Created By: KingZeal on October 14, 2011 Last Edited By: KingZeal on January 4, 2013
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Passion Is Evil

The Dark Side induces rage, lust, terror while The Light Side induces tranquility and passiveness.

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Yoda: Anger, fear, aggression...The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. [snip]
Luke: How am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know. When you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defence. Never for attack.

In Speculative Fiction, whenever there are two innate forces at work (usually Good Versus Evil or Order Versus Chaos), the "Light" side (that is, the heroic side) will be transcendent and calm; the "Dark" side (the antagonistic side) will be passionate and impulsive. Rarely are the two inversed, with the good side being the emotional one and the evil side being the indifferent.

Related to Villains Act, Heroes React, although that particular trope is more about how the events of the story are motivated by the villain's actions. Also, do not confuse with Ambition Is Evil, in which you can tell the good guys from the bad guys because the bad guys are the one who want to change the Status Quo. This trope is specifically about when there are two metaphysical forces in opposition and one of them motivates through passion and emotion and the other through peace and enlightenment.

Tends to be a common trait for a Strawman Emotional. May invoke a Superpowered Evil Side and, inversely, a Helpless Good Side.

Compare Emotions vs. Stoicism and Harmony Vs Discipline.

Examples:

  • Star Wars, of course. The Light and Dark sides of the force tend to play this trope completely straight, although how true this plays out is a case of Depending on the Writer. According to several sources (including George Lucas himself), the Light Side is not merely dull apathy and cold indifference; it's supposed to be all positive synergy and symbiosis that makes the galaxy a better place. Things like love, romance, friendship, and peaceful ambitions are supposed to embody the Light Side just as much as hatred, lust, competition, and violence embody the Dark. This is not how it plays out, normally.
  • Vulcans in Star Trek definitely believe this. Their race happens to have vast emotions which they must completely clamp down, lest they all become raging psychotics.

Anime & Manga
  • Gurren Lagann inverts this. The villains are stoic and depressed. The heroes are Hot-Blooded. That is a very understated way of saying it.

Comics
  • X-Men: This is the explanation for Dark Phoenix--the result of the Hellfire Club feeding decadent and hedonistic desires to the Phoenix Force.
  • A frequent theme in the Green Lantern mythos. Especially when the Guardians became despotic and started condemning emotions and the other Lantern Corps turned up as Foils. Essentially, the Green Lanterns are in the "center" of the light spectrum (Willpower) and so they're the most stoic. Red Lanterns and Star Sapphires represent Rage and Love, specifically, and since their colors are on the far ends, their emotions control them.

Religion
  • In many religions, Angels, or an equivalent good side, embody purity and self-restraint, while Demons, or equivalent evil side, embody sexual, violent, and greedy desires.

Tabletop Games

Videogames
  • In the Street Fighter universe, the Dark Hadou (or Satsui no Hadou in original Japanese) is the surge of violent emotion that drives the nameless martial art used by Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Dan and Gouken. The more fiercely and passionately one fights, the easier it is to become lost to the Satsui no Hadou. According to some sources, merely attempting to use the Raging Demon (Shun Goku Satsu) forever alters the personality of the user and drives them insane. Akuma is the first and only known person to use it and remain some lucidity (although not completely unchanged).
    "We're more alike than I'd like to admit."
  • In the EverQuest series, each god rules over a different physical or emotional domain, and all are clearly defined as Good, Evil, or Neutral. Among the evil gods are Cazic Thule and his daughter Terris Thule, who controls fear and nightmares, and Tholux Paells, the Demi-god of Lust. Among the good gods are Erollisi Marr is the goddess of Love and Quellious the god of Peace and Tranquility. An interesting note is that the extremely evil Rallos Zek, god of War, created Sullon Zek, Demi-goddess of rage and anger. Sullon herself and her domain are considered neutral.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, you have deities called the Aedra and Daedra. The Aedra represent aspects such as Time, Life, Beauty, Commerce and Air--all natural things which have little to do with emotions. The Daedra, however, represent things like Deceit, Desires, Knowledge, Competition, The Spurned, Ambition, Manipulation, Madness, Domination, etc--or things sparked or perpetuated by emotions.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • October 16, 2011
    Speedball
    Vulcans in Star Trek definitely believe this. Their race happens to have vast emotions which they must completely clamp down, lest they all become raging psychotics.
  • October 16, 2011
    KamenZero
    In most religions, Angels, or an equivalent good side, often embody all that is holy and pure, while the demons, or equivalent evil side, embody the corruption of sexual, violent, and greedy desires.
  • October 17, 2011
    MorganWick
    Of course, this isn't always the case. Relatedly, I think we had a YKTTW that came down to Brains Bad Brawn Good, but I don't know what it was called or what came of it. (You probably don't think it's all that related at first glance.)
  • November 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    Bump.
  • November 19, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    This looks very much like Emotions Versus Stoicism, to be honest with you.
  • November 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    No, this is specifically where the Emotions side is evil.
  • November 19, 2011
    amyrose
    This is something I've thought about a lot, especially in the Star Wars context. The story Palpatine tells Anakin about "Darth Plagueis" (sp.?) in Episode III, about a Sith Lord who was so wise and benevolent that he could influence life, really got me thinking about like, what happens with "positive" emotions? I have this image where it's possible to be a Sith and have like, defensive abilities that arise out of feeling protective of someone, or healing or other supportive abilities that arise out of the bond you share with someone. I keep waiting for this to crop up as a path in Star Wars games, but they really tend to do the polarizing generalization that you're pointing out here. It's something I plan on trying to explore when The Old Republic comes out.

    NOBODY RUIN IT FOR ME
  • November 19, 2011
    PacificState
    Gurren Lagann inverts this. The villains are stoic and depressed. The heroes are Hot Blooded. That is a very understated way of saying it.
  • November 20, 2011
    Arivne
    A possible page quote from The Empire Strikes Back:

    Yoda: Anger, fear, aggression...The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. [snip]
    Luke: How am I to know the good side from the bad?
    Yoda: You will know. When you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defence. Never for attack.
  • February 26, 2012
    Earnest
  • December 7, 2012
    KingZeal
    Needs more examples and hats.
  • December 7, 2012
    MorningStar1337
    Green Lantern: The Green Lanterns represent will instead of an actual emotion and the enemy factions include the Red Lanterns (Rage), Orange Lanterns (Greed), Sinestro Corps (Fear), and Star Sapphires (Love). The Guardians of the Universe also suppress their emotions. The Blue Lanterns (Hope) don't count being allied with the Green Lanterns and hope not being a "passion" per se but not supressing their emotions ether. and the Indigo Tribe (Compassion) are a borderline case.
  • December 8, 2012
    WaxingName
    Compare Chaos Is Evil.
  • December 8, 2012
    jatay3
    Kamen Zero, not all religions have angels and demons as such or even think as much about good vs evil. And it is doubtful that even if they did a demon would embody sexual, violent, and greedy desires, seeing as they have no bodies; which prevents sexuality, need for possessions, and physical harm. The Christian picture of Satan is in fact as a Manipulative Bastard, not an embodiment of evil passions. Other religions don't have demons in the same way or don't think about them much.
  • December 8, 2012
    Chabal2
    Warhammer and Warhammer 40 K: The Chaos Gods are the sum of every sentient being's rage, hope, lust and love. Worshipped via mass slaughter and warfare, mutation and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, rape and torture, and spreading disease and pestilence like a demented Santa Claus. The only workable alternative is to cut off the emotions, either by turning the entire world undead (which was one vampire's plan in Warhammer) or by killing everything down to the last bacterium (the Necrons in Warhammer 40 K).

  • December 28, 2012
    MorningStar1337
    Nice job with the page.
  • December 28, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    This is the in-universe premise of the dystopian film Equilibrium, depicting a society that has banned human emotion, which is believed to be "the core of man's inhumanity to man".
  • December 29, 2012
    acrobox
    is this distinct enough from Ambition Is Evil
  • January 3, 2013
    KingZeal
    Passion and Ambition are not exactly the same things.
  • January 3, 2013
    Hodor
    Edit- Deleted- was misreading this to encompass a "good is weak; evil is strong" idea
  • January 3, 2013
    KingZeal
    That doesn't seem to have much to do with passion versus stoicism and more like talent versus non talent.
  • January 3, 2013
    DRCEQ
    I don't know if this is what you're looking for as an example, but...

    • In the Ever Quest series, each god rules over a different physical or emotional domain, and all are clearly defined as Good, Evil, or Neutral. Among the evil gods are Cazic Thule and his daughter Terris Thule, who controls fear and nightmares, and Tholux Paells, the Demi-god of Lust. Among the good gods are Erollisi Marr is the goddess of Love and Quellious the god of Peace and Tranquility. An interesting note is that the extremely evil Rallos Zek, god of War, created Sullon Zek, Demi-goddess of rage and anger. Sullon herself and her domain are considered neutral.
  • January 3, 2013
    KingZeal
    Yeah, that looks fine.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=4cn35363r23mn2x2g6wq8214&trope=PassionIsEvil