1. ardent love or affection
2. intense sexual love
3. a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept, etc: a passion for poetry
4. any strongly felt emotion, such as love, hate, envy, etc
5. a state or outburst of extreme anger: he flew into a passion
6. the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm
7. an outburst expressing intense emotion: he burst into a passion of sobs
a. any state of the mind in which it is affected by something external, such as perception, desire, etc, as contrasted with action
b. feelings, desires or emotions, as contrasted with reason
9. the sufferings and death of a Christian martyr
The word passion evokes images of romance novel covers and scenes from Body Heat. Passion isn’t just the bodice ripping unhinged sex that instantly springs to mind. In Romeo and Juliet we have the obvious passion between the title characters, but what about the passion that exists between the houses of Capulet and Montague? They hate each other enough to justify violent murder in the streets. Is that not “a state or outburst of extreme anger”? Is that not passion?
We’ve all heard of crimes of passion. When I was a young girl I used to wonder how someone could commit murder while passionately kissing someone. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood passionate anger. Passion comes from the Ancient Greek word paskho meaning, to suffer. Passion, in all its forms, is torturous. To me, passion is an uncontrollable emotion. It is something that takes over your body and mind where your rational brain is pushed aside making room for the animal. Passion is the most primal of all emotions. Whether it be for love or anger, passion reaches into our extreme past pulling the Neanderthal from the recesses of our psyche.
Should we be afraid of passion? Yes. Passion does not heed social restrictions or protocol. Passion doesn’t care if you’re in the bedroom or in the dentist’s office. Passion does not come in small quantities. With passion, you’re either sober or overdosing. There is no middle ground. So yes, in most cases we should fear passion. But like most extremes, we all want to taste it. Would life be worth living without passion? No. Passion gives us reason for living. Passion is what life is all about. Whether good or bad, passion is a base emotion. Without it we would never experience that feeling of wanting to rip someone’s clothes off in the middle of a grocery store or that feeling, five years later, of wanting to rip that same person’s throat out for keeping you up all night with their snoring. AGAIN!!