Or a thinkier, less rock’n’roll way of putting a similar proposition, plus an added barb, “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.” Arthur Schopenhauer
Further to this idea of accumulating data, information and knowledge, are questions of why? And, what to do with it? Well, maybe nothing. Maybe we surround ourselves with ideas because we like their company; it’s like being at a party with the world’s most interesting people (real and imaginary) and not having to talk to anyone.
“All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. … But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.” Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree
I think the collections we build are an insight into the soul, and who and what we dream of being.