What's an idée fixe?

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👋Welcome to the free weekly edition of Idée Fixe.

First of all, thank you for being here. This is my first newsletter and I’m excited to have the privilege to land in your inbox once a week.

Idée Fixe will be your weekly deep dive into the ideas that matter and dominate our minds for a prolonged period. I’ll take a topic, dive into it and share my findings with you here.

The topics will range from remote work (because we haven’t yet heard enough about it in 2020), the lab-grown industry, the European tech scene, Formula One, filter bubbles, fast fashion and sustainability, productivity and efficiency lessons…

Sign up for my limited-run newsletter if any (or maybe) all of this piques your interest.

What’s an idée fixe?

🎶According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the term "idée fixe" was coined by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. He used the term to describe the principal repetition in his Symphonie fantastique. As a directive to a musician, “it’s a theme expressed repeatedly, with or without variation, throughout a composition”.

📚At about the same time, another Frenchman, this time novelist Honoré de Balzac used "idée fixe" in Gobseck to describe an obsessive idea.

💡By 1836, Balzac's more generalized use of the term had carried over into English, where "idée fixe" was embraced as a literary term for a persistent preoccupation or delusional idea that dominates a person's mind.

In the most simplistic way, an idée fixe is an idea that dominates one’s mind for a prolonged period. Nowadays this has come to include both the delusional and the pedestrian obsessions that we may encounter.

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My own history with idées fixes

I constantly have a few idées fixes swirling around my brain that I’m fixated on, and really I just needed a good excuse to summarise and catalog each of them. So I thought why not share the work. 🤷‍♀️

These are broad or even very niche topics that I find fascinating. They seem to continuously come up in discussions, in books, in podcasts but rarely are they the main topic of discussion.