April 19, 2005 | Category:

Order, Part 2: Collections

Tins. I know a man who collects tins. Vinyl. I know people who collect vinyl. Badges. I know a girl who collects badges. Cuddly toys. I know someone who collects bears and other similar stuffed toys. If you ask any one of them why, they can’t give good answers. Most of them “like” what they collect but if asked why they “like” it, they are stumped.

These people are not alone; I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t have a collection of some sort. Some are more traditional than others, but everyone collects something. Why?

What is it that drives us to collect what are largely fairly arbitrary things? Few, if any, collections are necessary in the true sense of that word (we can live without them). So what is it? Consumerism? A feeling of intangible value in that which we collect? I have no idea and it’s long been a question that has bothered me.

It strikes me that money is rarely the motivating factor, often people are to caught up in creating a complete collection to sell. Sometimes it’s not even the objects themselves. How many record collectors have never played their collection and never want to? Instead, it seems like it is the very idea of collecting that is the appeal. Why? I still do not know.