Sunday, June 5, 2016
What’s the Difference between Obsession and Love?
We often see novelists pen words such as, he couldn’t stop thinking about her, nearly all thoughts came back to her. “I think about you every day (moment).” “I’m obsessed with her.”
These words and similar are often used in describing various points in the romantic arc; to describe the hero's awakening, previously content with one-night stands or video games. But, it is technically wrong. These words can be used to describe obsession, a word that carries so many negative connotations. Yes the hero can be overwhelmed by the heroine over time (or in the case of love at first sight, instantly) but it is all in the way this affection is focused with appropriate prose. Before we go further, let’s review the definitions.
Obsession: 1. the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
Love: 1. A profoundly tender, passionate affectionate for another person, esp. when based on sexual attraction.
Fiction writers are forever being told to show don’t tell. A man falling in love when confronted by thoughts of his beloved will think of how he can make her laugh, happy, lighten her day, make her feel special, plan for a great life together, which will mesh their ideas. He’ll plan something to do or say for when he sees her next. And oh yes, he will listen to learn, react and for both of them to grow.
On the other hand, an obsession can often be all about the hero. Something in his psyche (or hers) needs feeding. He will feel better about himself because he can get or have that very lovely heroine. He might declare that she completes him or that he is nothing without her. This is hyperly and sweet but deep down it is often a sign of insecurity. It could be said that the heroine is a momument to his ability to pick, or an acclimation of his worthiness.
I’m just saying, be careful in developing his focus. Is it inward and needy or outward and healthy?
On a side note: Mohammad Ali was not only obsessed in its most positive form but he dearly loved humanity. He knew he would be champ (because he was that good) and said so. He also said that the heart was the greatest gift we have (the hero is not a champ without it).
There is no better mix of obsession and love than in the following, I’ll be Seeing You by Billie Holiday, 1944 (if clicking on Billie's picture doesn't work, click on the link below the picture. For the greatest generation this song described the hell of war. Any guy or gal had every right and perhaps a duty to their own mental well being to grow an obsession for a soldier who either will not or may not come home.