Friday, March 31, 2017

What Do Pet Peeves and Hypochondria Have in Common?

George Bernard Shaw was a famous hypochondriac (Life photo archive)
A pet peeve is delusory. You focus on it with the underlying presumption that your life will be much improved once it’s eliminated. It’s a little like hypochondria. The hypochondriac is convinced that he or she will be happy if they are not dying of something—a highly dubious premise at best, to the extent that like the main character of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, NY we are all ultimately dying of life—only to find out that at the end of his or her search for the right to life a symptom of an even more pernicious disease crops up. That’s what people who have many pet peeves and hypochondriacs have in common. New irritations and fears are the fuels that keep their hopes alive. Without the anger at this or that inconvenience or the terror that they’ve picked up some virulent form of antibiotic resistant bacteria, they will have to face something even more primordial and base. What is it? Obviously, it’s impossible to make generalized statements about the deeper modus vivendi of humanity, but it’s probably safe to say that many of the surface bartering that individuals do with higher authorities whether they be God or fate or just the act of daydreaming and wishing employ obsession to cover up more implacable adversaries.

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