Reading Wednesday -- Week 5 -- Hoarding

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Reading Wednesday -- Week 5 -- Hoarding

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1orderlyoasis
sep 30, 2009, 6:51 am

This week begins our discussion on hoarders and hoarding behaviors. There are more than 2 million people who compulsive hoarders in the US. Chances are you know someone who is affected by this condition on a daily basis.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS -- WEEK 5 -- Ghosty Men by Franz Lidz Ch. 1-6

1) "All art is the same -- an attempt to fill empty space." by Samuel Beckett is the quote that begins Ghosty Men (before Ch. 1). Do you agree with this statement? Does the reverse also hold true -- all filling of empty space is an attempt at art? Why or why not?

2) "Collecting this junk," Uncle Arthur says, " they call me crazy, just because I got a lot of what no one else has. One out of ten people collect stuff. Most of the time people collect old things for the value of it. The difference between old things and old junk is that old things is what nobody has and old junk is what nobody wants." (Ch. 2, p.11) Do you think people who hoard (like Uncle Arthur, Homer and Langley) find value in what they collect? Why or why not? Do the people around them hold the same values? If not, what effect does this have?

3) What roles do hope and denial play in the mental, physical, and emotional transformation of the Collyer home (or any similar home) and the health of its inhabitants?

4) JUST FOR FUN: Have you ever been to a flea circus? If so, what was it like?

SUGGESTED READING FOR NEXT WEEK

Ghosty Men Ch. 7-10

For the complete Fall 2009 Reading Schedule, please see Reading Wednesday -- Week 1.

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2orderlyoasis
okt 7, 2009, 10:41 am

1. I believe that art is an attempt to fill empty space, but not all filling of empty space is art. I believe the point of art is to increase beauty. Beauty to me, involves symmetry, balance, pattern or connection to a whole.

2.I think the fact that Homer was blind and paralyzed -- hence sitting in the same chair for years, completely dependent on Langley -- played a key role in how much stuff accumulated in that house. Langley had control over the things he brought home and may have used his parents' propensity to collect stuff as a jumping off point for future collecting of his own.

3. I think both denial and hope are huge in hoarding. Denial in that "it's not that bad" or "other people think it's worse than it actually is". But hope was also pivotal for the Collyer brothers. At one point in the book (don't remember exactly where) it said that instead of going to the doctor Homer ate oranges as a way to cure his blindness. He ate 67,000 oranges (over 100 a week!) in hopes of curing the blindness. Langley collected the newspapers so that Homer could read them when he got better -- 40 years worth of newspapers! Denial and hope played a huge role in the gathering of things in the Collyer household. It seems as if the hopes were not tempered with a concern for space and living well in the now as non-hoarders may be more prone to.

3orderlyoasis
okt 9, 2009, 5:16 pm

I just came across this interesting video on hoarding as art - with a Chinese artist who created an exhibition of the stuff that his mother had hoarded over the years. http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2009/10/08/hoarding-as-...

What do you think?