I haven’t found my ‘passion’. I’m not sure I believe that everyone has one great passion in life, but I still like the thought of dedicating myself to something I find inspiring and fulfilling. How can I find that part of myself, and how, in this world of endless choice, can I trust that it’s the right thing once I have found it?

Philosopher's reply

Dear Lily,

An intellectual or political passion is not that different from a romantic one. We don’t fall in love with another person for a ‘reason’. We’re magnetically drawn to them, and can often only ‘justify’ our love after the fact.

However, I do think there are things we can do to put ourselves in love’s way. Sometimes when those we regard highly describe what’s so great about a film or what they enjoy about their community activism, it can prime us to see it in a new light – as interesting or beautiful – when we watch the film or attend a volunteer event for ourselves. We can be inspired when we let others share their passions with us.

- Lesley Jamieson

Philosopher's profile

Lesley Jamieson

Queen's University (Kingston), Canada

Iris Murdoch makes philosophy answerable to what our lives are like. She invites us to step back from theories of mind, language or morals; to look closely at what it's like to try to formulate a thought, the ways that a child's understanding of 'love' evolves over time, and what we would want to say about a woman who overcomes prejudice; and she shows us how philosophy sometimes ignores or mischaracterizes human experience. Murdoch helped me to understand why some philosophy feels so removed!

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