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obsession, passion, fixation: first, let’s define some terms…

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have an abiding interest in and affection for soap opera. Family and friends know that, like Julia Child, I'm very good at eating - and cooking. And even people I've just met know about me and chocolate. But do any rise to the level of obsession, passion or fixation? With such a tight deadline, I didn't have time to ponder and parse the differences among them, so I turned to Merriman-Webster's.


a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly: compelling motivation <an obsession with profits

something that causes an obsession

passion (non religions definitions)

emotion <his ruling passion is greed. plural the emotions as distinguished from reason b: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c: an outbreak of anger.

ardent affection : love b: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c: sexual desire d: an object of desire or deep interest


the act, process, or result of fixing, fixating, or becoming fixated: as a: a persistent concentration of libidinal energies upon objects characteristic of psychosexual stages of development preceding the genital stage b: stereotyped behavior (as in response to frustration) c: an obsessive or unhealthy preoccupation or attachment

It appears there's a pathological aspect to both obsession and fixation. So, for soaps, I'm going to go with passion - in the "ardent affection for, strong liking of, devotion to" sense of the word.

Now, when it comes to food, I'd be lying if I didn't cop to fixation. How else to explain that when I'm in the pool -four, sometimes five times a week - I think about food a lot and, of course, chocolate in particular. But not in that obsessive "if I do X amount of exercise, I can eat Y." Regarding the "libidinal energies" aspect of fixation - well, you can make of that what you will.

When it comes to obsession, I just can't get past the "disturbing preoccupation" part. But, were you to speak with certain people with whom I've crossed paths over the years, they might posit that I've do have a rather persistent proclivity for delineating distinctions, pursuing clarity and creating context for just about everything I discuss. But that's not really such a bad thing, is it?

© 2009 Lynn Liccardo

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