Unpacking My Library

When reading Unpacking My Library by Walter Benjamin I found that a collector may collect items but that is not the reason behind collecting. If someone is given a room full of junk, it is nothing more than a room full of junk. When that stuff is collected over time and each item has a story behind it, then it becomes a collection. The emotional attachment to things is what makes a collection altogether, and at the same time it is only viewed as valuable in the eyes of the beholder. Others can marvel at what one has in crates, on shelves or in rooms filled to the top, but no one can have that same connection, that same love as the one who has acquired all of their treasures. Benjamin talked of his dusty crates and to me that is all that they would be, after his stories and all that he had to say about each individual book they are still only dusty books and a story I will soon forget. I do not have the connection to the books, so even though I know the stories they do not stick with me. I will remember the one time I was told about books and the passion he showed while educating me on his adventures but will not remember any individual item. Another thing that I noticed in his writing was when he was at the auction and the other man kept out bidding him on the books he really wanted. From that I can process that people only want what other people want, they may not care at all for the item but they just want to make sure that no one else has it. This represents the slow transformation of our society, in showing that we have become so materialistic that we will spend money on something that is unnecessary in order to out shine someone else. A collection is seen be outsiders as an abundance of items owned by one person but for the collector it is so much more.

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