Passion — Or Fixation?

Q: What would your reaction to following statement be? “You take politics too seriously. You get too upset over things you can’t control, things happening in other parts of the world.  Don’t worry about that stuff, go out and live, have fun.”

A: To say you take politics too seriously is to say you take ideas too seriously. To some, ideas are a dirty word. But ideas actually do include things that all of us depend upon daily: Basic freedom; individual rights; the ability to not be forced to live in a camp if we don’t subscribe to a particular religion or follow some other arbitrary dictates; to save, produce and consume in a context of economic stability; in short: the continuation of life as we know it. The list goes on and on. I would want someone who makes this statement to identify why NO ideas matter. And, if they do matter, then how much is “too much?” I don’t see how it’s impossible to reconcile passion for ideas with things like recreation, employment and personal relationships. These things can go together. Part of what makes you who you are in a relationship is your passion for ideas, or whatever else you’re passionate about. Your relationships and friendships won’t matter much if you don’t care about anything. At the same time, if you become fixated on anything — even something good, such as ideas — that you sacrifice everything else there is to do in life, this would be a contradiction as well. Is that what someone says you’re doing? If you are guilty as charged, then you’d be right to listen. After all, ideas — political ideas, such as freedom and individual rights — only matter because human beings deserve to have the option, at least, to live fulfilling and rewarding, happy lives. If you don’t care about living life to the fullest, then it really doesn’t matter whether you live in a dictatorship or in a gloriously free country where options and opportunities are always in abundance. If you’re fixated on anything, you can’t enjoy all life has to potentially offer. But it’s presumptuous of someone else to assume that you are fixated when maybe you’re simply passionate.