I just read a beautiful angle on our collective collecting behavior from a Buddhist angle, and it goes like this: “Then we have another realm of mind, that of the pretas. There is a poverty, yet at the same time a sense of richness, contradictory yet acting together simultaneously. In the preta realm, there is a tremendously feeling of richness, of gathering a lot of possessions, whatever you want you do not have to look for, but you find yourself possessing it. And this makes us more hungry, more deprived, because we get satisfaction not from possessing alone but from searching. But now, since we have everything already, we cannot go out and look for something and possess it. It is very frustrating, a fundamental insatiable hunger … The joy of possessing does not bring us pleasure any more once we already possess something, and we are constantly trying to look for more possessions, but it turns out to be the same process all over again; so there is constant intense hunger which is not based on poverty but on the realization that we already have eerything yet we cannot enjoy it. It is [then] the energy there, the act of exchange, that seems to be more exciting; collecting it, holding it, putting it on, or eating it… Once you hold something you want to possess it, you no longer have the enjoyment of holding it, but you do not want to let go” (from a commentary on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, by Chogyam Trungpa) This is a very insightful anatomy of the psychology of collecting, something ingrained in our species as “hunters and gatherers”, this desire to possess and to seek out possessions. If you have this understanding and step back from your collecting or your collections sometimes, you’d at least be cool enough to realize that you can’t take it  with you, and that it will never be complete and need not be complete. Perhaps more important to savor what you have, and the search can be a mentally supervised process with your conscious awareness of what it in reality is about, our base nature as humans. The thing is to learn not to be upset if you lost a bid at an auction, or be frustrated in not finding what you are searching for at the moment.  Things come and go, collections gather and disperse, enjoy the ride with your instincts but dont let it turn around and bite you.

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