Passion, Balance

Plato and Aristotle would not have endorsed the Stoic idea that passion is simply a bad thing to be mastered and exterminated, and that the sage should therefore be completely unaffected. While excess is bad, the right kind of passion can be good, and passion in general can contribute to good. This is even more true for general emotion, and still more so for what I have called feeling. Rather than striving to eliminate passion altogether, it is better to let it be moderated through balanced perspective — seeing things from multiple angles, and stepping outside of one’s immediate reactions to take in a bigger picture. Balanced perspective is a relative thing associated with what I have called emotional reasonableness. It is a moving target; each new situation may present different challenges. (See also Dialogue; Obstacles to Synthesis.)