We live in a culture of consumerism, Hoarding disorder has become a mental issue that many modern people have but not easy to detect. Unfortunately, my father seems to be a living example. By observing closely at his lifestyle, let me reflect on the relationship between people and objects. What is the meaning of the items to the hoarders? Do we really need so much stuff in our life? Do we really own these things?
The History of Hoarding
According to etymology, the word "hoard" derived from Old English means valuable items hidden for preservations. In the prehistoric times, storage was to meet the basic needs of survival. Archaeological studies have shown that humans in the Neolithic era have begun to store items other than food, such as weapons, tools, and decorations, but limited by the lack of building technology, most of the storage at that time was buried in clay pots.
The Research of Hoarding
After the industrial revolution, the mass production led to the oversupply of commodities. In order to stimulate consumption, capitalists began to give the abstract meaning of goods beyond practicality, making commodities became the symbol of taste and status.
The middle-class people become the main force of consumption, and the consumption items of the emerging labor class have changed from "needs" to "wants". The results of overbuying make a lot of people piled up with redundant items at home.
In this social context, the psychology community has also begun a more in-depth discussion.
In 1890, psychologist and philosopher William James suggested that a person's self includes not only his own body and consciousness but also everything he has, such as family and friends, even his land and horses, yachts and bank accounts.
Whether we realize it or not, many people feel that the items they own are part of the extended self. The deeper, even less recognizable belief is that through actual contact, we will infuse our own essence in our own objects.
In 1947, Eric Fromm, a German-born psychoanalyst developed a five personality tendencies that are common in Western society, depending on the relationship between people and objects. The hoarding is a tendency to one of four Non-productive orientations.
Such types of people usually view the outside world with suspicion and fear, are more sentimental about memories, and idealize the past. Only by acquiring and storing things can bring them a sense of security.
- To easily discover the unique beauty of the object.
- To save memories which come from the items.
- To easily find useful value on any object.
- To treat things as human beings, and put feelings on their item.
- To get a sense of security
- To saving an item means saving the self, the item is a fragment of life, and it is also an extension of the self.
- To control the disposal of items and preserve any possibilities in the future.
- To avoid waste