Monday, February 5, 2007

Hoarding and Islam

My friend Steve has blogged about his desire to own a movie, not just rent it from time to time.  I understand this perfectly because I suffer from it, too.  Granted, some of the movies I buy are extremely eclectic and unrentable from netflix or other outlets (such as a bizarre silent film version of The Call of Cthulhu that uses a pastiche black & white technique ala Guy Madden). 

However, owning something rather than borrowing something is a product of a hoarding mentality.  I suffer from it, and from what Steve describes, he has a mild condition as well.  I believe it to be a response to internalized fear or anxiety.  In neither of us is it compulsive, though I might be more compulsive than Steve about it.  I won't go into any more detail other than to say that my hoarding is largely electronic.  I have far more audio books in MP3 format than I will ever be able to listen to.  The fear for me is that I will someday be bored.  And in that boredom I will want a certain thingy to alleviate that boredom and I won't have it close at hand.  The fear here is existential.  Boredom equates to meaninglessness.  It is irrational--because you can't expect a DVD or an audiobook to give your life meaning. 

For me it is also a hedge against writing, or working toward something constructive.  When I write I constantly have to counter the "voice" that tells me it's pointless, I'm too old, I'll never be published, everything I do is crap, etc.  That voice is so painful that I find other things to do, such as play computer games, watch TV or DVD (or all three together) which silences that "voice."

Another subset of the problem of hoarding is impulse control.  I don't think either Steve or I have a big problem with that.  But giving into an impulse can bring a feeling of euphoria which we must guard against.

Today I purchased two audio books from my club ( both having to do with Islam.  I've decided I need to know more.  Information is power and if I can be better informed about this religion perhaps I can mitigate the fear it engenders in me.  I was listening to a commentator on Fox News (no surprise) that called Islamic fundamentalists"Nazis in fezzes."  While I think it's probably bigoted to assume that all Islamicists wear fezzes, I'd much rather deal with a Nazi than a Muslim fundamentalist.  And that just goes to show you the depth of my personal antipathy for Islam.  I must learn more.  Knowledge is power, and fear is the absence of power.  Thus fear is the absence of knowledge.  It is also the absence of faith and belief.  I need to have faith in the West.  Our civilization is 30,000 years old and it will survive.

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