Thursday, September 10, 2009

Of Obsession.

We humans are creatures of habit. Some innate, most acquired. Some out of compulsion, most out of whim. I once read somewhere that it takes 21 days to cultivate one... or let go of. But what is the difference between habit and addiction? Further, between addiction and obsession?

If A=B and B=C, then it follows naturally that A=C. (Or so says the transitive relation of mathematical logic.) Don't tell me about the thin line. I see a dozen thin lines, and glide over them everyday. Effortlessly, at that.

Addiction. Comes in all forms, flavors, shapes and sizes. But that's not what we're going to talk about. Not about nicotine, caffeine cocaine, heroin, hash, weed, food, retail therapy, blah blah.. yada yada... No, not even chocolate. I speak of being addicted to a state of mind. To a feeling. Not out of whim, but to it. When every bit of your reason, logic and faith has been put into a single direction. When you have the sum total of your resolve and belief riding on one thing and one thing alone. You can only achieve what you want if you believe that you can, and if you try hard enough. Somewhere along that road, the quest becomes not just a part of you. It becomes you. You begin to define yourself in terms of what you want, and you become what it takes to have it.

You begin to push yourself to the edge, and to enjoy it. You seek fulfillment and satisfaction in challenging odds. And ride the wave of drive that angst and anger brings with itself. Knowing fully well that living in the extremes is leading you to degeneration, not just of the physical sort. Frayed nerves bring on a kick, at least before the burn-out. That, is the essence of self-destructive behavior.

I'm told addiction can be battled. But how you you battle yourself? After you spend years knowing that you are capable of doing anything in the world, and build your whole life around that idea, how can you possibly teach yourself to give up? When do you know that it is the time to do so?

You don't. And that is the kind of addiction that consumes you all of your life. But you never learn to live with it. Ever.


Nothing but "ficus" said...

I guess one should look for signs.

Things that are meant to be fall into place immediately and quickly, as if the universe really wants you to claim what is yours. And if things you are addicted to cause you trouble after trouble, then you should perhaps take a cue to let go for a moment, step back and examine if it is really worth it. :)

Diwakar Sinha said...

I would say, it is v important to keep a balance in what we are though it is v difficult to maintain it...sometimes it is also the age that does it...sometimes it is the fear/guilt that brings you back to tracks.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Nothing but "ficus": Or so spake Coelho.

You're right actually. That's very good advice. However, do you really think that it is possible to interpret signs without bias?
That very fact is what all of astrology and other divinitary arts are based on.

I suppose that is where the concept of objectivity comes in.
And good to see that you haven't entirely abandoned the neighborhood.

@ Diwakar Sinha : And one who makes a life out of conquering his fears, is left to deal with the ensuing crisis.

A person who wants it all, can never live a life of balance. Because balance seems like a compromise compared to what he seeks and dreams of.

Death On Two Legs said...

Which addiction are you more scared of, physical or mental?

I honestly think I can handle the latter. Better than the former, at any rate.

Sherry Wasandi said...

Physical or mental. Wherein lies the difference?

Mental control is required to overpower the physical symptoms of deprivation. In the end, it's all in the mind. No matter what sort of addiction we speak of. And I think that it would be a mistake to generalize, at any rate. Mental addiction can be far more difficult to over come as opposed to some forms of the physical variety. It strikes at the very root of a person's being. Not his dependencies. He begins to formulate his ideas, his philosophy, his entire thought-process around it. It distorts his perception. That's scarier.

JD said...

This is just about the point where anything more will make the discussion anally retentive. Ergo, silence.

VERY nicely written :)

Nothing but "ficus" said...

Nope, haven't abandoned the neighborhood. I am still addicted in my own way :) And ah yes, Coelho. He was right in his own way - although I meant to put it in a less philosophical way than he had.

What I really meant to say was sometimes the "signs" could just be people telling you to give it up. Or it could be bad things happening as consequences of whatever your addiction is.

Stepping back and analyzing often helps :) Provided your analysis is fair.

Lemon Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lemon Girl said...

Addictions keep us going, for some reason or the other. To lose the ability to mindlessly crave something can be sad. Somewhere down the line, not having to rationalize addictions make having one all the more special and exhilarating.

Then again, exhilaration and exhaustion are separated by the thinnest of line and one never knows which side they're on.

Beautifully argued Sherry, one of your best posts yet.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Hmm..I suppose a habit is a harmless addiction, and an addiction a habit-gone-wild! :D

Very interesting post, spectacularly worded! :)

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ JD: But one always loves a debate.

@ Nothing but "ficus":Good to know that. I'm sure you won't be missing in action for long. Old habits die hard.

Exactly. It's the unbiased perspective that one strives for most.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ Lemon Girl: Yes. Precisely my point!
And once you've known a yearning as intense as that, everything else feels like a compromise.

:) And it's strange that you would say that. I had written this about 3 months ago. Never published because I never found it to sufficiently express the intensity of what I had in mind. I still think it doesn't do much justice to it.

@ Tangled up in Blue : Like I said to Lemon Girl, this one almost never got published. Very rarely have I found the English language to be so utterly insufficient. I still haven't been able to put it all across as clearly as I would like. But thank you for your comment.