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The Collector Mentality: Modernization of the Hunter-Gatherer
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Authors: Eric Anton Kreuter, PhD (Partner, Financial Advisory Services, Marks Paneth LLP, New York City, NY, US) 
Book Description:
The collector is a pseudo sub-species of human who endeavors to amass items for building wealth, in the pursuit of a hobby or, in extreme cases, as a part of pathological hoarding behavior. The extreme collector expands what could be considered normal boundaries in terms of using financial resources, encroachment of communal space in a shared home environment, or in the way they go about locating new items to acquire. The hoarder takes collecting to the next, even more extreme level, where the array or items gathered becomes arguably and uncontrollably massive enough to bring the hoarder much criticism from others, usually in the psychological sense. In comparison to the modern collector of things, the hunter-gatherer communities – primarily from primitive times, but even today in remote parts of the world – followed their collecting behavior solely for their survival since agriculture and farming had not yet been invented. We refer to these people as foragers. The increasingly rare communities that follow a foraging lifestyle actually exist in the present day, albeit in isolated areas of the world with decreasing land mass; they collect what they need, experiencing increased difficulty in protecting their coveted anonymity. Even when they cross paths with members of modern society, they shun interaction and may even threaten warfare. Modern foraging communities have no immunity to modern diseases, making contact with modern humans threatening to their health and survival. The mindset of today’s collector can be compared to that of the primitive foragers as a way of drawing a link between their behavior and impulses to those of modern humans, suggesting a possible genetic link. In doing so, the psychodynamic aspects of the collector in modern times can be better understood through the anthropological lens. With this connection, therapists can more deeply understand and appreciate the thought process of the modern collector and maybe even that of the hoarder. Families of collectors and hoarders and even the folks collecting and hoarding themselves can evaluate their lifestyle, habits, impulses and drives more deeply, affording them a practical and humanistic view of themselves. The perspectives of the author, who is a self-confessed collector and those of other collectors as well as one hoarder provide a balanced analysis of the interiority of the subject covered by this book. A walkthrough of various types of collections is included along with an illustrative of the thesis. Part of the author’s collection of mineral spheres is included in an appendix to provide the reader with a first-hand view of one type of collection. What is hopefully clear to the reader is that the mindset of the collector should not be quickly judged, but carefully evaluated and the collector or hoarder is encouraged to keep an open mind, embracing a new conceptual understanding of the actions they take in pursuit of their passion or obsession. The topic of mental illness is covered to allow for the potential for judgment of the behavior to be understood for potential treatment protocols. Caution, however, is encouraged with regard to treatment as not every person considered obsessed with their passion is willing to acknowledge their excessive conduct or even would agree their behavior reaches an obsessive level. Accordingly, treatment as we may think of the word as necessarily leading to reform or reduction in impact may not be possible even with greater insight. Still, we must find a balance between respecting someone’s chosen lifestyle and suggesting a balanced approach to life that considers not only the person, but those around them as well. (Nova)

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Table of Contents:

Foreword: Cathleen M. Olson, MS—Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern


About the Author and Other Contributors


Preface—Dr. Tim Merrick


Chapter 1. Commentary—Peter Goodstein

Chapter 2. Commentary—Glenn Sacks—Why We Collect Antique and Vintage Items

Chapter 3. Commentary—Peter Varounis

Chapter 4. Analysis of the Psychological Benefits of Coveted Inanimate Objects

Chapter 5. The Case Study of Doug

Chapter 6. The Case Study of Paul

Chapter 7. Why Do People Collect Things?

Chapter 8. Anthropological Roots

Chapter 9. Types of Collections

Chapter 10. Commentary – Margaret Taylor – Hunting for Gatherers among Early Human Populations

Chapter 11. Descriptions of the Kreuter Collection of Minerals and Fossil

Chapter 12. Collecting as a Form of Bonding with Children

Chapter 13. The Addiction of Collecting

Chapter 14. Shopping Addiction

Chapter 15. Cross-Benefits of Lifelong Collecting

Chapter 16. Is Collecting the Same as Hoarding?

Chapter 17. A Case Study of a Hoarder—Joan

Chapter 18. Filling a Void?

Chapter 19. Addressing Issues: Emotional, Psychodynamic, Spiritual, Cerebral, and Artistic

Chapter 20. Obsessions

Chapter 21. Perspectives of Collectors

Chapter 22. Commentary—Matthew M. Kreuter: The Mind of a Collector

Chapter 23. The Case Study of Shawn—An Extreme Collector

Chapter 24. Anthropomorphic Healthy Narcissism by Proxy

Chapter 25. The Case Study of a Collector—Charles

Chapter 26. The Case Study of a Collector—Jim

Chapter 27. Commentary—A Collection of a Collector’s Collections—Kenneth M. Moltner

Chapter 28. Commentary—Maria Bird: I Rock

Chapter 29. Problems Associated with Collecting: A Contrast to Difficulties of Foragers



Appendix A – The Kreuter Collection of Minerals and Fossils

Appendix B – Returning to the Rock Outcropping to Collect Samples for a Fellow Collector

Appendix C – Anthropomorphic Healthy Narcissism by Proxy – A Survey

      Anthropology Research and Developments
   Binding: Hardcover
   Pub. Date: 2017
   ISBN: 978-1-53612-599-3
   Status: AV
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
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The Collector Mentality: Modernization of the Hunter-Gatherer