There are only two things in life which cause genuine suffering: obsession and addiction.
Subjective existence constantly passes through reality, fantasy, imagination, reason, will and action. It also goes the other way around passing through reality, action, will, reason, imagination and fantasy.
Whenever we’re active we start by changing reality with some action, then incorporate it into our internal processes by using will, and then synthesise it using reason, enabling us to use imagination to see new ways of doing the action, and then to integrate these ways into our past experience, thus forming a fantasy, which we’ll bring into reality.
Whenever we’re passive we start by fantasising on some aspect of reality, then developing it into a desired state with imagination, which then gets analysed with reason, enabling us to assume it by using our will, to empower the enacting of it, with an action which changes reality.
These active and passive loops analyse whatever happens depending on the type of experience we’re having and at some point either reason or reality interrupt or break the loop. From reality come interruptions and from reason come breaks.
Addiction is the active state which drops reason and reality from the process.
Obsession is the passive state which drops reason and reality from the process.
Both addiction and obsession skip over reason’s synthesis or analysis and do not either start or end into reality.
Addiction starts with the action, the compulsive behavior, an action completely unrelated to reality. Addiction starts its cycle a lot of times with triggers, but triggers are not in reality, triggers are in our inner representation of reality. That action, which is always the same, shifts the internal process into the addictive state by the means of will, and skipping reason the addictive state creates an illusory imaginative state, which we’re using through fantasy to cover our past experience, and then, by skipping a reality check, we’re enabling a renewed action, thus taking the addictive cycle into a new loop.
Obsession starts with fantasy, but a fantasy which instead of being based in reality is effectively replacing it. Trauma is the usual suspect. The fantasy is then developed into a complex system of assumptions by our imagination bringing about the obsessive state. Skipping reason the obsessive state hijacks our internal process by the means of our will, then and triggers a specific set of actions who are not meant to affect reality but the fantasy we originally started from, a fantasy we’re back to, thus starting the obsessive cycle’s next loop.
There difference between obsession and addiction is hard to spot from the outside unless you monitor the order of behavioural steps. Also one can have both obsessive and addictive behaviors about the same subject because we’re able to process many experiences in the background of our subconscious and the breakdown of a subject in small little personal experiences is not apparent.
Interventions work because they bring reality back into the loop.
AA support groups work because they bring reason back into the loop.
They work as well as they’re set up and not everyone benefits equally. Interventions and AA groups work for both obsessions and addictions, as they are common to manifest together.
Monks practice their ascension by the suffering generated by obsession.
We’re all both addicted and obsessed.
Most addictions we suffer from are invisible to us. Only the ones who interfere with what our current society expects are noticed.
At the same time we humans could’t have managed to survive as a species without addictions and obsessions. Almost all great advancement is because one of these. What is happening with the afflicted ones is that they take over the entire personality: addictive personality and obsessive personality.
What I believe happens is that the speed of either obsessive or addictive cycles gets so fast, that there is a cyclone formed inside our selves that sucks in the entire consciousness.
Which means the cycles we go through are important to prevent addiction and obsession from taking over. First as much as possible always use reason and pay attention to reality.
The enemy of reason is belief. The enemy of reality is routine. Diversity as well as variety is the safeguard from routine. Individualisation is the safeguard from belief.
The second option is to break the cycle by elliminating a step. The third option is to heal whatever triggers addictive actions or obsessive fantasies.
As for me, I’m addicted to my obsessions.