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Dubious virtues.

I really want understand how obsessiveness works and how to use it in a clever way. Seriously, it is my big aspiration. If I will be able to come into a healthy ration ship with it would be a great value for me and humanity. I yes, I say humanity. Thinking big. I will elaborate and hopefully leave no doubt about the necessity of my obsessiveness to explore the world in wonder.

Yesterday I got into one of those hyper creative, obsessive states. I didn’t expect it to come it just sucked me in. I’ll try to unfold what was happen and maybe it will help me to understand the behaviour better. Step by step now. I spontaneously decided to make a small project. It wasn’t coming from any external urge, like an assignment or an exhibition. It was strictly inspired by my intrinsic motivation without a goal. The size of it was just right to complete in one day. The ides was simple, I collected multiple videos, which had repeatable content but in different setting. I was scratching different surfaces, It was easy to gather them because as long as you have nails you can scratch everything around. A short noticing about the nails, which I feel contributed to the experience greatly, nail posh I am wearing now is bright red. Basically when I see myself scratching things, it looks really pretty. I think it adds to the obsessiveness. There are many similarities between obsessiveness and the flow state. It feels that internal mechanism, follows the same logic. What would be the difference then? Obsessiveness has a bad reputation especially if we compare to the flow state. I have to think about it a little longer, I am sure I will find differences, but first which comes to mind is recklessness. Obsessiveness is dangerous, not just for the one who is the source of it, but also for everything around. it is like amplified reckless version of flow. Recklessness being another dubious virtue is also appealing to me. I will explore it another time, starting a series of dubious virtues. I use the concept i came across in the writings by Nate Soares. Who talks about dubious features as potential virtues, under right frame of mind. It is appealing to me to thing about something, we try to push away or suppress, being a virtue. But today, obsessiveness is under surveillance one again. Reflecting upon being posed by the vase of creative obsessiveness yesterday, following components come to mind. I will briefly comment on how I see their role in the process and see if tweaking some of these can give insight on how to be obsessive in a right way.

time spent

I noticed that obsessiveness perpetuates itself. The longer you allow it to spread in time, the more difficult if will be to keep it healthy. Impulsive wave which lasts short and burns out is usually best way to start practicing. Once it becomes long term, other energies start to play role in the process. Habits and routines activate automatisms in obsessiveness and taking attention away from the potent energy itself. So I would recumbent small runs and lots of shifting.

intrinsic motivation

Obsessiveness fuelled by an internal drive, a calling, an unexplained force which moves everything around. There is no external aim or a goal. No-one can fully understand the motivation, but that doesn’t change anything for the one who is obsessed.


This also seems as an important feature. Multiplication is essential in obsessive process. It is also a tricky one where it can flip from right obsessiveness to a habit. And that’s where the power is lost. Recommendation would be to try keeping the eye on the bigger purpose. Which is very difficult and contradictory to obsessiveness. I do believe it is possible, for example by choosing the task which will have a clear boundary. For example, count all the chewing gums on the bridge, I actually did it once. The count was more than 2500. But there was a clear area I unleashed obsessiveness to play. Once it is finished it is done.

narrow focus

This point seems to be fundamental for obsessiveness to core. And it is also very very tricky. As we know the narrower everything becomes the more anxiety it brings. When options are limited, we fall in to a risk aversive mode. But for obsessiveness narrowing is what releases the energy. I think following other recommendations can help in managing narrow focus without going into anxiety.


Seems like another important quality which both can enable obsessiveness to play out, and make sure it does become destructive. Overall confidence help to make a meta-move and step out of the obsessiveness in the right moment.

immediate result

Also an important feature which boosts the movement. Let’s go back to chewing gum example. Every new found gum, is a hit of dopamine. Easy and quick way to keep obsessiveness going. Thinking process is minimised, once the rules are determined. It also frees up a lot of energy and reduces self awareness.


I am not sure about it but form my personal experience, I think obsessiveness is best explored in solitude. Group, even of two people, require coordination of some sort. Even if we imagine the subject of obsessiveness is aligned, action to realise it will have to be discussed, which requires energies and takes away form producing energy.

These are main takeaways form the recent obsessive episode. I can’t say for sure but I feel I started clearly noticing when my obsessiveness takes a lead. Next step wild be to stat directing it in places where it will be useful for others and mere a waste of precious energy generated from within.

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