Quotes about passion

A collection of quotes on the topic of passion.

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W. H. Auden photo

„A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.“

—  W. H. Auden Anglo-American poet 1907 - 1973

Squares and Oblongs, in Poets at Work (1948), p. 170

Nicki Minaj photo

„There is a difference between a passion and a fucking meltdown.“

—  Nicki Minaj Trinidadian-born American singer, rapper and actress 1982

Source: Queen Radio Episode 8, September 10th, 2018

Maurice Merleau-Ponty photo

„It is a great good fortune, as Stendhal said, for one “to have his passion as a profession.”“

—  Maurice Merleau-Ponty French phenomenological philosopher 1908 - 1961

Source: In Praise of Philosophy (1963), p. 4

Samuel Johnson photo

„Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.“

—  Samuel Johnson English writer 1709 - 1784

Source: Works of Samuel Johnson

Gregory of Nyssa photo
William Shakespeare photo
Sydney Smith photo

„God calls all the passions out in their keenness and vigour, for the present safety of mankind.“

—  Sydney Smith English writer and clergyman 1771 - 1845

Lecture XXVIL: On Habit - Part II, in “Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy”, delivered at The Royal Institution in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806 by the late Rev. Sydney Smith, M.A. (Spottiswoodes and Shaw (London: 1849)) http://www.archive.org/stream/elementarysketc03smitgoog#page/n438/mode/2up, p. 423-424
Another Variant: The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigour of their passions; by their deep sense of injury; by their memory of past glory; by their eagerness for fresh fame; by their clear and steady resolution of ceasing to live, or of achieving a particular object, which, when it is once formed, strikes off a load of manacles and chains, and gives free space to all heavenly and heroic feelings. All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs when qualities, fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless, when men must trust to emotion for that safety which reason at such times can never give. These are the feelings which led the ten thousand over the Carduchian mountains; these are the feelings by which a handful of Greeks broke in pieces the power of Persia; and in the fens of the Dutch, and on the mountains of the Swiss, defended the happiness and revenged the oppressions of man! God calls all the passions out in their keenness and vigour for the present safety of mankind, anger and revenge, and the heroic mind, and a readiness to suffer—all the secret strength, all the invisible array of the feelings—all that nature has reserved for the great scenes of the world. When the usual hopes and the common aids of man are all gone, nothing remains under God but those passions which have often proved the best ministers of His purpose and the surest protectors of the world.
Quoted by Theodore Roosevelt in his " Brotherhood and the Heroic Virtues http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/images/research/txtspeeches/668.pdf" Address at the Veterans' Reunion, Burlington, Vermont, September 5, 1901 and published in Theodore Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses" by Dover Publications (April 23, 2009) in its Dover Thrift Editions (ISBN: 978-0486472294), p. 126-127
Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy (1849)
Context: The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigour of their passions; by their deep sense of injury; by their memory of past glory; by their eagerness for fresh fame; by their clear and steady resolution of ceasing to live, or of achieving a particular object, which, when it is once formed, strikes off a load of manacles and chains, and gives free space to all heavenly and heroic feelings. All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs, when qualities fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless; and when men must trust to emotion, for that safety which reason at such times can never give. These are the feelings which led the ten thousand over the Carduchian mountans; these are the feelings by which a handful of Greeks broke in pieces the power of Persia: they have, by turns, humbled Austria, reduced Spain; and in the fens of the Dutch, and on the mountains of the Swiss, defended the happiness, and revenged the oppressions, of man! God calls all the passions out in their keenness and vigour, for the present safety of mankind. Anger, and revenge, and the heroic mind, and a readiness to suffer;— all the secret strength, all the invisible array, of the feelings,— all that nature has reserved for the great scenes of the world. For the usual hopes, and the common aids of man, are all gone! Kings have perished, armies are subdued, nations mouldered away! Nothing remains, under God, but those passions which have often proved the best ministers of His vengeance, and the surest protectors of the world.

Adam Weishaupt photo
Oprah Winfrey photo

„Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.“

—  Oprah Winfrey American businesswoman, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist 1954

William Wilberforce photo

„Christianity is not satisfied with producing merely the specious guise of virtue. She requires the substantial reality, which may stand the scrutinizing eye of that Being “who searches the heart.” Meaning therefore that the Christian should live and breathe; in an atmosphere, as it were, of benevolence, she forbids whatever can tend to obstruct its diffusion or vitiate its purity. It is on this principle that Emulation is forbidden: for, besides that this passion almost insensibly degenerates into envy, and that it derives its origin chiefly from pride and a desire of self-exaltation; how can we easily love our neighbour as ourselves, if we consider him at the same time our rival, and are intent upon surpassing him in the pursuit of whatever is the subject of our competition?
Christianity, again, teaches us not to set our hearts on earthly possessions and earthly honours; and thereby provides for our really loving, or even cordially forgiving, those who have been more successful than ourselves in the attainment of them, or who have even designedly thwarted us in the pursuit. “Let the rich,” says the Apostle, “rejoice in that he is brought low.” How can he who means to attempt, in any degree, to obey this precept, be irreconcilably hostile towards any one who may have been instrumental in his depression?
Christianity also teaches us not to prize human estimation at a very high rate; and thereby provides for the practice of her injunction, to love from the heart those who, justly or unjustly, may have attacked our reputation, and wounded our character. She commands not the shew, but the reality of meekness and gentleness; and by thus taking away the aliment of anger and the fomenters of discord, she provides for the maintenance of peace, and the restoration of good temper among men, when it may have sustained a temporary interruption.
It is another capital excellence of Christianity, that she values moral attainments at a far higher rate than intellectual acquisitions, and proposes to conduct her followers to the heights of virtue rather than of knowledge. On the contrary, most of the false religious systems which have prevailed in the world, have proposed to reward the labour of their votary, by drawing aside the veil which concealed from the vulgar eye their hidden mysteries, and by introducing him to the knowledge of their deeper and more sacred doctrines.“

—  William Wilberforce English politician 1759 - 1833

Source: Real Christianity (1797), p. 257.

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Albert Einstein photo

„I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Ich habe keine besondere Begabung, sondern bin nur leidenschaftlich neugierig.
Letter to Carl Seelig http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Seelig (11 March 1952), Einstein Archives 39-013
1950s

Mikhail Bakunin photo

„I eagerly await tomorrow's mail to have news of Russia and Poland. For now, I have to content myself with a few vague rumors which float around. I have heard about new, bloody skirmishes in Poland between the people and troops; I was told that, even in Russia, there was a conspiracy against the czar and the whole royal family.
I am equally passionate about the struggle between the North and the Southern American states. Of course, my heart goes out to the North. But alas! It is the South who acted with the most force, wisdom, and solidarity, which makes them worthy of the triumph they have received in every encounter so far. It is true that the South has been preparing for war for three years now, while the North has been forced to improvise. The surprising success of the ventures of the American people, for the most part happy; the banality of the material well being, where the heart is absent; and the national vanity, altogether infantile and sustained with very little cost; all seem to have helped deprave these people, and perhaps this stubborn struggle will be beneficial to them in so much as it helps the nation regain its lost soul. This is my first impression; but it could very well be that I will change my mind upon seeing things up close. The only thing is, I will not have enough time to examine really closely.“

—  Mikhail Bakunin Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collectivist anarchism 1814 - 1876

Letter http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bakunin/letters/toherzenandogareff.html to Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen and Ogareff from San Francisco (3 October 1861); published in Correspondance de Michel Bakounine (1896) edited by Michel Dragmanov

Mikhail Bakunin photo

„Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!“

—  Mikhail Bakunin Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collectivist anarchism 1814 - 1876

"The Reaction in Germany" (1842)
Often paraphrased as, "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge"
Context: We exhort the compromisers to open their hearts to truth, to free themselves of their wretched and blind circumspection, of their intellectual arrogance, and of the servile fear which dries up their souls and paralyzes their movements.
Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!

Billie Joe Armstrong photo
Octavia E. Butler photo
Yanni photo

„Passion is the fuel.“

—  Yanni Greek pianist, keyboardist, composer, and music producer 1954

T.D. Jakes photo
Rollo May photo

„Our passion for form expresses our yearning to make the world adequate to our needs and desires, and, more important, to experience ourselves as having significance.“

—  Rollo May US psychiatrist 1909 - 1994

Source: The Courage to Create (1975), Ch. 7 : Passion for Form, p. 131
Context: The human imagination leaps to form the whole, to complete the scene in order to make sense of it. The instantaneous way this is done shows how we are driven to construct the remainder of the scene. To fill the gaps is essential if the scene is to have meaning. That we may do this in misleading ways — at times in neurotic or paranoid ways — does not gainsay the central point. Our passion for form expresses our yearning to make the world adequate to our needs and desires, and, more important, to experience ourselves as having significance.

Martha Graham photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“