First an admission:
I was watching “Hoarding, Buried Alive” last night,
(now that that’s on the table, I can continue with the rest of this poem)
when I suddenly realized
that the problem with hoarders
(aside from the filth, health hazards, and destroyed relationships)
is that they attach significance to everything
and are thus unable to part with anything.
This seems to me an essentially existential problem:
If life has no meaning other than what we attach to it,
then hoarders are using their possessions to create a meaningful life.
If everything (every thing) has significance,
then the more things one has, the more significant one’s life.
Perhaps, this behavior is a reaction formation:
(I apologize here
for introducing a Freudian paradigm into this poem about existentialism)
Hoarders so fear nothingness
that they are compelled to fill every void with stuff.
Continued accumulation equals continued meaningfulness;
purging equals surrendering to the emptiness of life.
Hoarding thus creates quite the paradox:
Hoarders hoard to give life meaning,
the more they hoard, the more they lose
(like friends, family, health, money, shelter)
so their lives become increasingly lonely and empty.
This all made me feel very sad,
so I changed the channel
and watched Law and Order: SVU for a while.