ADDICTION AND THE COLLECTOR'S ABYSS
In my quest to be a better, more enlightened person I often reflect on what I should and should not be doing. Shopping a lot, for instance, tends to fall under the "What the fuck are you doing with your life?" department.
And this is the thing about stuff:
While I do crave shopping in the way that an addict does, and I think that hinders me, I am also a collector. It's a personality trait and I like it. I am interested in many things, I always have. I study these things. I don't feel like I "need" them, but I am fascinated by them, in awe of them, enchanted by them, I'm so passionate about them.
I've collected all kinds of things throughout my life from shells and rocks to leather masks and fountain pens. It's not really about what the thing is, it's all about how beautiful it is, and the chemistry I have with it. Usefulness is of course a bonus. I like touching my things.
Some things are talismans. We've all been there, some things make us feel good. Which prompts the question, do things have souls? No. But I do believe they have an energy field, and some things are charged with positive, stronger energy than others. This is why I am not usually attracted to things in photographs. I have to "meet" it in person. Some feel right, some feel wrong. To some of you this will sound insane. It's easier to comprehend if you think about food. Food is not a living being with a soul. Yet will anyone deny that your own produce has a much better energy than the meat from a tortured animal? Right.
I don't wish to expand on this but there is something called object sexuality and I don't consider myself to be a textbook example of it, but I believe everybody "suffers" from this condition to an extent. Being attracted to a thing. I have met many musicians who develop a very close "relationship" with their instrument, some even admitting that it will turn them on.
Is that wrong? I don't have an answer.
But I think most collectors experience this. We feel very protective of our stuff, and we don't like other people touching it or using it.
And back to our original dilemma, is being a collector "wrong"? Is it the symptom of a disease? I know for a fact that my collecting gets worse when I'm idle, I think because collecting is easy nowadays- it's been tied up with consumerism, therefore pushed upon us. It can be the lazy option because it's so easy. It was much healthier when we collected berries from the forest. (I would be a hell of a berry collector, by the way). But I'm not the kind of girl who goes on a shopping spree when life goes wrong. When life goes wrong I don't feel like collecting at all. It doesn't make me feel anything, it is only as good as my life is. It doesn't fill in any gaps for me. I know that collecting is not what life is about. Life is about experiences, and money is always much better spent on those. I collect to celebrate life, not to replace it.
I have been wanting to touch up on these subjects for a while because people talk about stuff and shopping as if they are the most superficial things, as if it all comes down to being "materialistic".
"Materialistic" in the way that it is commonly used (ie. "Places the most value on material possessions") is a very short-sighted concept. But of course, that's not what it means. It means "Preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values." (Webster's dictionary) Who has a disinterest on spiritual, intellectual or cultural values? Not me! I pick my objects for all of those values. I'm craz-ey like that. My objects breathe and live and remind me of fucking everything cultural you can imagine and also sing me songs.
In any case, these are not trivial things to ponder at all. Addiction, values and energy is philosophy to the highest degree, and you can't possibly put everybody who "goes shopping" into the same box.
See how confusing that was? This is why I've put "abyss" in the title. I knew this would be a suicidal thesis.