Joss Whedon (I’m a major fan of this brilliant guy — creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.) said that conviction is what makes evil different. Conviction is why fringe groups are so dangerous: they cannot see the other side. This is interesting to me because I’ve been thinking, lately, about obsession. I struggle with obsession. I can’t play video games because I used to play non–stop for two days—all through the night, calling in sick for work—until I’d beaten the game. I don’t have a television, because I’ll watch Law & Order marathons and forego sleep. I used to play sports this way too. An entire weekend of beach volleyball. I write like this as well—forgetting to eat or talk to humans.
My family is like this about their hobbies (and their religion). Cycling, and house projects, and knitting, whatever it is, we’ll do it to the exclusion of everything else, until we’ve exhausted the entire endeavor and must find the next thing to do to the exclusion of everything else. It may be about intensity, or anyway, intensity is an element of it. But I think obsession also has to do with seeking, with the search for fulfillment. Obsession is part of the endeavor, a piece of the experience, and the high. Obsession is part of what gives the experience so much worth, what separates it from little old ladies collecting knickknacks.
And it may be that I’m actually talking about passion. But have named it obsession because I’m troubled. Troubled by this restlessness within me. Troubled by my sudden desire for something new to immerse myself in.