Published with permission

By Bryan Hyde

COMMENTARY -- Ever notice how often passion and wisdom seem to be at odds? We would be well-served to remember how to distinguish between them.


Passion can be understood as a strong, barely controlled emotion. It is what fuels most activism and is easily recognized by the obsessive fervency with which it calls for immediate gratification. 

Think about it. When was the last time you heard of someone committing a “crime of wisdom”?

Wisdom, on the other hand, represents experience and knowledge that remains true in any time or place. Unlike popular knowledge, which can become obsolete over time, wisdom is based on sound judgment that has stood the test of time.

While passion can be a positive force, when properly tempered with wisdom, it is a poor basis for making important decisions.

Passion childishly urges us to follow the path of least resistance, with little regard for what lies beyond the moment. 

It demands that we reject the hard-won wisdom of billions of mature minds, spanning thousands of years of human history. 

British statesman Edmund Burke warned that our passions can carry a price:

“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

Passion, combined with wisdom and encouragement, can be productive and inspiring. And that includes the wisdom gleaned by the successes and failures of previous generations.

* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.

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