"Never make a passion your job"

Early or lost?

If I make a passion my job, I am forced to adopt the consensus that is at the heart of the discipline. I study it, deepen it, delimit it, support it with laymen. The profession is the collectivist pole of the discipline. The more I attach myself to it, the more I am valued as a professional.

On the other hand, escaping from consensus, seeking to modify it, inventing a new way of seeing things, is the individualist pole. It can garner praise and fame if it manages to integrate into the existing body of knowledge, to shift consensus. It can also turn me into persona non grata if it fails to convince, either because I was wrong, or because there are not yet the means to settle the controversy, that I am “too far ahead of my time”, a time that is in fact that of the collective and not mine.

Who wants bias?

When I commit my passion to the professional path, I submit it to the collectivist cleaver. I hesitate to think outside the box. My mind is unconsciously brought back to the standard view, because I have studied it a lot, I am convinced, have taught it. My position is safer but also chained through commitment. Paradoxical situation, while as a rule it is the Beotians who are accused of the worst biases.

They are more common with them, of course; but worse? Doesn’t intelligence on a subject imply that if there is an error it is deeper, and therefore much more difficult to uproot?

Excesses balance out

When my passion remains individual it is motivating to look for hidden biases in the collectivist position. This research is emancipated, independent even in the founding principles of the discipline. Of course, the closer I want to find an error to the origin, the more futile this effort is. Isolation awaits the inventor as much as sedimentation threatens the academician. How to guard against each?

Should we accuse an excess of passion, which makes ignore the opinion of others? Or an excess of profession, which blinds to genius? Surely not, since it is the excess of passion that leads to genius, and the excess of profession that avoids loneliness. We are at the heart of the T<>D principle, soliTary versus soliDary, which is the foundation of all reality. It is not the weakening of one or the other of these contradictory poles that makes it possible to specify the point of equilibrium. On the contrary, it is their strengthening, their active participation in the conflict. A conflict is not refused, it takes place, leads to an organization, an additional level of reality that is added to the previous ones.

Einstein surimposed on Newton

For example, Newtonian mechanics was not eliminated by the Einsteinian. It remains valid in the framework used by Newton. Einstein built a different framework, not “broader” (let’s avoid horizontal reduction) but more integrative. Higher level of reality. Abstractions were added to those forming Newton’s consensus. Individuations addressing the collective. Conflict. Confirmed, Einsteinian abstractions have succeeded in creating a new reality. They do not erase the previous ones. They have created a new framework of thought surimposed on the previous one. This framework owns the abstract elements that interact together to create it. There is nothing absolute about it.

If we reappropriate this principle to any profession, the individualistic passion used in conjunction with the collectivist passion makes it possible to unfold the conflict resulting from innovation to build additional levels of reality to any discipline.

Praise of vagrancy

Therefore, our aphorism of the beginning is probably justified by the constraints of the profession. They force the mind to focus on themselves when it wants to wander. Routines set in. We no longer have access to their unconscious roots. Discipline slowly buries itself in the depths of our mind. The passion is fading. It is difficult to remain passionate about a subject because our passion transforms it, sculpts it, and by specifying it in this way its mystery vanishes. Our inventor is looking for other topics.

And that’s where the solution lies: to maintain passion is to carry it elsewhere, to feed it with new puzzles. Let the mind remain sharp and when it returns to the profession, it continues to shake it up.

So here is our revisited aphorism: “Don’t make your passion a job, or if you do, quickly look for new passions.”


1 thought on “"Never make a passion your job"”

  1. Never make passion your job? This seems odd. In my years of working, the phraseology was, as I recall, one of two statements: 1. My job is (or needs to be) my passion!, 2. My job is not my passion—the inference being: a job is a means of earning a living, not a definition of one’s self. That context,earning a living, is key. No one gets a free lunch. Or, anything else. The only people who were passionate about work were those who loved what they did. So, this must now be the paradigm? Glad I am, nominally, retired…


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