Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hoarding and Creativity

Several of the hoarders mentioned in Stuff were creative people. In one chapter, the daughter of a hoarder described how thanks to her mother, she was able to see the beauty in tree bark; her mother had rapsodizedabout the blues and red of the milk cartons that she hoarded. The two brother hoarders had strong aesthetic senses and hoarded art. Even Daniel hoarded items because he saw their creative potential,although he never utilized them.

All of these people possesed strong, creative impulses that they instead channeled into hoarding. In a sense, hoarding became an expression of their creativity. Once again, I found myself wondering what these people might have done in the MIddle Ages. Irene could have become a librarian in a convent or monastery, and spent her copying books and organizing them in the convent library. The girl's mother could have become a weaver or embroiderer, which would have let her use her strong sense of color. Daniel's ability to find potentially useful objects could havebeen utilized by a military quartermaster. Is it possible that the emphasis on consumerism in American society, missing in warlier societies, helped encourgage these people to hoard because they lacked the willpower to focus on their art instead of consuming and buying? 

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