Most people have a passionate devotion to something that they enjoy deeply and often. These are not the inevitable needs that everyone knows. They are peculiar to certain advocates and strange or foreign to others. It is essential in understanding other people to recognize their special enthusiasms.

One intense passion in American society is sports, one particular game or team. It is amazing to those who do not share that kind of commitment how thousands of fans flock to immense stadiums, spending much time and money. Their devotion is flamboyant and emotional, animated by rivalry and pride.

Another area of passionate enthusiasm is music. Again, the adherence to certain styles and performers can dominate a fan’s life and elicit intense pleasure. Less public are consuming involvements in certain foods and beverages, literary activity, and graphic arts. In these and many other areas people become devotees of prominent names. They cherish symbols of their common devotion, their idols.

Economists note markets in these interests. Prices of widely praised items can soar on the fervor of fan enthusiasm. Advertisers use connections with famous people and their equipment, making money on these associations with intense enjoyment.

Sport and music passions are fairly benign but other passionate commitments can be dangerous. Politics and religion are important enthusiasms and encourage some helpful behaviors. But they are also notorious for intense antagonism. These passions have motivated wars and cruelty; they can dominate lives in unhappy ways.

In lockdowns some of our passions can be exercised online if not in person. Thanks for this possibility when we need it most.

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