While no item in the 4 Categories of Essential Influence is greater or lesser in comparison to any other, each of the three in any one category does seem to follow a kind of progression. And all may seem to anyone, even at first glance, to be noble and worthy in their own right - except one. With its dubious reputation in everyday life, what place has Passion amongst the rest?
With a little thought, the other Influences can quite easily be recognized either as having both a "lower" and a "higher" form or as being something "high" that has a similar counterpart that is "lower" in comparison. Love, for example, can either mean something shallow, conditional, and temporary, or it can be deep, pure, and lasting. Compassion can be seen as the higher form of two sorts of concern for others. The lower can be condescendingly pitying and maybe only last as long as there is no demand that anything actually be done or that attention be sustained for any length. But these sentiments fall far short and are not what is meant by Compassion in the Basican Guide.
And what of Passion? One can experience passion as a craving, an obsession, a greed for self-satisfaction, a wallowing in self-interest. It can be a fervor that defies all reason, ignores any consequences, and disregards any effects on others. But someone can also be fearless, dedicated, altruistic, self-sacrificing, focused, attentive, disciplined, balanced. Then the person becomes centered rather than extreme, beneficial rather than detrimental, fueled instead of burned. One does not gluttonously consume in this condition; one is energized and pours out. This is the higher Passion that can rightly flow from Love and Compassion. Thus, it is not out of place amongst its fellows or out of order in its position relative to them.
Articles Set 2
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