I was recently told a story and have been witness to its ongoing saga of X and Y or rather X’s obsession with Y. It has been continuing for a good seven years now and the story is nearing its end, something that the obsessed cannot seem to accept. Their attachments are toxic and self-destructive, leading to irrational and harmful immorality in a campaign of so-called ‘love’. This feeling presented has warped beyond all recognition, a far cry from the sweet words of Byron and Proust much more reminiscent of some Eastenders villain that seems to cling on for years and years.
We all have this trait within us as human beings to become overwhelmed and controlled by our passions and pleasures yet these things as much as we can rationalize are selfish things. We take these things from our surroundings and give nothing back when we find ourselves at the mercy of their whims. It can range from drugs and alcohol to anger and melancholy – it’s all an addiction in the end. We get addicted to our vices and hooked on the feelings that they bring and then the feelings themselves. In this case of X, hooked on the feeling of control over another, then hooked on the feeling of rage at lack of control. Underneath of course is the root of fear of being forgotten and alone.
It’s gone so far that X sends Y money on PayPal just to get their attention and around social media blockers. Telling mutual friends that they will hurt themselves or go on some epic quest of self-delusion and obsession across the country to find his so-called ‘twin flame’. Such great lengths we go to, to avoid looking in the mirror. To be able to let go and move onwards seems like such an impossible task to those who revolve their lives over singular passions.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
The obsession and attachment of any particular thing or another has a toxic destiny if not reflected upon and controlled. Look throughout history and see the fall over the obsessive and delusional from Icarus to Richard Ramirez, and see where these strange paths lead to. The legacies of these acts are lessons for others not the actor as often they never face the truth within themselves to see the root of it all. It’s like Marcus Aurelius says, pitiful rather than disgusting in nature as how can we ultimately be disgusted with immorality and vice when every human to ever live has been capable in some way or another of such things.
“This is wickedness: this is what you have often seen. And you should have this thought ready to hand against any eventuality: ‘I have seen this before.’ Generally wherever you look you will find the same things. The histories – ancient, more recent and modern – are full of them: cities and households are full of them today. There is nothing new. All is familiar and short-lived.” – Meditations 7.1
Reflect on the suffering that can be inflicted by people like X on people like Y, or other subjects of desire and false impressions. See these people for what they are: pitiful in need of help. And, in the stoic sense if they are beyond help, then tolerance – or in the case of such people like Richard Ramirez – or containment are the only options left. In the end, what have they gained from their vices but a life of self-inflicted misery? It won’t be Y who will be left to their own loneliness and obsessions, churning like rotten milk, only X.
Sometimes, in cases like X with Y, the obsessed can barely rationalize their own behaviour in their logical minds. They become detached from truth: their own and that of the reality around them. A web of lies becomes a safety blanket woven with years of uncontrolled emotions and enabling. What happens when that blanket is taken away? What’s left behind but a scared infant with attachment issues and bleeding hands from gripping on so tightly?
From Victor Frankenstein to Darth Vader, even in our fantasies the obsessives and the egomaniacal are not figures of light in the narrative. Some may look to these figures as they do Icarus and Ramirez with idolization. Why? Well, is it not obvious? Because in the end, we are all human and all capable of the same vice and recognize qualities in each other no matter how disturbing that reflection may be. Surely, then, the rational response is to not idolize but admire as figures of mistakes, of immorality and vice. The same way we admire morality stories such as Macbeth, not for the people themselves but the lessons we carry from them. Little comfort to those lost, to those left behind of course to the trail of destruction but when we are left with nothing, all we have is everything we came into this life with and the learning along the way.
These people hold little interest for me other than in the academic sense. Darkness is fascinating, after all. Yet, even with all this staring into the abyss that we can do, in the end the outcome is pity for the scared infant and contempt for a poisonous safety blanket of their own misguided design.