The Concept of Obsession as a Medical Diagnosis Part 1

While I knew Obsession could be considered a medical illness, I was unaware of how common a diagnostic it was within our society. Often I had categorized Obsession in my mind as a very broad and general statement and that the exact cause of the Obsession would lead to the true diagnostic. However, this is not the case most of the time, regardless of the driving force behind the obsession, the affects on the human being are exactly the same, this makes obsession a very common, but still very legitimate statement. For example Bruce Wayne, has an obsession with the death of his parents and bringing down the villains of Gotham City, and will do anything to complete this goal. Harley Quinn is obsessed with the Joker, and she will do anything in order to aid the Joker. In other words obsession can be used as a term to describe the basic human emotion of desperation and helplessness. The thing that truly drives Batman to become what he is, is that he felt helpless to his situation. The same goes for Harley, while desperation relies more on fulfilling her mad love for the Joker, it is still the same mind set as no matter how crazy it may seem, or how stupid it is I will change my outcome. In the real world and not the world of where Super Heroes roam, Obsession is not much different. While the cases may not seem as out there, in our world, many of them are. Most Wars beginnings in our world can be traced back to human's feeling desperate and cornered and becoming obsessed with the idea of victory, and to try and fend off this feeling of helplessness. Nationalism, was one of the main causes of World War I, I myself have often associated the ideas and concepts of nationalism with a false sense of pride, that is caused by this desperation to not feel insignificant, and to make others feel beneath you. The obsession that is brought about by an inferiority complex  is quite incredible. This very well may be, just as in our world, a leading cause of villains in comic books. I can easily trace Selina Kyle's beginnings back to her developing and inferiority complex, and wishing to feel superior to those around her. This obsession with becoming better than or dominate over everyone, most likely led to her kleptomania. Often kleptomania is brought about by the idea of wanting to make those that you personally idealize as greater than yourself, and by taking from them making them become lower than yourself. The terms desperation, and obsession will be a reoccurring theme in my Arkham posts, so this is kind of a tester to get feed back on inconsistent ideas tell me what you think =) This is only basic ideas not fully thought out ones...so please feel free to criticize 

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8 Comments
Posted by SC

This is a great thread. Nice topic. Its one of those things that is sort of there and apparent but not really discussed or put into words as eloquently as you have. Really a lot of characters in comics I find are border line obsessive since though one context they seem to, well lets say simple, and a lot of writers, will, I feel, well a lot of older stories, the writers due to the demands of the plot will tend to tone down character's general awareness to better create say a more accessible fictional reality for us the reader.  
 
Awareness of ones self and the realities around them I think is a useful tool in understanding ones or others obsessive tendencies. I loved Norman Osborn in Elli's Thunderbolts run, since we have a writer who is very aware and he writes his characters as aware and smart and so Norman's obsession with Spider-man is extremely well acted out in the story. Norman isn't presented as cookie cutter villain. He is aware that certain members of the Thunderbolts, make for good publicity and thus good publicity for his team, the better it reflect on him, he even knows that songbird is toyetic lol (she makes for great merchandize and toys) so he is smart and aware of his world, but... he is also insane, and also obsessed with Spider-man. His assistant mentioned a bunch of heroes that they had been assigned to capture. Supervlue, Candy Flower, Steel Spider, Symmetry Flower etc, and Norman who is this smart and aware character suddenly pauses... and just the mention of another character with the name Spider has him start asking her repeatedly if she said Spider-man? He was convinced she had, and then he started laughing and grinning and well losing it... and of course if you don't know, we already know he is obsessed with Spider-man. It plays into inferiority complexes as well, and all that too.  
 
Anyway in modern stories thats the sort of take on obsession that I like. I am a bit behind on my Gotham City Sirens reading, but I have polarizing views on what's going on there with Harley and Joker. I have actually always sort of wanted/wished Harley was a Marvel character lol, I like her more as formerly being obsessed and now having a light infatuation with Joker, but I am sort of sick of him being such a big part of her life. Hence my wish to see her hanging out with Elektra, Deadpool, Hulk, and various other Marvel characters. No doubt because being a big fan of hers and finding her endearing it sort of tugs on my heart strings a bit to see in desperate circumstance. Its her crazy, dangerous, funny, wild, dark side I much prefer to see depicted. Oh and back to awareness, she seems fairly naive, but in an unusual way. Way that might mean she is not naive at all. (Sort of like Delirium from Sandman) and also, my long term wish for Harley is that she might start alternating between a Delirium, to Delight type character switch. I mean just randomly now and then. lol (dressing differently, still being crazy, but almost serene like crazy and silly) but then back to more 'Delirium' like force she so well personifies.  
 
Again, great blog! Very nice!

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Posted by RazzaTazz

You should start running your blog ideas by me first in case I want to poach them from you before you write them ... :P  Seriously though this is quite a well thought out post.  Its strange though that obsession is only regarded as bad if it enhances a bad action.  No one would complain about someone that is obsessed with something like organizing a community garden. 
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Posted by SC
@RazzaTazz:  I would if they didn't portray it right. I am only mildly interested in community gardens and yet many comic book characters supposedly obsessed with community gardens can't even tell Bonsai from their Bosco Sacro.
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Posted by RazzaTazz
@SC:
I suppose thats a valid point, and thats why most people obsessed with community gardens are villains!
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Edited by thehummingbird
@RazzaTazz:  
 
haha, I am glad it comes across this way..most of these blogs I just sit down and do stream of thought writing...thank you though again =) When it comes to positive obsessions. it relates back to false ideals of perfection, these ideals often lead into a negative obsession. The reason perfection in itself is irrational and unachievable making the whole concept irrational and consuming...It turns out to be a whole bunch of never ending irony and can easily mentally destroy all logic in a person...I hope I made this clear, because I am not sure if my words represent my thoughts. 
Posted by thehummingbird
@SC:  
 
I am not as big a marvel fan as I am DC so I do not really want Harley to move, though I wish she would take Ivy's advice and ditch the Joker, because her personality is my favorite out of all the DC characters...fun to read and everything. Her psychotic, but well put together mental state I find very alluring, Her psychiatrist background is something I am wanting to heftily analyze.  
 
Awareness, is something I believe a lot of villains are lacking. The whole concept of cognitive thought seems to be beyond them. Thanks for the compliment. I really need to check out Norman, for I have not heard much about this character, but he seems quite interesting, and a good test subject. He kind be my marvel version of my Arkham posts XD
Posted by SC
@thehummingbird:  I understand, its not like many of my favorite Marvel characters who I feel can't escape the shadows of other Marvel characters, I want moved to DC lol, but I have this pessimistic notion, that Harley will never be able to escape Joker's creative chokehold on her until she starts being more profitable than him and for reasons not associated with him, and have writers willing to embrace that as well, which I don't think will happen. Not just him really either, I like to use Batman for this analogy usually, I really like Batman, I don't love him though, I feel he works better in DC as a somewhat underrated character, rather than being revered by so many other characters. I mean I know why it happens, and for the most part characters like Oracle and Dick can have long periods of time where they sort of escape his projected awesomeness, but given his popularity with fans and writers and DC, every know and then, so many characters sort of have to pay their due. Except each time, to me it feels like a little bit of regression. With Harley its the same thing, with a lot of characters. Most prominently Joker, lots of little moments of regression, and in all other media as well she is projected as even more dependent to him. In that sense, being in another Universe whe she actually could be the Joker? Her own character? Oh and Poison Ivy and Catwomen and all my favorite characters should convert! Will save me money LOL 
 
Yes she is great discussion, deconstruction material!! 
 
Yes thats true, a few heroes to, but in their case its usually endearing. Let me know about Norman, I can scan in lots of great scenes I think you would find fascinating and great to work with with you assessment/diagnosis of mental states.  
 
@RazzaTazz:  That not doubt, and the visual appeal and fragrance of the gardens. I suspect childhood incidents also may be a factor here. 
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Edited by thehummingbird
@SC:  
 
I wish they would make a scenario where Joker had died..*though Harley in my opinion would probably kill herself if this happened, Poison Ivy could stop her, and therefore begin the Harley arc, maybe I should write and draw this one day...) Batman I also agree is not my favorite DC character just that the Batman universe I believe offers a lot of dark plot lines compared to many other comic series. Also since Bruce Wayne has so many issues he is easy to pick at in my opinion.  
 
Oh and thank you! I will make Norman on my list too...I have no idea how i am going to make all this time...>.<