RayK

What is your passion?

33 posts in this topic

Many people have listed their interest on this site, but what is your chosen passion? I mean specifically, what is it that you want to accomplish with your life. How do you intend on having your passion enhance your life? I think this line of questions can have two beneficail effects; 1) You can see if other people are in relation to your passion, so that you can choose to directly have contact with them. 2) It can enhance or help a person to become more specific on what it is they want to accomplish.

I think that everyone could do this, even the older people on this forum, who understand exactly why they have chosen their passion. This could show the new students of Objectivism that they should never give up on their passion, no matter how hard.

My passion (I was not as young as Ayn Rand) since I was 14 has been to understand and implement an exercise and diet philosphy. I have kept a log of almost all the exericse and diet programs that I have attempted while using these programs. Although this was pragmatic, I should have first tried to understand the nature of man then the nature of exercise. Now almost 23 years later I still have a passion to search out the truth and use it for my own enhancement. As a business owner in this field, I sell my knowledge and understanding to all that are willing to trade with me. From this I receive two benefits; 1) I get to further understand exercsie and diet, everytime I integrate new knowledge. 2) I get to enhance my wealth by becoming more precise at my knowledge and how I go about transferring that knowledge. It is only wealth that will bring about an enhanced life. My goal long term is to integrate all my knowledge and use it to enhance my life, through writing a book entitled "Progressive Exercise, The Logical Workout". This book will encompass much more than exercise, and it will demonstrate how to achieve the "best within us".

It is the study of exercise that actually lead me to Ayn Rand and her writings. I can say, like many, that I owe a huge debt to Ayn Rand. My passion for understanding exercise, diet and my life has been fully enhanced by Objectivism.

Now, who is next? I await to see the heroes and visions of what passion and purpose can do.

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My passion (I was not as young as Ayn Rand) since I was 14 has been to understand and implement an exercise and diet philosphy.  I have kept a log of almost all the exericse and diet programs that I have attempted while using these programs.  Although this was pragmatic, I should have first tried to understand the nature of man then the nature of exercise.  Now almost 23 years later I still have a passion to search out the truth and use it for my own enhancement.  As a business owner in this field, I sell my knowledge and understanding to all that are willing to trade with me.  From this I receive two benefits;  1) I get to further understand exercsie and diet, everytime I integrate new knowledge.  2)  I get to enhance my wealth by becoming more precise at my knowledge and how I go about transferring that knowledge.  It is only wealth that will bring about an enhanced life.  My goal long term is to integrate all my knowledge and use it to enhance my life, through writing a book entitled "Progressive Exercise, The Logical Workout".  This book will encompass much more than exercise, and it will demonstrate how to achieve the "best within us".   

That's a tough question for me because there are a number of things I am passionate about and they have changed in level of importance over time. Some of the most important for me are: 1)Information Technology (my current career) 2) Medicine and healing (my lifelong hobby) 3) My possible second career in either the medical research or culinary field(?) and (4) my interest in many facets of Objectivism

I could also list as a distant (5) my fascination with my own psychological functioning and that of others, but I am always tempted to lump that in as a facet of Objectivism.

As far as a book on diet and exercise that helps achieve "the best within us". That would be interesting to see. I would certainly enjoy comparing it against my own ideas on the subject.

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tgrundon,

I know that choosing ones passion is diffucult, but for rational happiness and your own progress, life demands it. This does not mean that you can not change your passion later, if you do not throughly enjoy the one already chosen.

Lets say for example you choose being a Doctor, a neurosurgeon to be exact. You will require 8 years of study just to get through med-school. Then your specialty will require that you do another 4 years of studying and gaining of experince. You have now used 12 years of your life becoming extremely proficient at one particular field. This field is what is going to become your productive life, your way to support yourself. This will require that you constantly keep expanding your knowledge in your chosen field. This is assuming that you want to remain at the top of your field. This will require a large amount of your time and life. Almost everything else can be an interest, but will not be your passion/purpose.

By mans nature, we are limited in our resources and time. You must prioritize that which means the most to you from 1 to the last prioity. But for your own happiness you have to choose one. If you do not choose one and try and do many, they can be contradicting in goals and lead you in a spiral of un-happiness.

I Love medicine, no I love psychology. There is a conference on the same weekend for both in two different cities. Which one do I choose? You will not make a choice because you have not choosen a purpose/passion in your life. At least not the NUMBER 1 priority of your life.

I hope this demonstrates why man must choose a passion/purpose and then do everything possible to achieve those goals that relate to that passion/purpose. If not man will never reach the limits of achievement and happiness.

About the book, it is coming. Last year I decided that my writing skills were not up to par and started a program to enhance them. The book "Writing and Thinking" has been a wonderful tool in reaching this goal. I am now writing almost everyday in one form or another. This is allowing me to become more precise in what it is I want to say and how to say it. It will be a book primarily on exercise. Exercise though does not revolve in a vacuum, so it will have philosophy, psychoology, economics (conservation of resources), nutrition and much more. It will be a tool to use to achieve the "best within us".

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This does not mean that you can not change your passion later, if you do not throughly enjoy the one already chosen.

I just want to point out that there is nothing wrong per se with changing careers even if you do "throughly enjoy the one already chosen." There is no law of nature that requires man to have a single career -- a single passion -- throughout the entirety of his life. Especially true as life-expectancy continues to increase. The separate careers might be entirely unrelated, or perhaps a broader career is chosen that incorporates aspects of what has already done. In either case it is the love of the work and the desire to know that should be the motivation, but such love and desire need not necessarily be restricted to a single career across the span of one's life.

In fact, such a choice can be a very selfish act, not motivated by what may be achieved for others. An artist, say, a painter, can spend years developing his knowledge and skill and eventually creates some masterpieces. Perhaps to the artist that level of achievement and beauty of creation represents his purpose, and though he might thoroughly enjoy his continuing creations he chooses to now become a physicist instead. Maybe both careers, artist and physicist, share an underlying factor that touches deeply on his sense of life. Why should he necessarily pursue a single career at the expense of the other. Perhaps each satisifies his passion but from different perspectives, or in different ways. True the world will be deprived of his future artistic creations -- maybe even at a level not achieved by others -- but doing what you want for the right reasons is the most selfish thing you can do.

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Stephen

I think that Leonardo DaVinci is a great example of what you are stating. His passion at first was art. He started to study human anatomy so that he could further his expertise in his drawings/art. Then he became enthralled with science, from biology to physics and so much more. This is also why later in life he almost never finished a commission. He only took on new commissions to get the money to further his studies in science.

I also agree that one passion or subject can lead you into another or in a totally different direction. I will use myself as an example. My study of exercise has lead me along a path of continous education in many different directions, but always about enhancing my life. Over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that a lot of exercise is a total waste of time, (although I still choose exercise as my passion), because we can not change our genetic make-up. The most we can hope to do through exercise is enhance ourselves to our genetic capacity. This in turn has lead me to genetic medicine, which I think will allow me an understanding of how we can extend and enhance human life/my life. I am now, along with all my other goals, looking to go for a PhD so that I can further this passion and my understanding of it.

I am not trying to say that one should not change their passion. I am trying to say that it can be contradicting to try and hold more than one at a time as your top priority. It is totally selfish to choose and or change your top priority as you see fit. So do it.

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Many people have listed their interest on this site, but what is your chosen passion?  I mean specifically, what is it that you want to accomplish with your life.  How do you intend on having your passion enhance your life?  [...]

My passion (I was not as young as Ayn Rand) since I was 14 has been to understand and implement an exercise and diet philosphy.  [...] My goal long term is to integrate all my knowledge and use it to enhance my life, through writing a book entitled "Progressive Exercise, The Logical Workout".

Your thread title is "What is your passion?" -- but you seem to be talking about what Ayn Rand called "central purpose in life." ("Purpose," Ayn Rand Lexicon, p. 398) A CPL is an abstraction, a statement of purpose. A career is a plan, a series of steps one takes to fulfill that purpose.

My inference from reading Jeff Britting's biography, Ayn Rand, is that her CPL was to portray the ideal man in fiction. After she achieved that fully, in Atlas Shrugged, she chose to fully formulate and disseminate the philosophy of that ideal man, John Galt. She spent the next 25 years of her life doing so. Thus she had two careers, end to end, but both relating to a common central purpose in life and both growing, Britting shows, from roots in values that began to form in her childhood.

One can have a passionate interest in a central purpose in life, as did Howard Roark in architecture, but one can also have a passionate interest in other purposes too: primarily a romantic interest (if available, or a close friendship, if not), and (to a lesser extent) a favorite leisure activity (mountain climbing or playing chess, for example). Ayn Rand's passionate interest in her husband is clear, from Britting's account. She also had strong interests in music ("conducting" with her own baton, at home) and stamp collecting (collecting 50,000 stamps!).

To achieve one's ultimate purpose in life, happiness, requires a passionate interest -- and success -- in at least those three areas: work, love, and play. All are crucial and all should be pursued with passion, that is, with the highest level of intensity appropriate to each kind of value.

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Burgess,

I think you are correct and I agree with you. I was trying to put them together as synonyms thinking that they were one in the same, hence my grouping of them passion/purpose. What I should have asked was, what is your central purpose in life?

I apologize for my misunderstanding of this core idea and thank you for setting me straight.

If we disregard my earlier misrepresentation I still think people could enjoy listing their "central purpose".

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Burgess,

I think you are correct and I agree with you.  I was trying to put them together as synonyms thinking that they were one in the same, hence my grouping of them passion/purpose.  What I should have asked was, what is your central purpose in life?

I apologize for my misunderstanding of this core idea and thank you for setting me straight.

If we disregard my earlier misrepresentation I still think people could enjoy listing their "central purpose".

Can we please discuss the "kind" and "extend" of relationship between the "central purpose", "career" and "passion" in one's life ?

I have been trying to reconcile and integrate these ideas in regard to my own life and would like to hear what you guys think about how they fit together.

Personally, the "central purpose", "career" and "passion" in my life are as follows :

Central Purpose : to live life independently, as comfortably and as happily as I can, experiencing as much fun and pleasure as life and universe have to offer, and changing the world for the better in some way though my being alive.

Career : is something that helps me to be alive and live as I want, am competent in it although it is not my original choice, I enjoy it, although I am still wondering what would have been my inherent choice, not feasible to change it without giving up important values.

Passion : ...Ideas... Took me a long time to realize it ! I always knew I am very passionate about something but never knew what !! B) I usually looked for "something" in whatever I came across or whatever I did - from watching television, to reading, to dealing with people etc. It is only very recently that I realized, with help from an objectivist friend, that I am always looking for an idea behind something and that is what I am passionate about - about things/people being and following their proper ideas.

What I am still working on and trying to integrate, are these following facts about my central purpose, my career and my passion :

My central purpose of "bettering" the world cannot be realized by me though my career, my career is not my passion and my passion is...well...Ideas and how do I figure out the best way to actualize them ?

Anybody else facing such scenarios ? or have anything to say about it ?

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Poojagupta,

I think that Burgess' post hits on an area that I had never defined before. That is to define your Central Purpose. Your Central Purpose in Life will lead you to your productiveness/career, which must be filled with passion. An example would be Burgess' statements and quotes on Ayn Rand.

I think, and you can disagree, that your CPL is vague and needs to be more defined. Ayn Rand's CPL was to portray the ideal man in fiction. Which lead her to her productiveness/career as an author.

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Poojagupta,

I think that Burgess' post hits on an area that I had never defined before.  That is to define your Central Purpose.  Your Central Purpose in Life will lead you to your productiveness/career, which must be filled with passion.  An example would be Burgess' statements and quotes on Ayn Rand.

I think, and you can disagree, that your CPL is vague and needs to be more defined.  Ayn Rand's CPL was to portray the ideal man in fiction.  Which lead her to her productiveness/career as an author.

I am thinking of some questions, would like your views on them,

Is one's Central Purpose in Life always related to one's Career ? Can one have a Passion outside one's Career goals ?

Is Central Purpose in Life a dynamic or a static thing ? Can it change ?

Can one arrive at their "central purpose in life" after they are well into their chosen careers ? Can success at a career or a long-term career goal be a CPL ?

Is it possible for one to have a successful career, one or more passions but no central purpose in life ?

I can understand careers following from a central purpose of life or a passion, in which case everything works out good. But from my own case I want to bring forth a possibility of careers not following from a specifically defined CPL and would like to know if it is a rare or a common phenomenon.

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In fact, such a choice can be a very selfish act, not motivated by what may be achieved for others. An artist, say, a painter, can spend years developing his knowledge and skill and eventually creates some masterpieces. Perhaps to the artist that level of achievement and beauty of creation represents his purpose, and though he might thoroughly enjoy his continuing creations he chooses to now become a physicist instead. Maybe both careers, artist and physicist, share an underlying factor that touches deeply on his sense of life.

I remember reading in one of the two biographical books about Richard Feynman (either "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" or "What Do You Care What Other People Think?", which are filled with wonderful anecdotes about his life), about his efforts to learn drawing, late in life. (Feynman was one of history's greatest physicists, for those not familiar with him - as I recall, Stephen mentioned that he was in at least one of his classes at Caltech.) Given a sample that was in the book, he was well above average.

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Poojagupta,

I will try and answer your questions as thoroughly as I can.

1. Is one's Central Purpose in Life always related to one's Career?

To quote Ayn Rand, "Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man's life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work - pride is the result.”

I will use Ayn Rand’s own “CPL” as an example, “to portray the ideal man through fiction.” Everything else flows from this. Here is a hypothesis on what Ms. Rand might have thought. How am I going to know what the ideal man could and should be? I must study philosophy or create my own. How am I going to know how to write properly? I must study proper grammar and literature. How do I portray this ideal man? I will portray it through fiction writing. This is just a hypothesis on how she chose and laid out a plan for her career.

I would have to answer yes to your first question.

2. Can one have a passion outside one’s career goals?

I think that one can and should have a passion outside career goals and Burgess does a good job of showing this in his post.

I passionately love my wife; I passionately love golf, I also passionately love enhancing my children’s lives.

3. Is “CPL” a dynamic or a static thing and can it change?

I definitely think someone can change his or her “CPL”. I think that this would take an illuminating discovery. Such as a missing piece that finally integrates, while recognizing and correcting the mistake.

I do not think that someone has to change their “CPL’ if chosen rationally. As a person gains more knowledge and integrates it, they could become more precise in their “CPL” So the “CPL” could always be dynamic, in the since of constantly adding to the total of ones knowledge and becoming more precise.

4. Can one arrive at their “CPL” after they are will into their chosen career?

I think that someone can arrive at their “CPL” later in life and well into their chosen career. Although to get this far into your career without defining your “CPL” might bring what seems to be constant juggling of one’s values.

5. Can success at a career or a long-term career goal be a “CPL”?

It is the “CPL” that sets the productive career. They are two totally separate items. Once the “CPL” is chosen, one must then decide how one is going to reach that “CPL” through a productive career. So a long-term career goal or success at a career cannot be a “CPL”.

6. Is it possible for to have a successful career, one or more passions but no “CPL”?

I think you can have some success in a career without choosing a “CPL”. But, I do not think there could be real long-term goals or success, because one would not know what the bigger long-term goals would be. But, one could have multiple passions without a “CPL”

7. I can understand careers following from a “CPL” or a passion, in which case everything works out good. But from my own case I want to bring forth a possibility of careers not following from a specifically defined “CPL” and would like to know if it is a rare or a common phenomenon?

For this last question I will use some of my own life as the example. (I use myself because I know myself best, not to degrade or brag). I spent two tours in the U.S. Marine Corps over an 8 ½ year period. The whole time in I never defined a “CPL” although I considered myself as a careerist. Without the defined “CPL” I constantly contradicted my own values. (This was before I had read any Ayn Rand). I wanted to be a warrior to defend individual rights and the constitution. No, I want a wife and family that I can enjoy. I am going to do an inter-service transfer into the Navy and become a Navy Seal. No, they are deployed about 50 weeks a year and I will miss my wife and children.

I hope I have shown through my own illustration that without a “CPL” you will not be able to decide which of your values is highest and how to go about obtaining a productive career. If you do not know what your “CPL” is you will constantly keep changing careers, because there is no long-term goal or achievement of happiness. So one will constantly look for the quick fix in every job that one thinks is their next great career.

In today’s culture I think that most people will end up choosing a career goal long before a “CPL”. I would say that this is mostly because of incorrect theories and books, such as “The Purpose Driven Life”. Unless someone has the brilliance of an Ayn Rand or has parents that are Objectivist, choosing a “CPL” will probably come later in life.

I would like to think that these answers are helpful and correct. But they come with the statement that I have come to these conclusions myself. It is my reasoning that has lead me to these conclusions. I am not a Dr. of Philosophy or Psychology.

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Feynman was one of history's greatest physicists, for those not familiar with him - as I recall, Stephen mentioned that he was in at least one of his classes at Caltech.

Yes, it was a graduate seminar on quantum mechanics. Not only was he brilliant, but Feynman was a really nice guy with a marvelous sense of life. He is sorely missed by many.

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Feynman was one of history's greatest physicists, for those not familiar with him - as I recall, Stephen mentioned that he was in at least one of his classes at Caltech.

Yes, it was a graduate seminar on quantum mechanics. Not only was he brilliant, but Feynman was a really nice guy with a marvelous sense of life. He is sorely missed by many.

This is not quite on topic, but given that both Richard Feynman and stamp collecting have come up here I'll take a little liberty. Richard Feynman is being honored with his own postage stamp.

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Is one's Central Purpose in Life always related to one's Career ? Can one have a Passion outside one's Career goals ?

Yes and yes. It depends on the career one chooses. I know people who love to write and are working on a novel or book, but earn their living as journalists or in advertising. Then there are would-be actors who perform whenever they can but also have a "day job" they may also like very much.

There are also people like me who want to do many different things. I had a hard time choosing a career because of that. My first choice was writing because it held out the promise that I could write about anything I was interested in -- and I was interested in everything. Then in college I discovered computers and it was love at first sight. I also love dealing with people, and enjoyed public speaking and performing as a dancer and actress. I also wanted to be a mother. With careful planning, I have manged to make a life for myself that has included all of them.

Looking at all the things I have done, I can sum them up into a central purpose that can be stated as the abstract theme of my life: the application of abstract ideas to solving the problems of everyday life.

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Burgess,

I think you are correct and I agree with you.  I was trying to put them together as synonyms thinking that they were one in the same, hence my grouping of them passion/purpose.  What I should have asked was, what is your central purpose in life?

I apologize for my misunderstanding of this core idea and thank you for setting me straight.

If we disregard my earlier misrepresentation I still think people could enjoy listing their "central purpose".

Yes and yes.  It depends on the career one chooses.  I know people who love to write and are working on a novel or book, but earn their living as journalists or in advertising.  Then there are would-be actors who perform whenever they can but also have a "day job" they may also like very much.

There are also people like me who want to do many different things.  I had a hard time choosing a career because of that.  My first choice was writing because it held out the promise that I could write about anything I was interested in -- and I was interested in everything.  Then in college I discovered computers and it was love at first sight.  I also love dealing with people, and enjoyed public speaking and performing as a dancer and actress.  I also wanted to be a mother.  With careful planning, I have manged to make a life for myself that has included all of them.

Looking at all the things I have done, I can sum them up into a central purpose that can be stated as the abstract theme of my life: the application of abstract ideas to solving the problems of everyday life.

It would be so nice if we got more and more "central purpose" declarations in this thread. A list of central purposes of objectivist's lives...It would make for such an important collection in this forum and otherwise B)

Personally, I would also be interested in seeing the various entries and the range of how specific and broad their definitions can be.

Alongwith the listings it would be nice to know when and how each one was discovered by the proclaimer.

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Personally, I would also be interested in seeing the various entries and the range of how specific and broad their definitions can be.

Alongwith the listings it would be nice to know when and how each one was discovered by the proclaimer.

First, some clarification of terminology. A purpose is what you want to end up with. A theme is the meaning -- stated as an abstraction -- of all that leads up to that purpose. Thus a writer of a novel may have the purpose of changing the culture in which he lives. The theme of the novel is the abstract summation of all the words/ideas of that novel.

Whichever vocabulary one chooses, the important point is the need for intergration in one's life, so that one's life isn't merely a heap of disordered experiences. This not only brings enormous personal satisfaction, from the whole, but also provides a tool for simplifying decisions. Without a hierarchy of values, which is a causal integration, decision-making is chaos.

With that as background, here is my own statement of purpose:

My ultimate purpose is happiness. My central purpose in life -- that is, the purpose that does most of the job of attaining happiness, through productivity of some sort -- is telling success stories.

That is the briefest statement. The statement may be longer depending on cognitive needs. If I need a quick reminder, I use the short form. If I am making a more difficult decision, I might use a longer, more focused form, such as: telling success stories drawn from the history of the biggest issues in life (which means to me, philosophy). (Why the big issues? Because, for as long as I can remember, I have loved the big sweeping stories, the ones with casts of thousands, ranging over vast geographic distances and time.) Here, as elsewhere, cognitive necessity determines the length of a statement.

The roots of my purpose go back into childhood, at least as far back as age about 10. However, I did not realize that fact until about 10 years ago, at age 50 or so. I am now 60. I had some of the pieces of this CPL at age 25 -- but abandoned it for not being "practical." I regained that purpose, in fuller, more explicit form, at age 43. I actually began full-time work on my CPL at 45 and have ever since then.

At 45, because of my dark view of life, I assumed that "telling success stories" meant writing fiction. I spent four years of my life, ages 45-49, writing two short practice novels. At the end I realized that I need not assume that I had to imagine success stories. To get where we are today, in the good ways, entails many success stories in the past. The second practice novel was an historical novel. That is when I realized that what I loved is the history part, not the fiction part. I had a degree from 30 years earlier in history. Now the pieces fit into place, but my central purpose remained the same -- telling success stories. Only the focus and application changed.

While my CPL has become clearer, so have my other two main purposes leading to my happiness: friendships and my favorite leisure activity, which is "roving" (in two forms -- walking and biking, and reading adventure stories of one sort or another).

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There are also people like me who want to do many different things.  I had a hard time choosing a career because of that.  My first choice was writing because it held out the promise that I could write about anything I was interested in -- and I was interested in everything.  Then in college I discovered computers and it was love at first sight.  I also love dealing with people, and enjoyed public speaking and performing as a dancer and actress.  I also wanted to be a mother.  With careful planning, I have manged to make a life for myself that has included all of them.

Looking at all the things I have done, I can sum them up into a central purpose that can be stated as the abstract theme of my life: the application of abstract ideas to solving the problems of everyday life.

We are very similar in this regard Mrs Speicher B) (except for the acting-I hate performing in front of people)

MY CPL is and has been (since High School) that I would write non-fiction books which helped reform the systems of government and education.

I thought I'd have to figure it out all by myself, so I planned to travel and work and learn as much as possible first hand.

But lo and behold I find Miss Rand and she has laid all the groundwork. Now I can build on her ideas to write my books. I'm elated!

I also love computers, and will probably have to support myself along the way... Hence my study for a Business Degree and focus specifically on internet business. I'm so excited by all that is opening up in that regard. I think I can be very successful as an online publication or something along those lines in the near future.

My passion is for Politics and Education- for ideas, and developing knowledge, for freedom. All of the above can be summed up by Objectivism. My passion is life.

(I like to borrow Thoreau's quote for my own to say "I went to [Objectivism] because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life; To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.") :D

I also highly value having a family of my own in the future. In fact another CPL might be to raise children utilizing my knowledge from the educational research I have done (and now Philosophical as well).

And Traveling is a yet unrealized passion, but it ties in with my focus on computers (work from anywhere) and Business (also widely usable and can involve lots of business travel). Traveling is a passion to me as a part of a well-rounded education.

Think that about covers my bases :D

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Burgess,

I think you are correct and I agree with you.  I was trying to put them together as synonyms thinking that they were one in the same, hence my grouping of them passion/purpose.  What I should have asked was, what is your central purpose in life?

I apologize for my misunderstanding of this core idea and thank you for setting me straight.

If we disregard my earlier misrepresentation I still think people could enjoy listing their "central purpose".

Actually I am not sure how easy it is to seperate the two, especially for younger people. If someone would have demanded that I list my central purpose at 21 I would definitely have been puzzled. I had a lot of passions at age 21, and had not yet solidified my career.

I am currently going thru some re-evaluation of what I actually enjoy about my career, as my priorities change, and I may either change careers or alter how I approach my current career. I find it constraining (and boring) to talk about central purpose without talking about passions. Besides often the best Central Purpose is made up of several passions combined.

Also I want to find people who share my ambition to experience certain things in life, in terms of specific achievements, and to meet such people and learn from their achievements. For example, in my curiousity about medicine I have met many accomplished people in the medical field. I doubt I will actually change my career to medical, but I have discovered that my knowledge of Objectivism gives me a level of confidence to talk to these people, and the ability to understand the medical field from a scientific perspective. I am trying to turn this further into becoming a moral voice to encourage certain avenues of conceptual development in medical research. My IT career provides me with the income (and the medium) to pursue such an unusual hobby. It is very important to me to know that people conducting medical research have the ability to see their work within a conceptual framework, and not as something isolated. I believe that a great deal of money and effort could be saved, and perhaps many advancements made, if researchers did not work under such false isolation. As an example, researchers into Crohn's disease spent years looking into cures for bowel inflammation, but a general practioner accidently discovered that a commonly used anti-arthritic drug (Remicade) treats the problem. Objectivism, with its love of conceptual thinking, has a lot to offer the medical field.

Also my hobby of cooking has led me to a fascination with looking at eating as a health activity (not a recreational activity as many overweight people think). My interest in medical research has led to an understanding of how certain foods have strong effects in promoting health.

As far as my career goes. I will never be a Prime Mover in the IT world (as defined by Edwin Locke), and that is not my ambition. I only want to make enough money to pursue my hobbies of cooking and medicine in comfort for awhile. If I do make my name known it may be more likely as an organizer of medical minds. I want to continue to advance my medical knowledge, and work within an environment where I can encourage others to do so also.

Currently I work for a 'good' branch of the government, but I am considering whether putting my IT skills to use working for a private biosci company would give me better access to the sort of people I want to meet.

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Besides often the best Central Purpose is made up of several passions combined.

Exactly. That is one function of a central purpose in life: integration. As an abstraction, a CPL integrates the "many" into a "one."

The purpose of this thread, in part, is to offer statements of central purpose in life, as examples of passionate, productive interests. Besides my own, offered in an earlier post, I can offer another for consideration: Ayn Rand's own central purpose in life, her career (as a sequence of "rungs" on a ladder that implements that CPL), and her passions (intense interests).

The best way to see these elements is to do a close reading of Jeff Britting's little biography, Ayn Rand. It is fully illustrated with photographs of Ayn Rand, places she visited, and documents from her life. As an archivist, he writes in an appropriate style: factual, straight-forward, and often understated (which is why it requires a slow, close reading).

In this little biography, readers see the elements of Ayn Rand's CPL implicit in her childhood interests emerge into explicit form. Readers will also see Ayn Rand, when she completed Atlas Shrugged, achieve her original purpose of portraying the ideal man. She resolved her subsequent "crisis of identity" (Britting, AR, p. 91) by redefining her CPL -- but in a way that, I think, shows her power of integration, in this case, integrating her new insights, new circumstances, and newly realized passionate interests -- with what she had done before.

The biography shows not only her CPL integrating her early passions for literature, movies, writing, and philosophical discussion, but also shows the integration of her CPL with her other main purposes in life -- friendships (she was an intense socializer) and leisure activities (for example, she collected over 52,000 stamps, according to her younger friend, Charles Sures, Facets of Ayn Rand, p. 58).

In summary, I do recommend Britting's Ayn Rand as a shining example of the integrative power of a CPL in a life of multiple passions.

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Stephen

I think that Leonardo DaVinci is a great example of what you are stating.  His passion at first was art.  He started to study human anatomy so that he could further his expertise in his drawings/art.  Then he became enthralled with science, from biology to physics and so much more.  This is also why later in life he almost never finished a commission.  He only took on new commissions to get the money to further his studies in science.

I also agree that one passion or subject can lead you into another or in a totally different direction.  I will use myself as an example.  My study of exercise has lead me along a path of continous education in many different directions, but always about enhancing my life.  Over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that a lot of exercise is a total waste of time, (although I still choose exercise as my passion), because we can not change our genetic make-up.  The most we can hope to do through exercise is enhance ourselves to our genetic capacity.  This in turn has lead me to genetic medicine, which I think will allow me an understanding of how we can extend and enhance human life/my life.  I am now, along with all my other goals, looking to go for a PhD so that I can further this passion and my understanding of it. 

I am not trying to say that one should not change their passion.  I am trying to say that it can be contradicting to try and hold more than one at a time as your top priority.  It is totally selfish to choose and or change your top priority as you see fit.  So do it.

As a child, I discovered my first hero when I read a child-sized biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. I must have read it a hundred times, and I always enjoyed imagining leonardo chosing passion after passion, until finally it became clear that Leonardo loved everything. I see him as being the first true renaissance man.

Many times since then, I have asked myself what my top priorities are. Mostly, I haven't found the answer, because I am interested in too many things. In school, the subjects I found most difficult became my favorites, and there were no boring subjects. My only stated passion at the present time is learning. I want to know. I don't believe I will ever outgrow that passion or move on from it. I want to learn all about engineering, literature, chemistry, biology, psychology, astronomy, physics, and philosophy. I plan to implement my knowledge into practical uses, having many jobs in many different fields over the years. I'm fresh out of High School, so the questions people ask me most is what I plan to study, what career I'd like to work towards, and what I want to be. I tell them I want to be a modern renaissance man. :D

Let me ask, do you think it is possible for one person to have more than one specific top priority, all interconnected, but all different? Can a person end up with so many goals that they can never follow through with any of them? Will a person with a variety of passions end up with a variety of partially completed endeavors?

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Let me ask, do you think it is possible for one person to have more than one specific top priority, all interconnected, but all different? Can a person end up with so many goals that they can never follow through with any of them? Will a person with a variety of passions end up with a variety of partially completed endeavors?

I can relate to having a large number of interests, some of which could be called passions. The real fundamental limit on what any person can do, assuming the requisite motivation and intelligence, is time. At 18 a lifetime looks infinite, which is a great feeling. Nonetheless, it is all too finite. Barring some radical advances in anti-aging research (go Robin!), we can't expect a lot more than 80-90 years, if that.

So managing your time is really the problem of establishing your priorities, your hierarchy of values, since there is only so much time in a day (and a life.) A tremendous amount can be done by a single person, spanning different fields, but ultimately there is guaranteed to be some limit. Literally speaking you can't "do it all". And to establish a level of high competence in any field worth pursuing, requires years of dedication.

Speaking personally, my primary focus became computer programming, starting at age 15. It really grabbed me in a way that nothing else ever had. So, my top interest was identified, and other interests basically took a back seat, though I continued to spend a lot of time reading, and later discovered Objectivism, which became another passionately interesting area of study.

I think it's important to try to finish projects that you start, unless you determine that it's really not worth the time. Unfinished projects are usually not a source of pride; a successfully finished one is an addition to your history of achievements and a great source of pride. Defining a project establishes a number of goals and keeps you focused on completing a particular task.

For somebody with a lot of interests, I think it also makes sense to try to focus on fields (and projects) that can simultaneously use a number of disciplines. For example, working with molecular scale biology can involve the fields of biology, chemistry, math, electronics, different kinds of computer programming, physics, etc.

Programming itself can involve many different fields. I've done everything from business applications, to working on programs that controlled high powered Neodymium-YAG lasers as well as CO2 continuous wave lasers, to various kinds of engineering sensor data acquisition and analysis, to CD-ROMs.

I hope that helps a bit.

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Kira,

I would recommend a lecture by Tara Smith called "The Value of Purpose". This is a very insightful lecture on how and why a purpose can help.

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Let me ask, do you think it is possible for one person to have more than one specific top priority, all interconnected, but all different?

Sure. You describe a generalist, and that is the "top priority" that integrates the sub-fields. In fact, seven of the eight fields you mentioned ("engineering, ... chemistry, biology, psychology, astronomy, physics, and philosophy") are all intimately connected by common principles and methods used.

Can a person end up with so many goals that they can never follow through with any of them?

That can happen for a person with an interest in a single field too, but the fault lies with the person, not with the potential of the work.

Will a person with a variety of passions end up with a variety of partially completed endeavors?

That depends on the person and what she does with her life. If you are asking "at the end of one's life can a person be completely, totally, and utterly happy in their life's work if, instead of devoting their entire life to a single field they devoted smaller segments of their life to a variety of interconnected fields," then I can tell you from firsthand experience, absolutely so!

In fact, for a certain kind of mind I would say that such an approach is the only one to lead to complete happiness. The trick is getting people to pay you for your joy. At one time or another I worked in almost all the fields you mentioned, and more. I love using physics, mathematics, and computers to solve interesting and challenging problems, and I love learning new fields. So, at any given time, given the knowledge from my education and experience, I enter a field of interest with the objective of learning enough about some interesting aspect of the field in order to tackle an interesting problem in my own way. This gives me the opportunity to study what is known about the field -- to satisfy my love of learning -- as well as the opportunity to use what I know in solving something new. How can life be better than that?

If you are that sort of person, and from your writing, even at your young age it seems likely you are, I say go for it. Get a good broad education in engineering and physics, learn all the mathematics you can, and then go out and show the world what you can do. If you have what it takes to get problems solved, you can spend your entire life learning and problem-solving in all those fields, and actually get paid for doing so! :D

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