Sunday, March 31, 2013


But it is like the primary colors in the paintings of children, splashed on the paper with abandon, occasionally not without charm, but generally demonstrating the sameness that characterizes the art of young children. In the muted, controlled hues of Rembrandt one can find the color, yet infinitely more richness, uniqueness and meaning. Passion is feeling of great depth. The fact that a feeling is uncontrolled is no indication whatsoever that it is any deeper than a feeling that is disciplined. To the contrary, psychiatrists know well the truth of the old proverbs "Shallow brooks are noisy" and "Still waters run deep." We must not assume that someone whose feelings are modulated and controlled is not a passionate person.  
-page 156 in The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck, MD
This quote struck me because it is the antithesis of all major romantic figures in fantasy, young adult and sometimes even classical literature. There, the characters are always struggling with "uncontrolled feelings" and do all sorts of things in the name of these uncontrollable emotions that sweep over them.

It is rare for a romantic character to be passionate in a controlled way. The only character that I can think of who fits this model is Mr. Darcy, but even he says “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

It would be nice for there to be a dashing, romantic character who chooses to love rather than being overcome by a feeling that he cannot repress. Until then, the idea that passion that is disciplined can be just as deep as passion that is uncontrolled will not hold up in popular culture.


Romantic Hooey said...

The entire genre of "Romance" (movies, T.V. novels, etc.) is almost completely false, puffed and fluffed-up empty air (akin to Chametz).
You can do a "Bedikas Chametz" and will rarely find any realism.

It's extremely rare to find true love and realistic (non lustful) bonding in romantic fiction.

(As a matter of fact, "Romantic fiction" is redundant.)

The subject of "Romance" is likely responsible for countless of failed marriages.
It gives "smitten" couples false and unrealistic expectations about their lives together.
They fail to be rational about life and it's challenges AFTER riding off into the sunset.

Only the mature mind will recognize that romance is a false depiction of authentic love.

Anonymous said...

What about Howard Roark?

Chana said...

Howard Roark rapes Dominique. Not the type of passion I'm looking for.

Anonymous said...

True, but he chooses to rape her. He never claims to have lost control or been the victim of irresistible passion. The point is that he is passionate, but controlled. I don't like him as a character, and I'd also like to see characters who display the passion you speak of, and yet are good people, in pop culture.

Morgan F said...

Very interesting. You know more passages from the Bible than we (I!) do, are there any particularly noteworthy pasukim that speak to this interpretation of "passion"? (BTW, I never thought about the significance of "still waters run deep" before - now I see why it's become a cliché!)