They are dangerous because their passions are seductive. As a result, they will change the course of the lives of all who have contact with them, as well as their own.
Passionate people are also disruptive. Given a chance, they will disrupt the status quo – of those who are attracted to them like moths to a flame, of their organizations, or (with a little luck) the course of the history in which they are embedded.
They want things to be the way they envision them, not the way they are. They have no compunction about what has to be destroyed in order to build something new in its place. They prefer the uncertain to the certain.
The forces that constrain the rest of us to be today what we were yesterday do not impede them. They want to be on their path, not the conventional one. They seek to escape the conventional, not to kowtow to it. They see things we do not see. They feel things we do not feel. They think in ways we seem to be unable to. They do what we dare not do.
That’s why passionate people are dangerous. We could attribute much of mankind’s troubles over the years, and probably some of our own, to someone’s passions.
As the famous 18th-century French writer and philosopher Denis Diderot wrote in 1746: “Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.”
Great things are possible only with great passions. Great things do not give themselves easily to weak-willed, dispassionate people. Without passionate people we would still be living in caves. Passionate people may be dangerous. But they are also the creators of the world in which we live.
Diderot says elsewhere: “Passions destroy more prejudices than philosophy does.”
If you would go where passionate people lead, you have to abandon your current, conventional prejudices.
– Lee Thayer