Posted by R. John Howe on March 18, 1999 at 05:28:58:
In Reply to: Re: This Question: One Step Back posted by Pat Weiler on March 14, 1999 at 11:46:30:
Dear folks -
I am responding late-ishly to Pat's thought here. The notion of collecting rugs in order to attractive female/male members of the species is certainly an interesting one (although I wish Pat had pointed it out when I was 18). My own experience with my wife suggests that this strategy may not be fool-proof. Although she like rugs on the floor she does not think at bottom, it seems, that they qualify as art sufficiently that they should be placed on walls. So a well-lined rug "burrow" when we were courting would likely not have been a plus. (It is interesting to discover, if you can, why our mates were/are attracted to us. Part of my apparent charm for her is that she thinks my skin is slightly cooler than hers. I would never have guessed.)
But the meaning of my thought that at bottom our collecting impulses may be seen by some to be sourced in less than pretty places was a reference to the possibility that they are possibly instances of such unadmirable human qualities as possessiveness, extreme acquisitiveness, competitiveness, a need to feel superior on any number of other grounds, and a rather generalized preoccupation with one's own interests to the exclusion of those of others. None of these, except perhaps competition, is seen (even in our fairly jungle-ish capitalist society) to be an admirable human trait. Someone fluent in Japanese told me recently that the Japanese word for "selfish" also connotes "non-human."
R. John Howe
: : Dear folks -
: : I have never really collected anything before I collected rugs (I own large numbers of books but don't think of them as a collection, no first editions, etc.)And I find the lateness of the onset of my desease comforting, almost as comforting as the apparent fact that Freud owned a few rugs, since quite sinister sources of our collecting urges are sometimes alleged. At bottom, it may not be a pretty thing.
: I think Freud did not know why he collected rugs any more than the rest of us. BUT, my theory relates to the fact that, being a visually oriented species, we are attracted to pretty, colorful things as much as the average pack-rat. Is there a survival-of-the-species aspect to our collecting? I say yes. In most other visually-oriented species (such as birds-of -paradise) the male is more spectacularly plumaged. In our culture, the women are DRESSED more brilliantly than the men, but the men actually have the most spectacular PLUMAGE - our beards and body hair - than the women. (Is this the not-very-pretty part you were talking about, John?) Our predilection for the visually attractive is genetic. The person with the most attractive mate/car/rug/NEST is higher-up on the culture-pole. Theoretically this would bring him the most mates-therefore-offspring (survival of the species).
: So, we are using these fabrics for making our NEST more attractive to our MATE satisfying our competitive mating ritual urge.. This ties into a subsequent post regarding a sympathetic spouse.
: It is also safer than night-clubbing with the kids.
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