About Me

My photo
I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Passionate Nature.

I have often wondered where my passions come from. Supposedly our behaviour is a mixture of nature and nurture – a mix of our genes and our upbringing, but I wonder. For example, I am truly passionate about redheads. Trivial I know, but it’s a good place to start. The question is, why? I have known very few redheads in my life and have, rather unfortunately, slept with none of them. There are no redheads in my family and haven’t been for at least three generations so it’s not as if I formed an attachment to a family member which later translated into passion (thank you Freud for that idea). So where does it come from? I’m intrigued. The only possible thing I can think of, and it’s a bit of a stretch I know, is that my family are from Ireland (not too long ago) where I assume redheads are more common. Can my genes from generations ago really by driving my passion for red hair?

My passion (or addiction) for books is fairly easy to explain. My farther was always a big believer in books and our house was overflowing with them long before I left. It’s the same with movies. This I think was my fathers defining passion. He loved the cinema and has clearly passed on this love to me. Movies and books are constantly competing for my time and attention and it’s unusual not to see me with my nose in a book or lining up at the cinema.

It’s more difficult to explain other things though. Why do I love a certain small percentage of the music I hear around me and not a different small percentage? I remember hearing Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor many years ago (featured in the great movie Rollerball) but it was probably ten years later that I actually found out what it was called & immediately bought the CD. I am actually rather passionate about this piece and in the right frame of mind it can reduce me to tears it’s just so…. I don’t actually have the words to describe it. Why is it that I love particular works of art? I’ve read that great art has something to do with mathematics – the same with music – but whilst interesting it doesn’t really go far in answering the question of why I LOVE certain things and not others. If it was that easy then everyone would agree on great works of art though clearly they do not.

So it goes on. Can we explain what drives us? Is it psychological, genetic, cultural, do we derive our passions from our peers, our family, our personal experiences? Are they simply a combination of all of the above? I suppose in another way I’m asking the question: What makes us… us?

Where do you think your passions come from?


Juggling Mother said...

Much as i like the idea that we are defined by our upbringing, my experience has repatedly shown that it is nature, rather than nurture that is the fundemental feature of our personalities.

Obviously nurture will refine, mould and channel our natures, but you can not change our "souls".

what makes those "souls"? Well, thats the big question isn't it *grin*. I would say it comes down to genetics - not only what genes we have, but which ones are switched on/off and probably a whole load of other stuff we haven't discovered yet. despite our tinkering, we really don't have much idea of what the human genome is all about!

Of course, other people would say our "souls" are given by God - although why he would make some people evil bastards is beyond me!.

having said that, i also think we vastly underestimate the amount of influence our society and culture has on us. maybe your passion for redheads came from a film watched in infancy? Or maybe it's just your contraryness showing, as they are so rare:-)

CyberKitten said...

Mrs A said: Maybe your passion for redheads came from a film watched in infancy? Or maybe it's just your contraryness showing, as they are so rare:-)

Maybe - funnily I like ginger cats too... but females ones (for preference). That's a problem however as 85% of ginger cats are infact male... Maybe I am just contrary... at least in some things...

dbackdad said...

My passions are similar --- books, movies, certain music.

I don't believe that the passion for books came from my family as none of them are particularly voracious readers. I grew up on farms mostly and was painfully shy. We didn't watch much TV and didn't have video games. Books allowed me to escape from a rather generic life. I was lucky enough that the first books that caught my eye at a garage sale were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi books. I was hooked.

My family did love movies and we'd rent a few every week. My mother had a passion for horror flicks, my dad westerns. But it didn't matter so much what they were about but that they were an escape and at certain times, they were inspiring. I love that passion ... that desire to go out and change your life or yourself when you see a truly great film. They're much more visceral and immediate than books. I love books just as much, but it's just different.

So, I don't know if I really answered the question. My brother grew up under similar conditions and does not share my love of either books or movies. I would say most likely our passions are a combination of nature and environment.

CyberKitten said...

Books are just great things to escape into - they really are doors into other realms, especially SF and Fantasy. I started off with E E 'Doc' Smith and never really looked back. Though I do read other stuff and non-fiction too.. my first love with always be SF. Though I admit that my tastes have matured a bit since my 'Doc' Smith days!

dbackdad said...

Yeah, I don't really read much sci-fi any more. Mostly because I don't know the new authors very well. Probably the only author of the last 15 years that I've read is William Gibson.

I really think my early exposure to sci-fi affected by world view and my politics. It always seemed silly to me that countries bicker so much and have such petty concerns when compared to the bigger universe. Call me silly but I believe there should be a whole planet government like in sci-fi. That's why I still believe in the U.N. (warts and all).

CyberKitten said...

Happy to recommend 'new' SF if you'd like me to. I've been reading it for... oh, just over 30 years now and still love it. I do still read some of the classic authors (Poul Anderson ATM) but I like experimenting with the new stuff too.

I think that SF affected me big time too. Certainly what I call 'local politics' (that confined to a single country - never mind a single world) seemed small besides what was going on in the wider Galaxy [grin].

I'm a believer in the UN too. I mean - just look at the alternative... Pax Americana? No thanks!

dbackdad said...

Definitely recommend me some of the newer authors. Much appreciated.