As a psychologist, I’m not telling you what I personally call the Faust Complex.
It is not about addiction to good literature or zealous curiosity.
It’s about morbid desire for knowledge.
There is a lot of talk about addiction – rather in the context of stimulants. Sometimes you will come across another river – workaholism.
But what about addiction to … acquiring new knowledge and experience? Your head seems to be pulsing with the amount of knowledge you are absorbing and you are still hungry. It accompanies you around the clock.
When you suffer from the Fausta complex, it dominates all aspects of life. You actually think only about what would be interesting to read here – after all, such knowledge will be useful (at least you tell yourself)
The desire to reach for a book or any source with a portion of fresh knowledge prevents you from functioning. You start wondering how many moments you lose during the day: commuting, making dinner, eating it. You come to the conclusion that these are hours – hours (!) That you could spend on acquiring new knowledge or experiences. You catch the nights because the day is too short for your thirst for knowledge, need for development. The question is … what for?
Knowledge must be for something!
Is the highest value when it comes to sharing – preferably with reciprocity – it sounds great?
The thing is, however, that no one likes those who know a lot and especially those who know more. Proposal? Knowledge is not good to share. In a larger group you are condemning yourself to faux pas for “smarting”. Nobody likes the Przemądrzalski family. You can show a minimum of knowledge – but not too much.
When is knowledge still valuable?
Most often we reach for specific knowledge in a given field, when we do it for some purpose.
What seems significant to me in the “Faust complex” is the promise you make to yourself when you reach for another dose of knowledge – we are talking about a specific goal. Do you want to learn carpentry? It is much easier to absorb a dozen books about it than to take a chisel and take action.
Such promises are usually not implemented – excuses will always be enough, as well as arguments to take some knowledge again! … Real addiction.
Finally comes the question that may suggest an answer closer to the truth – Maybe it’s pure hedonism when I open the book? I acquire knowledge out of pure curiosity, and the mere fact of its hamstering in my head is a pleasure enough for me. Simple? Maybe too simple.
I’ll go a step further. What if all those books that surround Faust sufferers are a clever escape from people? It is easier with people from books than with whom you enter into a lively relationship.
By reading Gadamer you interact with his thoughts with what he has to convey to you. You take a swim in the river of knowledge and experience – in return without giving anything.
What a convenient layout!
I remain on the topic of one way of acquiring knowledge – books or reading. However, there are other ways – but I think the mechanism is similar.
It is all about providing new stimuli.
But how does such addiction work? Probably like any other – and like any other it affects so many aspects of life that one could write about it … a book!
However, what is most important – learning about the effect that too much science can have – can be learned from Goethe’s canonical reading.
Excess knowledge makes you miserable. The more you know, the more you gain awareness about how lame and limited you are and how little you know …
It can be the other way around – when there is another threat – what if your attempts to use knowledge fall into ruins under its weight? When you really dream about something and try to get to something as matter-of-fact as possible. After all, you have the right theoretical knowledge to put the plan into practice. All sources in a given topic have been explored.
However, you do not dare to try – the excess of your knowledge prevents you, paralyzes the fear of failure because you know too well how multi-faceted problem you are undertaking and you know what the goal achieved at the professional level should look like. Meanwhile, others who do not have a clue about the topic with full boldness try, gradually gaining knowledge (or not) – and finally succeed!
Who falls into this addiction to seeking knowledge? It is possible that, as in others, stifle other problems that everyone is struggling with.
Depressing? None of these things. Just be moderate before you wake up one day and find that several decades have passed that you have spent acquiring knowledge that you will not spend with even a few lives.
Measure your knowledge, choose it wisely. In a sense, she is responsible for identity, without her there would be no progress – but too much … not healthy! Knowledge does not mean wisdom – it can lead to it but it is certainly not a synonym.