Enlightened Conflict

an obsession for learning

May 9th, 2016

obsessed 1


“Sureness will always elude you.

The detective will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole. We do not go on despite this.

We go on because of it.”



Claire DeWitt




“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”obsessed 2



Virginia Woolf







I had not really thought much about obsession until I came across this Harry Potter gif.


He has a point.


A really good point.

planning my day learning

Far too often we seem to judge obsession in absolutes … as in absolutely unhealthy, bad or creepy.


Obsession is clearly one of those words which seems to be made up of a lot of bad perceptions.


But what if you have an obsession with learning … or reading … or some specific topic like science, math or woodworking … or any ‘increased knowledge-based’ aspect of Life.


That kind of seems like a good worthwhile obsession.

Well. At least it offers some sense of ‘reason’ that you can bolt on to the everyday survival aspect of Life.


But let’s take a moment on obsession with learning.


Life, and learning, and even curiosity in general … means most of us are trapped in an endless chase.


The real scam people try and sell you is that some milestone or some objective represents some end point. I imagine another part of the scam is something I tried to debunk back in 2010 … the whole concept of “well rounded” learning and people.


What we are taught about learning — how to learn, what to learn & what learning is important – is very different than what most of us feel & perceive when we encounter learning.

And the rules look even more out of whack if you are one of the ones who is obsessive about learning something.


Those of us who have encountered, and embraced, obsession recognize that the game is rigged. We know there is no perfection. We know there is actually no end. We know that our obsession is a means to an end and more often a favorite piece of clothing we will inevitably store away on the closet to be replaced by some other piece of clothing we will wear endlessly … until we become obsessed with another.


What this means is that anyone with a relatively healthy obsession will endlessly circle around whatever they want more of … and do so willingly because it was what he/she wants.


We visit the extremes seeking the extreme edge of something that is infinite and, yet, we find solace in the extremeness and not an unhealthy pursuit of something that will never actually be sated.

obsessed uninterested switch

A good obsession may actually mean you have the high unrealistic expectations and yet are able to mix and match them with the curiosity exploration of the day.


I was a young obsessive-topic  reader <which concerned my parents on a number of levels> … and to this day have aspects of obsessiveness in all learning and exploring opinions, truths and belief.


I tend to believe obsessive learning is effective for a variety of reasons.


It is self imposed.


It is defined by a chosen environment & topic rather than a dictated one.


Measurement is … well … unmeasurable in traditional terms where the measurement objective is an unquantifiable “enough when it is enough” <we dictate the ‘satedness’>.



At its root level obsession is all about “wanting more.” And with regard to learning … the ‘more’ is not some well-rounded evenly shaped smooth journey. And therein lies obsession biggest challenge in life. Unevenness makes people feel uncomfortable. They seek ‘well rounded’ and ‘planned exploration’ in terms of what is right. Therefore if you are obsessive on one topic or one task you are not … well … doing it right.


And that kind of seems silly to me.

I am sure that someone will point out that there truly is a ‘righter way’ to learn but in my pea like brain learning driven from the inside of someone is significantly more powerful than learning dictated by someone outside of me.




I tend to believe part of youth is learning about obsessions and constantly being obsessed with something and some things.

Unfortunately, adults confuse exploration with youth obsession.

Sure. Sometimes the exploration can verge on some unhealthiness but more often than not it is a pursuit of ‘more’ within something liked or desired. The pursuit itself becomes a means to a different end in that exploration means one encounters new things … which can encourage a diverting path and a new obsession.


That is partially what youth is.


It was in my day and it remains so today <although reading things online suggests many adults seem to think the young are more obsessive than ever – note: no research proving that>.


For some this obsession learning path provides a focus for adulthood.


For some this obsession becomes an unhealthy adult pattern.


For some this obsession becomes a healthy relentless pursuit of something ‘more’ in adulthood.



I would never suggest that an obsession with learning is easy mostly because … well … anything extreme runs the risk of edging a little toward madness <or at least maddening to the people around>. But I will suggest that an obsession with learning is one of those youth obsessions which translates fairly well into adulthood. I could even suggest that an obsession with learning, as long as you don’t get too full of yourself, means you maintain a certain youthfulness toward Life.







To be honest, I haven’t completely figured out how to resolve obsession I simply manage it and think I am always working on it.obsessions people


What I do know is that those of us who are obsessed with learning will always be dissatisfied with what we do not know.



I assume anyone who struggles with some obsession and even manages it has figured out a way of managing the overall dissatisfaction versus “satisfaction I have actually made some inroads with regard to my ‘more’ desire.”


But I have learned that the pursuit of your obsession has to have meaning in order for it to be a healthy obsession.


And meaning can take form in a variety of ways … but it cannot be a simple milestone or objective but rather an embodiment of some growth or ‘moreness’ <not actual attainment of something>.




At least that is how I figured it out.





Enlightened Conflict