11 April 2011

Against Collecting

I must admit my condition of collector over that of user. One-hundred-plus pens stored in boxes and cases definitely say so. But that is not a label I feel comfortable with.

I was raised in a time in which consumerism was frown upon. It was not only that we should not demand luxuries—we were somehow told that consumerism was alienating. Little we knew then how much more demanding this society would become over the years. The country, in the meantime, has also become wealthier and the opportunities to spend money have increased. As a result, younger generations have never received those messages and feel more at ease in the ludic act of shopping.

Collecting has a number of interpretations but it is not possible to deny its consumerist and superfluous dimension. There is hardly any way to justify the possession of more than a couple of pens and inks. And we know it—at least, I know it. But we also create the fantasy –the denial—of believing in our condition of users, regardless of the size of our collection.

Beyond certain number of pens, we all know, it is simply not possible to use all of them. Some pens might never see any ink, and many others are inked only once. Then, what are we buying? I am afraid we end up buying ornaments in the shape of pens. But these were meant to be tools, utilitarian tools.

In a sense, all these feelings explain why I write these chronicles using my pens. By writing, I feel more of a user and I can ease my bad feelings as a victim of consumerism.

In any event, the pen will never become mightier than the sword if kept in a display window. But that is what many of us, pen collectors, do with our beloved jewels.

(Pilot Vortex, M nib– Sailor Red Brown)

Bruno Taut
April 5th, 2011
[labels: estilofilia]

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