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Collecting + Immortality?

Do you ever wonder why you collect? Here is a quote I found recently.

(bolding is my own emphasis, not the author)

"“This has led some scholars to suggest that collecting is a way of managing fears about death by creating a form of immortality. This is consistent with a popular theory in social psychology called the terror management theory (TMT). TMT grows out of an existential predicament--that people, like animals, are mortal. But unlike animals, we are aware of our own mortality. Knowledge of the inevitability of death and its unpredictability can produce paralyzing fear. To cope with this potential terror, cultures provide beliefs, rituals, and sanctioned strategies for managing it. One of these strategies is the belief that some part of ourselves can live on after we die. Producing or amassing something of value is one way to accomplish this. Thus a collection offers the potential for immortality.” ― Randy O. Frost, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things"

Does this resonate with you at all? I never thought of collecting in this way before I read this quote but, after letting it sink in for a while, I believe it can explain my behavior. Specifically, I think a lot about what I am leaving to my kids when I pass away with every acquisition I make.

Collecting things is simple. I'm very interested in the "why" of collecting no matter what. That idea is very complicated. In the future I'll be exploring this idea directly and indirectly with other collectors and I'm both excited and terrified to have those conversations. But self-reflection is crucial for growth, both for ourselves and for our collections.

On that thread, how do you prepare your collection for when you pass away? Might be a good (though morbid) topic for a future post..



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