There’s a deep and abiding chasm, I think, between materialism and consumerism. It has to do with the how and the why. And also, with shame. I have a fierce attachment to my things, and I’m frequently consumed by a desire for more things. I have walked into shops and trembled. I consider myself a materialist. I am also a consumer, vulnerable to marketing tactics, but when I give in to them, I feel embarrassed. There are certain objects that mean a lot to me, but probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone else. These objects are reifications of my experience, evidence that I exist: how would I or anyone know that I went to the bazaar, figuratively speaking, if I didn’t bring back the miniature tin kettle and cup and saucer, figuratively speaking, to prove it?
I like knowing that Walter Benjamin collected so many books, but didn’t read many of them. The collecting is greater than the book.