Friday, March 14, 2008

More on "Possessed"

I read once that "clutter is just a deferred decision" and, since one is incapable of making decisions when one is depressed, it makes sense that things will pile up.

But depression isn't the only thing that causes clutter. The first guy said, "my possessions are like my friends. To give any away would be like a betrayal." That is just plain scary--but, I too have felt that way about my books. Someone may feel the same way about thrifted antiques. (I know I have a chair I feel "honour bound" to keep even though the seat has died and the frame has already been repaired. Why? Because it is a Thonet rocker. The fact that I like it seems besides the point.)

As for the compulsive purchaser, who can say that buying things "on sale" or, "getting a great deal" isn't the same thing? I have these tendencies too, and they are extraordinarily difficult to control.

It's partly why I hate shopping so much. Like the box full of stuffed animals, once one is confronted with so much choice, it's very, very difficult to make one. So, I can call it "simple living" and just not go shopping. (And having something definite in mind when one goes can also be difficult: it can become a fruitless and frustrating search for the perfect thing.)

I was impressed by the third woman's organization. That shot of the bottles all lined up around the tub could easily have been an art installation. So, too the pile of used make-up wipes. As a commenter in the SF thread where I found this mentioned, who is to say what things are appropriate to keep as our "memory objects?"

As for hoarding: what, exactly is that? Is it merely a matter of quantity? Why should we pare down the things we own to fit the space we have? As the first guy said, his problem isn't too much stuff--it's a too small place. And the argument would end there, if it weren't for the fact, as almost anyone who has moved from a smaller place to a larger knows quite well, that your stuff soon multiples and fills up all that lovely space. (Of course, that doesn't happen for some people, but we're not talking about them!)

And why is a collection of hotel serving ware, or art work, or pottery somehow "better" than a collection of portable CD players, or mobile phones?

I love this film because it raises these questions while showing us how awful it is to be controlled by our things. And perhaps that is the "moral" of the tale: it is "bad" for our things (and more importantly, our thoughts about our things) to control us. And it shows how diffiucult it can be to get out from under that control.

One of the reasons I do like Maxwell's book is that he doesn't focus on clutter. He turns our attention, instead, to a (self-created) vision of beautiful living. With that as our focus, the end-point of our thoughts, one "sees" one's things in a new light: a light, perhaps and hopefully, powerful enough to loosen the grip of our thoughts about things.

No comments :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...