Whole Being — Passionate as compared to Charged

Passionate as compared to charged — Charge is uncontrolled excitement. It’s unfocussed and burns hot… for a moment. Passion is stepping into the cool river of engagement

Wayne C. Allen

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Passionate as compared to charged

As we reach the last of the comparison articles, let me say again that my intention has been to point to the differences between ways of being. I’m not particularly interested in declaring one side of each dichotomy to be “better” than the other.

I merely want to suggest that a more well rounded, fully functioning way of being requires choosing

Ben Wong and Jock McKeen made much of similar parallels in their book, The NEW Manual for Life. It is to them I owe our present discussion — between passion and charge.

They wrote that charge was what new relationship sex felt like, or of. It’s the “I’m about to blow a gasket” feeling of unbounded, enacted lust.

They state that charge can’t really last over time, because charge requires that we objectivize the other person. As relationships mature, objectivization is harder and harder to maintain. They suggest that game or role playing is probably the only way to keep charge alive in a long-term relationship.

I remember one couple Darbella and I were friends with. The guy loved to talk about his chargy sex life. After a few years, though, he was getting bored. The next thing we knew, his wife had “gotten a boob job” just for him. Then, he sent me photo of her in an, “I want to be a Hot Wife” tee-shirt.

I Googled the tee-shirt sentence. Turns out, in that context, a “hot wife” is:

…a married woman who has sexual relationships outside of her marriage, with the full knowledge and consent of her husband, who himself doesn’t have affairs.

Her wearing that tee-shirt rang false, especially after she and I had a talk, and she let me know exactly how much she was “doing it for him.” (My issue here, to be clear, is just that. She was doing all of this stuff to keep him from leaving. He was doing it so he could feel charge. Had she been into it, I’d have had no issue.)

That’s the way things go in chargy relationships. Passion, on the other hand, runs a lot deeper.

Charge is neither good, nor bad. Charge is about both sexual excitement and “life excitement” — charge is a reaction to something external. Charge, then, requires field dependence. It’s big, bold, and short-lived.

It’s external gratification for the sake of the hit, the blast, the feeling.

Passion is neither good, nor bad. Passion develops out of a heart-felt need to express oneself. To act with passion is to act with conviction, with knowledge and with purpose and direction. It’s internally generated and thus not field dependent.

Passion is a feeling of wholeness that comes from fully expressing oneself — being open and revealing of one’s self — through whatever means or media one chooses.

Our society in general revels in charge, not as a fun thing to do occasionally, but as a lifestyle. Advertising is all about creating charge and then telling us what to buy so that we can participate in the charge.

Charge promotes instantaneous gratification, and dilettantism — as people constantly flit from this to that to another thing, never settling — and then having the audacity to say that they are doing it because they are a “free spirit.”

It’s happening all around us, as people put externals ahead of self knowing.

To suggest that a charged lifestyle is self and soul destroying is to risk the wrath of the masses, because charge is all they have. Or as Rand wrote,

Ask anything of men. Ask them to achieve wealth, fame, love, brutality, murder, self-sacrifice, but don’t ask them to achieve self-respect. They will hate your soul.

Charge has its place. Sometimes, we want to let our hair down, to bungee jump, to get laid… to just let it all hang out. What we need to understand, though, is that charge is not very deep. It’s skin level.

The error in thinking is to equate chargy acts with true freedom or passionate vocationalism. Charge focussed living is living a life disconnected from the depths of self.

Passion, on the other hand, is cultivated like a fine wine.

I heard a line once:

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.

Passion, like mastery, takes time.

Some people think I’m a pretty good writer. While I have a certain “born with it” gift, I also practice — I write all the time. If someone asks me to teach them to write, I say what my teachers in High School said to me. “Write. Write. Rewrite. We’ll talk again in 20 years.”

As I look back at my writing, I see the seeds of my thought today. There is a consistency in my vocational worldview that stretches back to the 60s — to High School. Which is not to say that I haven’t changed my views. Well, maybe it is. Refined my views is closer to the truth.

Same thing with my paintings and photographs. The seeds of my work today stretch back 5 decades. I can see the refinements in my technique, but the core sensibility is there… it’s been honed by actually painting, actually taking photos.

I write, I make art, and I live my life the way I do, not for show or approval, but because this is who I am. I don’t make things. I build ideas. It’s my passion and my vocation.

I have been judged to be wrong, to not be “understanding enough,” to be “too tough to be friends with.” That’s OK. I can either choose to accommodate myself to others (gaining the charge that comes from being “loved” — as in “approved of,”) or choose to live my life passionately.

I choose the latter — to deepen my understanding and my vocation, one day at a time.

I still choose to have chargy moments as a counterpoint to a life of passion. Charge is fun, no question. It just seems, to me, to be quite limited as a life choice.

  • Passion changes the world. Charge creates a sweat.
  • Passion opens one to new vistas. Charge closes doors to keep the charge going.
  • Passion is life long and life affirming. Charge often wears off the next morning.
  • Passion is about deeply revealing oneself in one’s actions. Charge is about creating an illusion in order to manipulate someone into helping you get off.
  • Passion is about freedom. Charge is about control.
  • Passion has its home in the soul, charge in the genitals.

Each has its place.


  • Passion creates newness. Charge regurgitates what has been before.
  • Passion is the wind in the sails. Charge is a person being dragged along for the ride, screaming “Yahoo!” and thinking she is the wind.
  • Passion is built on rock. Charge is built on sand.
  • Passion is lived in each moment, from the depths. Charge flits from one thing to another, never landing nor taking root.
  • Passion is about personal integrity. Charge is about getting off on externals.
  • Passion is openness and vulnerability. Charge is keeping secrets about who you are and what you’re doing.
  • Passion is focussed. Charge is scattered.

You get the point.

Thus ends our Dichotomies series. I have pleased myself with this series, and am thinking about what to write about next.

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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