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The Stages of Passion

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The Stages of Passion

Post by David on Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:51 pm

I must preface this by acknowledging the sloppiness of life. The stages of developing passion are not punctuated as boldly as presented. Often times they are experienced in a different order, overlap each other, or not present at all. Thus, this information will be more useful to those with intrapersonal intelligence, yet paradoxically less needed. Such communication can be learned with mindfulness and honesty over time. However, that does take time. In the interim, the general reader will find the following stages as helpful signposts in determining their current level of involvement, and clues to help nudge their decisions in a preferable direction.

Passion: (noun) intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction toward a specific subject.

The stages of developing a passion:

Stage I: Courtship

The predominant characteristic of this stage is fun. It is much like dating in that it is done lightheartedly. The person is “trying it out”. Having fun creates dopamine, which is the lovely gem of brain chemistry that induces euphoria. This is the analogous equivalent to the function of sexual hormones in dating which create infatuation. While fun is exactly the sign to look for in courtship, it should remain as such and not be used in making global decisions of commitment. The repeated exposure to fun is what solidifies the interest, not the mental promise of devotion. The brain is already devoted to seeking fun, but there is no guarantee that said activity will continuously solicit that response. Thus, we are courting activities to check for suitability.
In this aquarian age, many people are perpetual courters. They skim through life sampling everything with enthusiasm, and are a joy to be around because they are constantly moving and happy. However, easy come easy go. They are also noted for being lofty, undependable, and frustrating to those hopeful of a serious relationship – except perhaps to another of their own kind. That free spirit has a cost, one of the inability to sustain anything deeper than courtship. All too often their gusto is confused for passion. While a precursor to passion, this appetite is too broad for specifics. Causality follows that the eventuality of courting the world would be love for reality itself; thus, it is enlightenment these professional courters seek – not passion. For those that like to get more up close and personal with their involvements, we move on the second stage.

Stage II: Learning

The predominant characteristic of this stage is specific interest. It is marked by an investment of mind over time, a closer look, and research. After having consciously acknowledged an activity as fun, the natural inclination is to learn more about it. The attention gravitates toward it specifically with interest. It could be said that this phase never ends as long as the fun of stage I remains in effect. However, the onset is most pronounced due to the lack of knowledge relative to the fun it provides.

Some people never escape the gravity of this stage. While they enjoy digging deeper than the average person, they none-the-less spend their existence doing little but thinking about doing instead of doing. Philosophers and information hoarders fall into this category. Their rally cry is knowledge for the sake of knowledge, more’s the pity.

“All knowledge has an ultimate goal. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is, say what you will, nothing but a dismal begging of the question.” Tragic Sense of Life 1913 Miguel de Unamuno

Stage III: Working Knowledge

The predominant characteristic of this stage is application. The idle curiosity of stage II now blossoms into materialistic or tactile play as experimentation brings discovery, for good or bad. Here we see the first evidential give-and-take reminiscent to a relationship, as seeking fun has led us inexorably to challenge. The more, the better! For, the game of overcoming plateaus or hardships is a delightful puzzle. The accumulation of each success not only accrues a certain sense of investment but opens new vistas of opportunity and brings with it peripheral associations of pleasure. Make no mistake; If there are indeed “good ol’ days”, these are those. The cost for every inch of gain at this time is well paid.

Naturally, this stage acts as a crossroads. People either find pleasure in working their way through problems that arise, or they do not. This separates the proverbial baby from her bath water in most cases, but lingering at this altitude we do find the lowermost cusp of hobbyists and tinkerers.

Stage IV: Competency

The predominant characteristic of this stage is the evolution of fun through a myriad skill levels in the pursuit of perfecting one’s art. While fun still remains the drive, competency within the context of fun is the essential meat of the relationship. This phase is shared by hobbyists and amateurs alike. I have little to say here because the reader should know what to do at this point. However, there is an interesting conversion of identity which occurs when one’s confidence in competence outweighs insecurities. A person with the passion of X becomes an Xer or Xist. For example, the person will make introductions as a painter, musician, skater, artist, etc. This carries over into professional fields where education has conferred competence: doctor, server, driver (commercial driver’s license) etc. Here we find excellent hobbyists, amateurs, and professionals.

Stage V: Instinct

The predominant characteristic of this stage is the unyielding determination to continue practicing said passion followed with psychosomatic withdrawal symptoms if neglected. The key word here is addiction. For example, athletes feel like crap unless they have completed their daily workout. Others may have a general feeling like stress while some people experience very specific sensations such as getting sick to their stomach or a pull toward the passion. This occurs when the passion becomes internalized as a life obsession.

Stage VI: Mastery

The predominant characteristic of this stage is priority. For clarity, mastery is being used here to describe a person’s relationship to a specific passion, not a global attribution of their character. Up to this point the general trend has been moving into the passion itself. Now, for the first time, do we see boundaries set and concessions made. To remain enthralled in any permanent relationship one cannot lose their self to it. Thus, the individual occupies the center around which passions orbit as captives of gravitational pull. Should any passion take priority to self, then self will wither until the cost of said passion exceeds the means to hold it. At that point, the individual is literally gobbled up and spat out.


The default value of uncultivated passion is null. Conversely, the average person considers some subjects as passions than are, by definition, passions. The tendency is to present interests as passions. However, this eagerness to express love prematurely has its costs. Primarily, fun becomes smashed by seriousness or obligation. To avoid this fate, simply do not move faster than the speed of fun.

Passions are an investment. Investments require resources. If an individual does not have the adequate resources to court any particular passion, then those must be obtained. Should the person decide they cannot or will not obtain these resources, then the passion is doomed to grow cold and die from neglect when frustration eventually poisons the fun. To avoid this fate, consider your indulgences carefully to ensure you can really afford them. Fun, after all, sets the pace for love.
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