Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Being, Nothingness, and Hoarding: A True Story

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.


Brian Miller said...

wow. you should teach psych 101...interesting thought on the attachment of significance and how it gives them significance as well...nice cerebral write...on hoarders...haha...

Fireblossom said...

Um...so, did sex crimes cheer you up? You need something silly, woman, and I'm just the girl to provide it for you:


It's Jimmy Fallon doing a Jim Morrison impression while singing the theme from Reading Rainbow. :-P

not displayed said...

I am always delightfully surprised in the variety of your writing.
Loved this

Bryan White said...

I think you may be on to something there.

Jinksy said...

That gives us something to ponder upon!

Kerry O'Connor said...

the more things one has, the more significant one’s life...

You have opened a can of worms here, LM and it's not pretty. Your central paradox must surely hit home for many readers. (Thankfully, I'm the opposite of a hoarder - I'm a thrower-away, even of people sometimes..but that's another question for Freud)

Margaret said...

NOTHING lives on my floors... perhaps a basket, but it must be half empty and neat. Toys MUST have homes, and beds must have nothing under them (perhaps a cat or dog)

With six kids I had to learn to purge (not kids, but things :) or I would have gone NUTS. I am always "downsizing" but I do have mementos I treasure ... and I won't even mention how many book cases FULL of books I have... :) (we all have weaknesses)

Loved the fun you penned here in this poem (I have a confession - I watched Ghost Mine for three weeks on TV... ha ha - so silly)