What are you passionate about?

Yesterday I was asked “what are you passionate about?”  Refreshing.  And told to answer in 100 words or less.  Interesting challenge.

This question in the TEDGlobal application catechism caught my attention.  At first I scoffed.  How can I capture my zest in 100 words..I need a thousand, ten thousand.. and then I began to write. 

Scoff turns to intrigue as I realize this is a conversation with a quiet comrade, not a monologue.  Who am I, what fuels me is the question.  Introduce, don’t preach.  Outline my horizon.

I think high and wide and a hurricane of vocabulary in strange grammatical structure erupts from my brain.   Thoughts of thousands of words melt into hundreds, then dozens.  This challenge poises an opportunity for precise creative thinking.  As I progress in my answer I am captured by the notion that my initial reaction has morphed into a beautiful realization. 

I used the 100 words to create a chromosome of passion.  This is an outline of me, not the complete expression.  In this attempt to densely pack  myself into 100 words I found, surprisingly, that my passion required just four.  And I am delighted to share them with you.

Question:  What are you passionate about?

“Curiosity.  Endless exploration and perpetual discovery. History, etymology, literature (Seneca, Voltaire, Nietzsche+), scientific theory, travel, the human mind…My greatest curiosity is consciousness and how “I” exists.  I am obsessed with systems and complexity. Interdisciplinarity fuels my revelry in reality’s infinite variety.  Bilateral symmetry, philharmonic sound, fractals, posture, creativity, the wild..adamantly I focus and refocus my perception of the world and myself.  A dynamic innovative mind am I who lives for both the unexpected surprise and long developed accomplishment. In 100 words I need but four to tell you:  My passion is life.”

We should all be asked this more frequently.  Have a go, what are you passionate about?


10 thoughts on “What are you passionate about?

  1. Some of my thoughts and passions. (Contemplation 1)
    What about dreams, why do we dream? Are all our thoughts our own or merely borrowed, recycled? Why do autistic savants have such extraordinary skills with damaged brains. Some have speculated our brain filters input, rejecting what is not needed and savants can’t do this. If so, how much do we miss? How about sound, can we destroy cancer cells with a frequency they are vulverable to?

    • Thank you for sharing, passion is fascinating. I have thought the same about thoughts, knowledge – what I “know” is qunitessentially a compendium of human knowledge from generations past – how curious to consider frame of mind differentiations through decades, centuries, millenia..is it even possible to erase from the mind notions that frame our thought process subciosciously – what would I think of a thunderstorm without science.. how terrifying.

      I wonder as well how we decide what to think, remember, prune away..autism is an interesting cross comparison. Glad you shared your thoughts :)

  2. It’s intriguing that in my first encounter with your written words you would allude to the concept of “I”, as ‘I’ myself have spent many moments on this earth in consideration of that very subject.

    Years ago I read Nietzche’s take on it, that he considers the whole concept of “I” and the Ego as being derived strictly from a misuse of language, also…some sort of error in a human being’s understanding of the separation of cause and effect, subject and verb. Not sure if I remember it all correctly or not, but I always feel mentally rejuvinated when I reflect upon it–which was of course Nietzche’s goal, to re-evaluate everything in order to see and understand the world around us in a fresh way.

    Regardless, excellent prose. You’re a talented writer, and it was a pleasure to get to know you.

    • Fantastic! I love Nietzsche’s concept of creators carrying a hammer that they can break apart foundations in order to build new ones.

      “I”.. isn’t it curious ..how is it that “I” exists. I am fascinated by understanding what I am. I could ask questions all night long (and if only there were someone to answer them..) Reading Nietzsche is wild. It’s like he’s inside my head. I love it.

      Glad you liked the post, Andy. Cheers to laughing in the rain, I will always remember it! And thanks for lending your shoulder when I finally fell asleep after that crazy awesome day.

  3. Good Post . . . Nice answer. I suspect that is about as concise as one can be while still remaining True and without becoming trivial.

    If you are a sucker for “I” books . . . I’ve run across a couple of contemporary works which blew my doors off and dropped the (false) bottom out of my understandings and sent my thoughts careening in new directions. (Don’t feel any obligation . . . just putting them on your radar . . . check them out and if they look interesting, add them to your queue.):

    I just finished re-reading Douglas Hoffstadler’s “I am a Strange Loop” with our local reader’s group. He is the same guy who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Godel, Escher, Bach” (GEB) in ’79. I had tried reading GEB, but while it is unabashedly brilliant, I found it a little dense for my tastes. The “Strange Loop” was considerably more digestible as it was written after teaching those same “loopy” concepts to undergrads for 30 some odd years. It is pretty quirky, but that ends up being a big part of the point. If you take it to heart, you’ll never think about consciousness the same again.

    I also was very impressed with Jeff Hawkins and his book, “On Intelligence.” He is in an unique position to ask the big questions and posit the big theories on how the mind works. Fascinating stuff . . . but if memories serves, it was deliberately dry in the middle. (Actually . . . here is his TED talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6CVj5IQkzk )

    As an aside, it is a rare pleasure these days to run across a Stoic.

    Best wishes,

    P.S. Would I be correct in assuming that was your word cloud serving as the background wallpaper for TEDx? Whether it was or wasn’t . . . It made me smile.

    • Aha! I knew your name sounded familiar when Phillip mentioned you yesterday! I meant to reply to this but must have forgotten in the overwhelming post-TEDxHuntsville response and wrap up duties.

      So glad you perused the brain bouncings of my blog! I love “I” books – the entire theory of consciousness, really. I am quite curious as to how it is that I exist.

      I actually own Strange Loop, though I must admit I have yet to read it. I’ve heard wonderful things, and it was recommended to me in a context similar to your own.

      Thank you for recommending Jeff Hawkins’s TEDtalk – fantastic! I love algorithms..an inexplicable passion of mine.. at any rate, great talk. And I found a “theme” on TED.com that I didn’t know existed – “How the mind works” Yes!

      While we’re on the subject of thought, Matt Ridley’s talk on ideas having sex is particularly powerful –> http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

      Lastly, yes, that was my world on the screen during TEDx. It’s my computer & twitter background. Funny, we received several compliments on that accident.

      This conversation continues over drinks soon, I hope!


      • My “world” on the screen – I meant to type wordle..Freudian slip? It’s one I created while thinking of things that give me zest in life. Several years ago, before I knew TED…

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