🎵 The self is a fragile construction of the mind

As a vinyl collector I read Why We Collect And What Your Collection Says About You with interest. This part jumped out at me:

Cultural historian, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has also argued that we collect and hold onto things because they keep us grounded in the present and help us remember the past. Your collection and the items you curate could even go some way to informing your own sense of identity and how you see yourself. These items that he terms “continuity of self” help construct memory and personality. “Without external props, even our personal identity fades and goes out of focus. The self is a fragile construction of the mind”.

One of the interesting things my wife and I discovered over the years in our discussions about music, is that there is a fundamental difference in how we view the purpose of the music we listen to. I listen to music to reflect the mood I’m in. My wife listens to music based on the mood she wants to be in. There are exceptions, but that’s been our experience for the most part. So when I’m feeling down or overwhelmed, I turn on music that reflects that. For my wife, she would instead prefer to put on “happy music”.

I mention this because I think it’s another dimension to this need I feel for collecting vinyl. I see that shelf of vinyl as an anchor and a reflection of who I was and who I have become. It’s so much more than the music it contains. But at the same time I totally understand why some people think that collecting vinyl is a crazy thing to do. If you are not big on nostalgia — if, like my wife, you listen to music as a forward-looking activity, not a reflective activity — collecting things from your past would seem pretty silly.

But as they say, to each their own. I guess the only rule is this: use music in whatever way helps you. And don’t try to force other people to view it the same way.

Rian van der Merwe Business & product leader, curious learner, and music fanatic