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Why we collect stuff

Blue1dotBlue1dot Member Posts: 78
edited June 2012 in Everything else LEGO
Did you see this "Room For Debate" discussion in the New York Times?
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/12/29/why-we-collect-stuff/?nl=opinion&emc=tya1

Quotes from some of the authors:
"Collections are wonderful. They bring us joy and great memories. " --Meryl Starr
"Collected objects are like holy relics: conduits to another world. They have shed their original function and become totems, fetishes." -- Philipp Blum
"It’s also important to remember that a collector by any other name may be a hoarder." -- April Benson
"For collectors, new possessions become part of a larger set of items and considerable time and energy go into organizing and displaying them. When collecting is healthy, the display or storage of these things does not impede the use of active living areas of the home. " --Randy Frost

Any thoughts? I'd like to think my LEGO collection is healthy, but non-AFOL friends, a few family members and acquaintances might think otherwise. : )

Comments

  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    Unless "just-purchased," my items have their own bedroom and do not impede the use of my home.

    I must be normal ;) :P

    Brent
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 609
    I feel like I'm going to be in Brent's position later in 2012. I have the resources to buy and store a lot of new Lego sets. However, they will no longer be contained to my closet and my room will start to fill up. However, since I don't live in my room at home anymore, my life shouldn't be impeded too much.

    As for the subject of collecting, it's perfectly normal. People collect a wide variety of things. Some of the negative attributes about collecting can also be said of human memories; it is perfectly healthy (i.e. "normal") to keep and treasure memories as long as they don't impede your normal daily functioning. And indeed, memories can be elevated in one's mind to levels of "fetishism", but in spite of all this, most people at least have one memory that can be considered by somebody else as "superfluous" or "unhealthy". So I see my Lego collecting as a non-issue and a now part of my identity. It's not like it is one of several things I collect, and I do derive enjoyment from my sets per the reason they were made: to be built and taken apart and built again.
  • BlueTaylorBlueTaylor Member Posts: 51
    edited July 2012
    My boyfriend just said he cannot relate to 'collectors' of anything. He asked me why I collect Lego, what satisfaction it gives me and I really couldn't give him an answer. I guess the best I can do is to say that I love the process of building it, I love the end result, I love having something to collect (but then again, the answer of 'why' remains), I love how it makes me feel like a child and I love watching my collection grow. I also get great satisfaction of having every set in a series. Like most people on here, it's an obsession that I couldn't live without. But I guess I still haven't answered the question. Why do we collect Lego?
  • cynthilinacynthilina Member Posts: 188
    I couldn't agree with you more. I love the Idea that I can expand the collection almost indefinitely. I love the problem solving aspect of MOC's builds, the satisfaction when you are done and the input from other builders to improve MOC's. Its also a great way to build team work for projects. At work one of our managers dumped a bucket of Lego on the table and said he wanted us to build a "model" of our new Operations center. However the 6 of us had to pair off and build a different portion of the MOC and how we saw the layout. Then we worked as a group to fit the Ideas together. Since I have been a Lego nut for years this was nothing but fun for me for the day and i got paid to do it. In the end it proved to the project manager that we could work together as a team.
  • BlueTaylorBlueTaylor Member Posts: 51
    @cynthilina That's so awesome! I wish I could go to work and have that task to do! :D However, my Lego-snobbiness would probably come out early on and I'd have to let everyone know that I am the Lego queen! Haha. I'd be correcting them when they name the bricks wrong 'that's not a "flat piece"! It's a 2x2 tile you idiot, don't you know anything!?' And then I'd prove I can't work as part of a team after all. Haha. And I agree, MOCs are definitely a challenge! I have only just begun and I now have a much greater appreciation for Lego-designers!
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    If you want a fun and happy answer I would say "I collect because it is fun, creative and leads me to socialise with others who are fun and creative"

    If I was being honest with regards to the 'collector' element I would agree more with this answer:
    "Collecting is a means by which one relieves a basic sense of incompletion brought on by unfulfilled childhood needs, it functions as a form of wish fulfillment, which eases deep-rooted uncertainties and existential dread.” - Not quite so happy/smiley an answer though :)
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 2,052
    It was this or drugs....
  • greekmickgreekmick UKMember Posts: 710
    ^ I love it as its not too far off the truth. My wife would rather me collect lego than go out drinking and gambling every night. She doesn't realise that most of my gambling is online anyway while in my study "sorting out lego". Saying that, I must collect lego to cover up other activities!
  • gifinimgifinim UKMember Posts: 174
    I don't collect Lego, I just happen to have a lot of it in the house. And at work. And a minifig in the car. *sigh*
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    I collect for 2 reasons:

    1. To have stuff to put up for display. I don't like wooden dolphins, owls, cows and whatever other ppl might like to collect.
    2. Making it possible to make even more complex buildings, I love to challenge myself and my imagination. As a bonus, my logic skills gets a slight boost, piecing things together draws on that particular skill.

    Actually, there's also a third reason; My daughter loves to play with LEGO too, a large collection makes it easier to play together without running out of bricks :-D
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    @Laziter you actually hit upon one of the main reasons I collect, it is something that I can share with my son who is 5 (and will do with his brother when older).
    If he wants to play Bakugan or something weird I am at a bit of a loss.
    If he wants to play soldiers or something, he gets loads out of it but I don't (other than seeing him happy).
    But with Lego we can both build, have fun, be creative and enjoy it on many levels together.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,837
    It calls to me. I try to ignore it, but the more I block it out, the more I think about it and so the more I collect. I can't stop!!! :'(
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    @princedraven - Yeah playing with your kids is really rewarding for both parts.
    There's alot of learning in playing together, not only on the matter of logic, but also on the social part.
    I recently bought about 90 pounds of random LEGO, that's going to come in handy when my daughter is coming to spend her summer-holidays with me :-)
    We're also going to LEGOLand, but that has nothing to do with the reasons for collecting (we're going to bring some new stuff home though).
  • kempo81kempo81 Wiltshire, UKMember Posts: 961
    because my mate andy (@atkinsar) convinced me it was a good idea!! lol

    i collect it because LEGO is cool. FACT!
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    @kempo81 - Fact is well recieved and aknowledged :-D

    One could be driven to ask you WHY you think LEGO is cool? ;-)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    One could be driven to ask you WHY you think LEGO is cool? ;-)
    If you understand, no explanation is required...

    If you don't understand, no explanation will help...
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    That was why I put in that smiley ;-)
    I know why LEGO is cool :-D
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    That was why I put in that smiley ;-)
    I know why LEGO is cool :-D
    :) Ok, why?

    *ha!*
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    Not to impose a cause-and-effect where none really fits, but I think my psyche latched onto Lego because it allows me to privately reconstruct small utopias where everything fits and nothing is wrong; in other words my collection exists in place of the large scale social transformations I used to dream were possible. So Lego is my consolation prize for retreating from, forgetting, ignoring, shunning The World at Large. cf. @princedraven above^^^

    Oh, and because I genuinely enjoy the activities it makes possible between my son and me. Sure, there's sports and stuff, but then I have to deal with other dads who eatsleepbreathedie sports and that's... all the more reason to line the walls with Lego. But that's just me.
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76

    :) Ok, why?

    *ha!*
    LOL :-P
    It's cool because it's on of the most versatile toys on the market, you're only limited by your imagination and the # of bricks in your possesion.
    How's that for an explanation? :-D
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ :) The same could be said for a blank sheet of paper and crayons...
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    I like my idea better :-P
    LEGO allows me to be 3 dimensional, paper and crayon don't ;-)
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    The reason given to those who look down their noses at Lego building is that it is therapy for our hands for hubby's Parkinsons and my dupuytrens. The truth is we're both collectors at heart. I once had a collection of several hundred bells, and hubby has had a collection of some type of toy for all his adult life. Why? The hunt is part of the fun of it, but the building, displaying and procurement together make for a fun hobby. Hobbies are in most cases very healthy as they tend to relieve stress.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,298
    I like my idea better :-P
    LEGO allows me to be 3 dimensional, paper and crayon don't ;-)
    You can fold paper to make 3D structures.
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    ^ true that. Therapy has many aspects, socially, physically, mentally, take your pick.
    Anyways, I can relate to and agree with AFFOL_Shelzz_Bellz :-)
  • BlueTaylorBlueTaylor Member Posts: 51
    I always thought the Lego organisation put a spell on us. I seriously can't pinpoint what it is that makes me love it and want it so much so I put it down to corporate brain-washing. Not complaining though!
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    You can fold paper to make 3D structures.
    True, but you're going to need glue or other adhesives to make bigger and stronger structures, with LEGO you just stack'em.
    I always thought the Lego organisation put a spell on us. I seriously can't pinpoint what it is that makes me love it and want it so much so I put it down to corporate brain-washing. Not complaining though!
    It's not Apple we're talking about :-P
    I can only speak for myself here, I love LEGO because of what I've already stated in my above posts.
    Narrowing it down to simple words: Versatile, challenging, fun, (re)creative, logic.
    That's the "simple" words that came in to mind just there, I'm sure more could be added.
  • LegofanscottLegofanscott Member Posts: 622
    Hmmm seems as though most people here prefer MOCing as opposed to official sets, i must admit im not really one for MOC'ing i love the whole package of an official Lego set, the anticipation and excitement before you open it, the great box art and of course knowing your going to end up with a quality model at the end of it :)
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^"No boundaries" A very intoxicating view point.
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    @Legofanscott - I get your point, I like to buy a set and build it too. At the same time I like to look for options to expand or improve what I've built. I don't just want the model/set, I want options and that's what LEGO gives me.
    If I only wanted a model of something, I'd just buy some of those glue-together sets.
  • LegofanscottLegofanscott Member Posts: 622
    @Legofanscott - I get your point, I like to buy a set and build it too. At the same time I like to look for options to expand or improve what I've built. I don't just want the model/set, I want options and that's what LEGO gives me.
    If I only wanted a model of something, I'd just buy some of those glue-together sets.
    The problem is my parts inventory is from official sets only and i really don't feel like mixing them all up to start MOCing so for now its official sets only for me.
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    The problem is my parts inventory is from official sets only and i really don't feel like mixing them all up to start MOCing so for now its official sets only for me.
    I respect your choice, but I don't see LEGO that way.
    To me, it's supposed to be built upon, expanded, altered, modified or improved in any way possible, but then again, that's just me :-)
    Admitted.. I have a few sets that will never be altered in any way as I love them just the way they are.

  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    Quotes are okay, right?

    Don DeLillo: "The purpose of any hobby is to build a defense against time."

    And a few from Walter Benjamin who wrote incisively about the collector as a type; it is with difficulty that I refrain from adding commentary:

    <<The true, greatly misunderstood passion of the collector is always anarchistic, destructive. For this is its dialectics: to combine with loyalty to an object, to individual items, to things sheltered in his care, a stubborn subversive protest against the typical, the classifiable.

    Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.

    To a true collector the acquisition of an old book is its rebirth. This is the childlike element which in a collector mingles with the element of old age. For children can accomplish the renewal of existence in a hundred unfailing ways. Among children, collecting is only one process of renewal; other processes are the painting of objects, the cutting out of figures, the application of decals; the whole range of childlike modes of acquisition, from touching things to giving them names. To renew the old: that is the collector's deepest desire.

    O bliss of the collector, bliss of the man of leisure! Of no one has less been expected, and no one has had greater sense of well-being than the man who has been able to carry on his disreputable existence in the mask of Spitzweg's Bookworm. For inside him there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for a collector--and I mean a real collector, a collector as he ought to be--ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.>>

    @legofanscott splurge on a bulk lot and never look back!!
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