So, as I’ve mentioned before, I help in a Philosophy class at one of my highschools. The class is taught in English and the teacher is an angel, there’s no other way to put it. She has a really soft voice, she is very feminine and she owns a chocolate shop. She’s the kind of person who could make you feel bad for being angry about something. I remember one time I was angry about something and I told her the story, her face turned upside down and her soft eyes pierced into my passionate, furious eyes. She told me she was personally sorry for whatever it was the other people had done to me that had made me upset. I felt like a jerk. I told her she didn’t need to be sorry, it was probably something I had misunderstood or maybe I was having a bad day, or it was a cultural difference. I mean she’s seriously just the sweetest thing that exists. When the students are lifeless and don’t participate in class she doesn’t scold them or criticize them, she insists that they are different from her other groups (normal teenagers) and maybe they don’t talk so much because they are thinking. Really, we need more people like her.
Anyways, in class today she had listed on the board 3 categories: feeling, emotion and passion. Each of these had a philosophical definition, something along the lines of; feeling: incontrollable sentiment; emotion: a feeling accompanied with a physical sensation; and passion: something we cannot control, rather controls us. She had me write a list of words on the board and the students had to place them in their respective categories, according to the said definitions and their opinions. The list was something like:
After the words were categorized, we had a discussion about passion. My perceived definition of passion comes from things I am passionate about. I guess that means things/people I really like and would prefer to not live without. She asked the students to go around the room and say one thing they were passionate about. The student (and anal list-maker) in me got really excited, I was coming up with a list of things I was passionate about, but darnit, I could only choose one to share with the class, okay that’s okay, there’s the people I love, poetry, reading, writing, music, oh and then the types of music, Andrea Bocelli, Vivaldi, anyways, chocolate, cooking, making things for people, gardening, wine, traveling…..
She looked at the first student, “We’ll start with you, please.” He stared blankly at her and shrugged his shoulders. The room was silent for a bit. Then the angelic voice of the teacher came in, “Something you are passionate about, something you like to do on a weekend or a holiday.” Again he sat silently and insisted he didn’t know or didn’t have anything. I turned around and said “SKATEBOARDING!” I had seen this kid on many occasions in a plaza near the old town skateboarding with friends, he usually has headphones on and when I wave to him, he doesn’t even see me because he has one thing on his mind: skateboarding. You can see from his eyes the passion that consumes him as he rides and jumps and grinds and whatever else they call the cool stuff they do that I’ve always been envious of but too afraid to do. He shrugged and said “I guess.”
The next student had an answer right away, he said sweets. Right on! My kind of guy. He insisted that he had a passion for sweets and always had candy in his pockets. Turns out he did, the teacher asked him to empty his pockets and he had a bag of some sort of pink, sugary, rope-like concoction. Cool.
The next guy said sports.
The next student said nothing.
The following said nothing.
After that, music, and then nothing, again.
Out of a group of 7 students, only 4 had passions and 1 had to be told what it was?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
I was appalled. I have noticed this before in another one of my classes of the same age group, they would be considered juniors in the American High School system and so they are 16-17 years in age. I mean maybe that was way long ago for me, but I remember being passionate about a ton of things, and I still am!
I was so surprised. I mean have things always been this way or is this a product of the society we now live in? I don’t really care what the answer is, what I’m saying is I’m a passionate person and I’m proud, and I’m not going to change that!
The teacher, in her angelic form, said to the students who had no passions, “So what do you like to do on the weekend?”
“Surf the internet or go out with friends,” answered one.
“Oh very good” said the teacher with a big smile on her face, her head tilted softly to the right. “If you had to choose between the two, which would you want to do more?”
“They’re the same”
The teacher smiled, a kind, patient smile and said, “I am a very passionate person and I’m envious of you, you seem to have your lives very well balanced and you don’t have a conflict of interest. For me, if I’m at home doing something, and a friend calls me to go out, I always want to go out!”
She was basically in a nice way telling them that they were lifeless creatures living for nothing, who seemingly had no opinions and didn’t really care how life happened to them.
Sorry, I’m being mean.
I couldn’t take it anymore “I think it’s good to be passionate. What else do we live for if not to be passionate about the things we like?”
“Yes, but passionate people suffer more than non-passionate people” responded the teacher with a devastated look on her face.
“But they also enjoy life more”
“Suffering is very hard and not a pleasant thing.”
“Suffering is just a part of life that we have to learn to deal with, nobody likes suffering but it’s something we must accept.”
The teacher’s face lit up, okay class, who agrees with Sally and who agrees with me.
Of the 7, one agreed with me, one didn’t know, one agreed with her, and the other 4 were in the middle.
Very lively and decisive group as you can see.
My belief was re-affirmed. I love life. I love to live and I love to be passionate about the things I like, for example my life, the sun, swimming, reading, talking to people, drinking wine and eating olives, chocolate, baking, making cards for people, listening to music I like, hiking, physically exerting myself, I sound like a classifieds ad so I’ll stop, but you get the picture. Please, please, you don’t have to be a show-off like me and be super passionate about 10 thousand things but at least find 1 or 2 things you think are worth doing on your day off, that put a fat smile on your face, that you look forward to, that keep your mind ticking, and pursue them!