Mar 27 • 5M


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Debra Esolen
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For about three hundred years, we’ve used our Word of the Week, passion, to describe an overpowering feeling, especially when it comes to love, so that everybody knows what you’re talking about if you describe a passionate kiss, and the soap operas were supposed to be tales of passion and intrigue and surprises, so that somebody might say, “I’ll go to the attic to fetch the old scrapbook,” and never return.

Unlike the heroes and heroines and the villains and the femmes fatales of the soap operas, you’re supposed sometimes to be dispassionate, as for instance if you’re a judge: a part of you should be able to hold the case at a distance, just as if you were an umpire in the seventh game of the World Series, with the game tied in the ninth inning. Maybe later on you might let your passions delight in the game you have concluded, but while it’s going on, you should be as impervious to the events of the game, one way or another, as a glacier is unmoved by a pebble.

In the ancient world, …

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