This I Believe

Clara - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on February 13, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

It is something that consumes us, fills us, and leaves us devastatingly empty, only to consume us again. It is what motivates us to do everything that we do—from that first kiss, to murder, to creating the most beautiful painting to grace the face of the earth. The mere mention of it has the power to stir millions; it has started revolutions, and ended them. It is the birth of nations. We have imagined for it a word that has boggled the greatest minds to ever walk the face of this earth, and it is the most enigmatic word in my vocabulary: passion.

Sometimes, passion can mean the deepest hatred. It is what inspires us to inflict pain, to cause damage. It is anger. It is suffering. In unbridled passion, we can break the hearts of those closest to us without even realizing what we are doing. It is also sadness of the deepest kind, the same bone-deep sorrow that caused one of the greatest writers of all time, Edgar Allen Poe, to compose his most heartfelt poems of despair; the same poems that have stirred millions, inspiring them to write. It is the involvement in topics most of us would rather avoid, and provokes in us disturbing thoughts and concepts.

However, as much as it is destruction in its most terrible form, passion is also rebirth. It is the deepest love and empathy that comes from within our very hearts. Passion inspires marriage, the joining of two souls into one combined for all eternity. It is what has motivated every artist and every musician to compose works that that challenge and amuse us, that lift up smiles and help us sleep at night. As the German poet and dramatist Hebbel once said, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” It was passion that motivated Martin Luther King Jr. to fight back against an unfair prejudice, and change the world in the process. It is the passion for freedom that stirs our country to life, even after death. Every happy thought in every mind, every ray of sun after rain, every glimpse of hope is passion. Every single person on the face of the planet looks for it, and even though they might not realize it at first, every one of them will find it.

Sometimes, you lose passion. You are not angry, you are not sad, you are not hateful, and you aren’t filled with love. You are nothing. This is the most terrible state a human being can be in. As far as well-being and connection of the soul are concerned, apathy is the most dangerous emotion there is. While hate leads to destruction, complete destruction also ultimately leads to rebirth. Apathy, however, leads to nothing because it is nothing. While you no longer experience the downers of life, you detach yourself from everything good in the world, and experience nothing great either. If you feel nothing, you are inspired to do nothing; therefore, you are nothing. While it is important to note that every second of every life cannot be lived passionately, it is equally important that every life have at least some emotion in it. To live as if you were nothing, merely waiting to die, and taking up space in the process—that is a fate more terrible than death. For what is death to a life well lived when compared to one not lived at all? An apathetic person is dead already. Passion is the key to life.

Passion is essential to a person’s well-being, as well as to the general condition of our world. It’s not just love, but it is also every emotion that consumes and dominates our consciousness. It is the fire that lights our hearts into action, whether in a blazing bonfire or a gentle, glowing flame. What is love without hatred? What is hatred without love? Without passion (all sides of it) we are nothing. To fully experience passion, to dive into the fire of love and hate knowing full well you might get burned—that is to live. Passion is life. This, I believe.