger Greek literature.  It could just be used in the sense of “to undergo.” in Homer and elsewhere. In Greek, it could even mean to be wealthy: (en paschein). Empathy is related in English as is “passive.”

But in the Greek Testament, the word is mostly placed in the context of undergoing sufferings or to be afflicted in some sense.  By the time of its reaching English, “suffer"* has a mostly negative sense, though it is used in the King James Bible (AV) in the neutral sense of “allow” as in “suffer me first to go and bury my father” (Matt 8:21) and, most famously, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Matthew 19:14).  However, “pascho” is not the verb in those instances, rather aphiemi.

* edit: changed “passion” to “suffer”

[ Edited: 12 August 2007 04:00 AM by Oecolampadius ]
Posted: 12 August 2007 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  1352
Joined  2007-04-28

Isn’t “desire is the root of all suffering” a Buddhist idea which predates the Bible?

Posted: 13 August 2007 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  170
Joined  2007-02-14

It is hard to talk about predating the Bible—as the Old Testament is very old.  However, Buddhism predates the New Testament (Shakyamuni Buddha lived somewhere around the seventh century BC).

I think more accurate than to say that passion is the cause of suffering would be to say that attachment is the cause of suffering.  And attachment is expressed in the “three poisons”—passion, aggression and ignorance.  Ignorance, in this sense, is an emotion—a reflexive avoidance of full appreciation of the vivid rawness of things as they are.