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Passionarity

(From Latin passio, passion), the term introduced by Russian ethnographer and historian Lev Gumilev to signify the ability for and urge towards changing the environment, both social and natural, or, physically speaking, towards the disturbance of inertia of the aggregative state of an environment (Gumilev, 1990). He considered passionarity as a psychological characteristic reproduced genetically which deviates from the normal behaviour of the species and is opposite to the instinct of self-preservation. It can be defined as the compelling intrinsic drive towards purposeful activity that is always directed to changing the environment, both social and natural, and the attainment of the desired aim, which is often illusory or even destructive for the subject himself, seems to him more valuable than his own life. Passionarity accounts for the formation of new ethnos and various innovations in society and culture in the established ethnos. Gumilev argues, for example, that all military and political history of the developing ethnos consists of various variants of passionary induction by which the crowds of harmonious persons are set in motion. It also lies at the foundation of the anti-egoistic ethic where the collective interests, even if wrongly understood, prevail over the craving for life and concern for one's own posterity. Individuals possessing this characteristic under favourable conditions perform actions that, summing up, break the inertia of tradition and initiate change in the ethnos. Passions of various kinds such as greed, ambition, envy or love are modes of passionarity.

Passionarity as a drive to introduce new values provides intrinsic motivation for creativity. Czikszentmihalyi (1996: 11), although he is not using the term passionarity, describes the psychological source of creativity is a similar way:

Each of us is born with two sets of instructions: a conservative tendency, made up of instincts for self-preservation, self-aggrandizement, and saving energy, and an expansive tendency, made up of instincts for exploring, for enjoying novelty and risk - the curiosity that leads to creativity belongs to this set.

Passionarity. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny. Netslova.ru, 2007.
http://creativity.netslova.ru/Passionarity.html
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
   
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