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Published by Michael Moyta

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Published by: Michael Moyta on Jul 01, 2012
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Michael MoytaNietzsche PaperExistential Thinkers
Passions Are To Be Embraced
What is it about passions that cause them to, as Nietzsche points out, stupid? It is the totaloverriding of the rational that it brings. Passion overrides the conscious, rational brain. It issomething from our primal selves, a primal drive. In times before recorded history, and evenduring current history, passions serve to help the species survive.It is a common thing. A person has a passion, and at first it is a great thing. It can drive one togreat acts. It can allow one to let go of all those things that would hold him back. It can be as afire, burning all that impedes their progress. But by that same token, it can burn things that wouldhelp.The later is much more common, however. Most people are not able to channel their passions.
This can occur for many reasons, from lack of attention, from a lack of attendance to one’s
actions, or from simple lack of strength.
For these reasons, war was declared on passion. In the words of the Bible, “If thy eye offend
thee, pluck 
it out.” This is used in particular as a reference to sexuality, which was and still is
viewed as one of the most rampant of the passionate sins by the Catholic Church, with muchsupport from the bible.Nietzsche makes a particular note of this, and I think it is valid enough to warrant my secondingof the point. I understand the view that the Church takes, that since most people are not strongenough to withstand their passions that they should be declared war on, total war against whatcan be seen as the root of all sin.
Michael MoytaNietzsche PaperExistential ThinkersTo this end, they have turned passion into a demon. The Church says that passions are the devilin us. In addition, since the devil is to be fought with everything we have, therefore passions areto be destroyed.In many ways, I agree with Nietzsche when he says that this is a reaction of the weak, to attack the strong. In the Roman society, passions were embraced. They were a noted military society,and passion is needed to drive any war machine. Soldiers need motivation, as Sun Tzu could anddoes say repeatedly. However, even in his case, he cautions against rampant passion, favoringthe passionate reasoning that leads to a victory without bloodshed.
 Nietzsche called the need to make a cleft between one and one’s passions as an act of a
degenerate. He talks about how this is due to weakness, or the inability to respond. It is here thatI find a problem with Nietzsche. I can understand his point. Passions are natural; they are anintegral part of being human. Therefore, why should one destroy them? One should use them, asthey are intended; to fight is an act against nature, and therefore degenerate.However, I think that some people cannot do that, in our society. We expect certain ways of action; we have manners. For some people to make an accord with their passions would requireactions that may not be acceptable. An example of this would be hatred, or simple animosity; asNietzsche puts it, hostility. To follow through with this passion would lead us to murder, to saythe least. This is
not acceptable. Some can channel that into a physical sport. However, in today’s
society, this may not be a viable option. We may not be able to perform a physical sport, due totime constraints or physical problems.
Michael MoytaNietzsche PaperExistential Thinkers
So, one restrains one’s passions. One
tries to keep them in. This is not a viable option either.Passions will expand, whether you want them to or not. If one keeps them from getting out, thenthey dig in, becoming self-destructive. This can be the cause of the stupidity that Nietzschementions, though I believe he is referring to being in the throes of passion. I am referring to theserestrained passions making themselves manifest in mental illness, much like Freud does.Nietzsche also noted that all of the
“moral monsters” agree on this point, that “One must kill the passions.” The Bible is just the most forward and popular of these. “
He only employs his passionwho can make no use of his reason
,” spoke
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman lawyer. This mayseem to contradict my previous point, that the Romans favored passions, but history shows thatthe Romans, like their Greek ancestry supports, do harbor philosophers and contradictorythinkers, and to hold them in high esteem.Nevertheless, Nietzsche offers a second path for dealing with passions. He suggests that thespiritualization of passions, the beautification, the deification of them. He even goes so far as tosuggest that passion is a logical second step in the progression of passion. At first, passion makesus dumb with its intensity. However, much later, one can learn to ride it, in a fashion. Theanalogy of a wave comes to mind; one does not steer a wave, nor ever create it. One merely ridesit, and if one does not respect it, one is bashed beneath it.Passions can be very useful tools, however, if one uses them right. As I mentioned earlier, theycan be like a fire, fueling progress and destroying opposition. But Nietzsche rightly points out,that they can also be destructive. I believe that riding passions are the best, but that if this cannotbe done safely, then to destroy them is the only option. This is not an act of weakness, but of supreme regard for fellow man, and the society one lives in.

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