Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.

Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee. – Epictetus

Do you have a passion for photographing the flower of the Purple Passion plant? These bees seem to like it too!

Do you have a passion for photographing the flower of the Purple Passion plant?

What does that mean?
This quote is about passions and how too much of a good thing can be a real problem for some people. The quote urges us to control our passions. That is, to reign them in, and to not let them rule our lives.

The problem with letting our passions control us, instead of the other way around, is what the second half of the quote is all about. Those passions will cost you dearly. They will lay you low. They will take their vengeance on you.

In extreme cases, some people can even become addicted to a passion, if they let the passion and euphoria get the best of them. It can become an overriding, all consuming desire or need. And it can wreck their lives.

This can lead to all kinds of problems, and that’s what this quote is about. If you don’t control your passions, they will control you. And that is where the bad things begin to happen. I’d try to avoid it, were I you.

Why is passion important?  
That said, passion, well bounded and under control, is a very good thing. Like pretty much everything else in life, there is such a thing as too much, just as there is too little. Once again, we’re looking for the third way, the golden mean, or the Goldilocks zone.

Too little passion, and life becomes dull, dreary, and hardly worth living. It becomes a dystopia, like so many movies and books depict. Life as shades of gray, of mere existence. I imagine you’ve met people like that, who are merely existing. That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

The opposite end is what the quote is warning us against. Whether it’s Robert Downy Jr, Charlie Sheen, or some other Hollywood Celeb, you’ve probably heard or seen the quote in action, right? And it’s not pretty, is it? It hurts them, their friends, their family, and their fans. Not good.

So we’re looking at trying to have enough passion to make life interesting, without having our life go bad on us. It is possible, and most of us do a fairly good job of it. Usually it’s a hobby, but a lucky few get to do it at work as well. Passion, well regulated, is a very good thing.

Where can I apply this in my life?
We all have things we love to do. Whether it’s taking pictures, building things, or taking them apart, we find ways to enjoy ourselves. This is a fairly modest form of passion. It can range from so modest as to be almost undetectable to something you do every weekend, without fail.

When you get to the thrill-seekers who go skydiving nearly every weekend, go circuit racing, or some other adrenalin-soaked activity, you’re getting close to the line, but probably well within the safety limits. The only question is how tolerant are you of the risks?

Most of us, again, fall somewhere between. I’ve got a new microcomputer and two more on the way, because that’s one of the things I like to play with (and Daft Punk’s Technologic just started up – how fitting!). I also like to work on cars and work with wood.

Somewhere below that is photography and video games, and below that is watching educational TV, running, and swimming. Near the bottom of the ‘not really passionate, but not yet a chore’ is yard-work and other mindless physical labor, as it frees my mind to do other things.

What do you enjoy doing? What did you enjoy doing as a child, or at some other earlier part of your life? Is there still a little passion in your heart for any of these activities? Are there any present activities you’d like to do a little more of, if only you could find the time?

Time will always be found for the things about which you are passionate. The only question is what do you like the least, that you can cut back on it, freeing up more time for your passion? When you can answer that, you can start putting a little more time into your passion.

We all have things about which we are passionate. We all have different ways to pursue our passions. The trick is to balance our passion within our own lives. Too much or too little, that’s not good. Finding the balance is our eternal struggle.

From: Twitter, @PhiloQuotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/epictetus402781.html
Photo by DM

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5 Responses to Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.

  1. Teepee12 19 September 2013 at 2:51 am #

    My personal one remains “be care what you wish for. You might just get it.” I have no idea who said it, but I’m sure a lot of people, in some version or other.

    • philosiblog 24 September 2013 at 2:11 am #

      There are many ways to express a basic truth. That is a good one as well.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Joseph E Rathjen 18 September 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Reblogged this on The Political and Social Chaos Blog.

  3. Joseph E Rathjen 18 September 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Nicely done. An additional point, however, can be that our passions can lead us down to the road of insanity – where reality becomes fantasy, and where time stands still. If it is properly controlled, though, it can act as an effective tool as a temporary alleviation of the dangers of insanity itself.

    Good post.

    • philosiblog 19 September 2013 at 2:22 am #

      Absolutely! There are those consumed by their passions, or who (in search of greater thrills) twist their passion into something very sinister. Properly done (at least in my experience) our passions help smooth us out. They are a pleasure and a refuge from the rest of what we do.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, and for the re-blog. I look forward to hearing from you again.

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