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Obsessive Devotion

By Carl S ~

There have been cases of destructive obsession in the media, probably the most well-known, John Lennon's murder by an obsessed fan. Obsessions also include ideas and ideals: The Civil War in the States was fought over slavery versus the abolition of slavery. Obsession with a personality having an idealized goal is very powerful when it feels so right it just has to be the most important feeling ever. History is replete with examples: The symbolic Christ and Mithras, conquerors of death, and Hitler, Napoleon, Gandhi, Alexander, etc., all arriving at the right time and circumstances to succeed, for good or evil. They inspired obsessive devotion.

I'm obsessed with writing clearly and honestly. But I still remember my obsession with a woman 56 years ago. It ended when she said, “I'm not the person you made me out to be.” But the person really existed. We know people who insist they have a “personal relationship” with a “Jesus” they've only heard of. For them, “Jesus” means an ultimate compassionate, all-forgiving, always dependable, eternal lover. Doesn't that describe everyone's desirable delusion? Those who have an “intimate relationship” with “Him” just know “he understands what's in my heart.” Really? They'll tell you that you have to experience “his presence” yourself because, “It can't be explained.” Oh? Well, thanks for telling me that. Huh! (Excuse me - what has this have to do with morality?) If you could go back to ancient Egypt, you'd meet these believers counterparts in the just as convinced worshipers of Ra, Isis, and Osiris. Big deal. We're supposed to be impressed with their feel-good testimonies, or desire to be in the same nuthouse, just because they're “Christian?”

Whoops! Maybe you were one of those gullible, trusting “chosen” ones. When you gave up faith in this Imaginary Lover, you also let go of a possibility of becoming obsessed with “him.” Maybe now you understand what the lead character in Sinclair Lewis' novel, “Dodsworth,” meant when he said: “Love has got to stop someplace short of suicide.” Being a slave becomes a heavy burden after a while.

Religions nurture obsessive beliefsNature leaves us and other creatures unprepared and vulnerable to seduction. Sometimes the seduction leads to death. Obsessions resulting from religious seductions are no exception, where they're exploited. More out of necessity than convenience, religions nurture obsessive beliefs. If you're indoctrinated to believe prayer or karma will bring you a savior who intuitively understands your needs and will solve your problems, you're being set up for obsession.

After some time, the “Person” doesn't even need to be present, but simply believed in through hearsay. Simply by having two or three gathered together in “his” name can bring the feeling “he” is in their midst. So, obsessed groups become fan clubs and even cults. Their obsession with their Celebrity, and hopes for longings to be fulfilled, are all-important. It follows that individuality and personal responsibility are surrendered. The option to live as a free individual is wasted in obeying rituals.

Though the lives of Koresh, Jim Jones, Hitler, and Jesus, etc., ended with self or provoked suicide, death doesn't diminish the obsession some have for them and other popular charismatics, and what they represent. Their followers were willing to die for them. Even after their deaths, what they represent still attracts followers. It's impossible to argue against such wholehearted, faith-filled certainty; it usually has been halted only through force of arms. What would have happened without Christian soldiers killing with the cross leading them on? What could have happened if all those obsessives had instead been free to become obsessed with devotion to clear thinking and reasoning? More to the point, what will happen to your life?