My partner says I lurch from one obsession to another.
I don’t see anything wrong in that. I get a huge amount of energy every time out of delving into some new area.
I think it’s wonderful, but my partner just puts her hands to her head and sighs, ‘My God, a new obsession!’ I look at her in amazement: Don’t you think that’s fascinating?’
Real discoveries are made through the right mix of obsession, intelligence and intuition. In other words: a touch of autism, a touch of wisdom and actively looking out for that spark, for that happy coincidence. No tenure track can compete with that. It only creates forced obsession, which is counter-productive in the long run. ‘In the end it will backfire,’ as they would say in Africa. I don’t believe great thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Justus von Liebig or William McDonough and Michael Braungart, or any other great inventor-scientist, were ever on a tenure track.
I flit through life from obsession to obsession, but who knows — I may yet make a major discovery, and if not my son will have to do it for me.
He has a big obsession: public transport buses! He knows all the town and regional buses off by heart, including the stops to and from Arnhem and the departure times. On our last visit to the cinema, we were engrossed in a passionate love scene while he was concentrating on the ‘number 83 to the station’ and other buses passing in the background!