"General Interest" as a special interest

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Filipendula
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21 Nov 2012, 4:52 pm

Does anyone relate to this? The idea of being interested in absolutely everything in an obsessive way. I have two examples:

Myself - I always have a million projects on the go and the breadth of different subjects, media etc is pretty huge. I'll happily dabble in plants, science, programming, databasing, art, knitting, history, mythology, nature, animation, Excel etc. etc. I have certain topics which just do not interest me at all like money and politics and then others that I've made a decision to avoid so that I'll have more time and energy to devote to my real passions. However, my real passions are so many and varied that I almost never finish anything I start and can be reading 12 books and working on 5 projects simultaneously. It gets exhausting to manage.

My Father - he's a classic BAP professor type person. He's had lots of obsessions over the years (waterwheels, halloween parties, grottos etc), but the think that really stands out about him is the way that he knows absolutely everything about almost anything. He's incredibly well-informed and educates himself constantly on minute aspects of current affairs or Victorian tufa recipes. But the other thing he does is take a real interest in what other people are doing. If I tell him about any of my projects there's a good chance he'll instantly bombard me with 20 questions and then another 20 once those are done. He frequently gets shouted at by family because he'll demand answers to his questions even if we don't have one. It can be really exhausting, but he seems to think that if he just keeps asking the same question in 20 different ways, we'll suddenly realise that we did know the answer after all and that we're just keeping it a secret to taunt him. He is great though, for all of that.

Does this make sense as an alternative manifestation of special interests?


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Dannyboy271
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21 Nov 2012, 5:01 pm

I do the same. It's really annoying, because I used to have a problem with a million started projects, and jumping back and forth over everything. I kinda like it though, because I learned a ton, and I'm still learning a ton. BUT I'm training myself to get focused a bit... so I can finish stuff... because I haven't finished anything yet...



theWanderer
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21 Nov 2012, 5:03 pm

I lean a bit this way, although I usually have one or two very specific interests.


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Si_82
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21 Nov 2012, 6:14 pm

Yes, I have my main interests but I have been listening a lot to a podcast called Stuff You Should Know which talks in detail about a different random subject each time and I learn all sorts of interesting facts like that the noise of thunder is the imploding vacuum created by the lightning exploding the air it travels through and that after a while the skin on a dead body slips off the muscle so investigators have get fingerprints by actually wearing the hand skin over a latex glove.


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Nascaireacht
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21 Nov 2012, 7:11 pm

Although I do have special interests, I also have a tendency to get interested in a minor way in tons of other subjects. It was very useful when I spent 14 years as a public librarian!



Filipendula
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21 Nov 2012, 7:24 pm

Thanks for the replies. I posted this because my partner and I have just had a mini-tiff on a related theme which made me wonder about my motivations (because he asked me).

Basically, he was on his laptop and I was on mine which is our usual evening routine. He asked if he was allowed to make noise and I said 'of course', thinking he meant music. However he put on a BBC Radio 4 show that we both enjoy.

So then I was in a quandary, because if there's one thing I can't do, it's read all my tabs and do my special interest research, whilst also having verbal audio in my ear. Therefore my logic was that, since I'd said yes to the noise, I couldn't ask him to turn it off. So instead I quietly put down my laptop and picked up my knitting so that I could knit and listen to the show and then get back to my research afterwards.

He noticed and asked if I wanted the show or if he should turn it off. That was the point at which it all went wrong and he got annoyed. The problem was that I just couldn't say 'yes, I want the show', because although I sort of did (it's a good show), I also sort of didn't (it was disrupting my research) so I'd be lying if I said I definitely wanted it, but I also had no problem keeping it on and would have had equally mixed feelings if he'd turned it off. So my response was vague (read mute) and frustrating for him.

He expects me to be able to prioritise my interests more effectively than that. But most of my interests all float around the exact same level and I'd only really be happy if I had 26 arms, 8 brains and a time turner so that I can get everything I want to do done simultaneously and in a time warp. No?

So, yeah, it made me think that maybe I have too much interest in too many things and now he wants me to choose and I wondered if anyone else ends up having silly stupid arguments like this? :P


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