The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Collecting stamps

Starting in the late nineteenth-century philately was one of the most popular hobbies. Collecting stamps was accessible to almost everyone and created interest in the postal services.

Beginning of the 20th century new reasons to collect stamps came up. One of them is a small booklet in which stamps were glued any time the owner made a small deposit to save some money. The postal savings system made savings and interests accessible to those who could only make moderate deposits or without access to a bank. In 1966 the system was abolished in the US.

A space where it remains alive is in human relationships.

It’s the list of difficult moments of which we keep stock in our memory.

The easily accessible list is one of the moments in which we’ve been offended, hurt or felt frustrated in a relationship. It’s the list people like to unpack when a problem comes up, when they are looking for a scapegoat for the feeling they are experiencing at that moment.

There is another list which is less accessible. It consists of small events and experiences during which people adapt to one another without knowing exactly why. These are the little moments in which a no would have been more adequate than the yes used or vice versa.

Both of them pile up.

The more there are, the more probable it becomes that “one more” of these stamps will lead into a reaction that seems out of bounds for the given situation.

Both lists are equally important. The first one has the advantage that it eventually might lead to an exchange in which the collection can dissolve. Such an exchange happens if there is enough tension for those involved to want to dissolve the lack of comfort.

This isn’t as easily accessible with the other list. While all those seemingly harmless details assemble into a collection, they become a repetition of a self-assessment or assessment of the other. That repetition shapes the story we tell ourselves about others or ourselves.

It’s worth paying attention to the stamps we collect. It’s useful to reflect on the reason why we collect those.






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