Is an obsession something we obsess over , something we long for, or something we can’t be without or all of the aforementioned ? Too often in society referring to someone as being obsessed has negative connotations, whereas some may argue that the line between dedication and obsession is very fine and that in order to be successful and to rise above the average a modicum of obsession is required. This argument begs the question, what is it healthy to become obsessed over and what should we adopt a more considered and composed attitude towards? The answer to this will often depend on such variables like age, demographic, socio economic position.
Football fans may be considered to have an unhealthy obsession with their preferred club, often putting everything else including family and friends to one side in order to follow and support the team they love. The performance of the team is often irrelevant as this obsession has more to do with the demonstrable manner in which they can highlight their passion knowledge and support for their team, often aligning obsession with ownership. This obsession extends as far as constantly requiring data and information not only pertaining to their team, but also the team’s competition and rivals and this football fan will require this data at their fingertips via text SMS, the internet etc.
A football fan may require a mobile phone to stay connected to their obsession but for many teenagers the mobile phone is the obsession itself. The device has the power to keep the teenager engaged and connected with more than just a team, more importantly it keeps them connected to their peer group, friends, enemies and high street. The mobile device equates to real time information not only via the numerous social media platforms today’s youth entertain but also through the various more mainstream communication platforms like email and SMS. The scale of this mobile phone obsession amongst this young impressionable group has led to a wide range of language and image innovations that have infiltrated the way we communicate and text message. New three letter acronyms and emojis dominate messaging far more than they did 20 years ago.
Let’s consider the plight of an athlete or professional sportsman or sportswoman. Is winning the obsession or is being the best individual, they can possibly be the actual obsession. Could it be that winning is a byproduct of the obsession, is the fact that athletes are obsessed with training that some may consider their discipline and adherence to fitness, diet, rest to be unhealthy but that this unhealthy dedication towards a healthy existence is what makes them winners? Sustained commitment towards a lifestyle, object or subject is often confused with obsession but what if it’s the obsession that guarantees success!
What of political and religious ideals, probably the most dangerous of obsessions. A total an unabated fixation on a preferred way of life. A dedication to a perspective or direction that society should take and embrace to the detriment of other streams of thought. In some cultures, this obsession might lead to the erosion of democracy, a lack of bi partisan tolerance or even violence. The concerning and perturbing factor with this type of obsession is that according to the obsessed everyone else is wrong or incorrect. There is absolutely zero room for a shared dichotomy of thought and a lack of acceptance and respect for other schools of thought.
In a world where individuals shape society and where technology drives innovation will our obsessions evolve and change, will teenagers chill as they get older or find another device, do the most vociferous of football fans ever entertain a world without their team or club or even choose another and as athletes naturally lose their edge and competitiveness does the desire to win and be the best wane leading to less will to train. In a world of political flux does the acceptance of alternate schools of thought and diverse thinking ever appear on the radar of the most extreme. Can we shift away from our obsession or do we simply find a new one?