With the recent release of “Pokémon Go” we have witnessed millions of people walking the street collecting Pokémon. This principle is nothing new though, as a race humans love to collect things. Just like as children we collected Pokémon cards, now we collect them in the real world, kind-off.

Humans have an instinct to collect. We collect thousands of things including money, assets, art, clothes, jewels, books and primarily knowledge because whatever we decide to collect with it will come knowledge. While most animals seek to fulfil their hunger and thirst as their primary objective, with no need for collecting, humans are distinctly different- although that’s nothing unusual. Why do we collect then? Somethings like money has obvious purpose as it is our food, water and shelter but what about things like art or Pokémon?

I am a collector of gemstones, fossils and art so I will give you a response from my personal perspective.

  • You have a natural draw towards the topic. I am drawn to art, shiny and old things so naturally, like most humans, I want to own them to fulfil my materialistic needs.
  • There is a pride in your collection. If you have a rare Pokémon, or an expensive work of art, or an unusual fossil then you have a sense of pride in it, you can show it off to other collectors- or really just anyone who will listen.
  • In collecting things you gain a great knowledge of the subject. As a people our main purpose is continual strife for knowledge so this gaining of it through collecting satisfies this. I know that through my art collecting I have gained a good knowledge of mediums, movements and artists, which leads me on to my next point.
  • We like to show off how good we are. Almost everyone is slightly vain and like to show off how well they can do something even if it is just to themselves. By having knowledge of a subject you can be better at knowing what to collect and how to collect it.

These are all well-reasoned responses to the question but my real draw, to art in particular, is that perhaps 1 in every 10 or 15 paintings I buy, I absolutely fall in love with. I can look to them and feel happy, when I am away from home I miss them and when I return they are the first things I go to.

In the simple words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “Collectors are happy people”.