My late father admitted that he was obsessed with practical, cold, hard facts. Imaginary scenarios rarely captured his interest. The only exception I remember was a year-long obsession with Immanuel Velikovsky’s book Worlds in Collision. Dad liked to quote Velikovsky’s passages about magnetically charged planets and electric comets. He was especially fascinated with the idea that the Planet Venus could have been a large comet millions of years ago. Thankfully, dad checked out astronomical data and performed some calculations. He lost interest in Velikovsky overnight.
Yet, dad’s obsession with practical sense still left very little room for make believe and fictional stories. We kids couldn’t watch science fiction movies on television without dad saying, “That doesn’t make sense.” During our viewing of “The Wizard of Oz” he spouted a litany of “That doesn’t make sense.” The obsession with his version of physical reality is one of the main quirks I remember about dad.
Sometimes, while enjoying people watching, I wonder what thoughts occupy their minds. Are their minds focused on their occupations? Do they constantly worry about their children? Do they think about their obligations so much that they develop anxiety? Some people are obsessed with team sports.
Quiet a few Nebraskans are die-hard fans of University of Nebraska football. There is one of those Cornhuskers fanatics who lives down the street from me. His brick house is festooned with Husker signs, a large Cornhuskers flag and a plywood cutout of the team mascot, Herbie Husker. I’m sure that if the house wasn’t constructed of brick, the fan would have painted his house red. I wonder what the inside of the house looks like. Then again, maybe it would give me nightmares.
He drives a large, jacked up, red Ford pickup that features the rear window decorated with the words, “Big Red”. There are airbrushed Cornhusker icons on the tailgate including another likeness of Herbie Husker.
During times of soul-searching we can become aware of the process of our own obsessions and compulsive habits. To simply be aware is not to condemn nor justify the obsession. The point is to simply be aware of its presence in the mind. We might just ponder or meditate upon the obsession with sustained attention and eagerness to understand the nuts and bolts of the obsession. The contemplation should be done with sensitivity and patience because we don’t want to become obsessed with analyzing the obsession.
I might come to the conclusion that my own obsessions are a form of escape from conflict. How harmful is the obsession to myself and society? How might I resolve the conflict within the deep recesses of my mind? How can I accept the obsession and not become averse to it or not indulge it? Is the obsession relatively harmless to me or has it blossomed into a compulsion? Is it something I can resolve alone or should I seek professional therapy?
Most of my friends and acquaintances are positively obsessed with at least one or two things in life. The mild obsessions are aspects of their personalities. Their intense interests add color to their character. I’d say that such obsessions are healthy because they represent focus and purpose to life. Most innocent obsessions cause no harm. One exception might be the Cornhuskers fan down the street. His front yard is an eyesore and borderline public nuisance.