Completism

The trap of completism is quite pervasive. We want to get the whole set. Sometimes the set will be outlined by nature, but in most cases, it is some organisation or person that devised it. We want to get and read every book by an author, store each bank note issued by a nation or note down every type of animal within a category that we spot on our travels. People will go to quite long lengths to complete a series of one sort or another. They do so without paying much regard to the real reason behind it, they just want the full set. I recall a friend going to the shop every day to buy some more stickers to fill an album. The hunt for the last few became quite expensive - for the parents that is. When it finally was complete the album was tossed aside.

Then we have the sporty types who want to traverse every crevasse in every land just to get an ‘official’ record. They do so forgetting that someone else, a person, made up the qualifying rules that they adhere to. Many will undoubtably enjoy the pursuit, the climbing and the test of endurance. However, the justification of counting it as a success or not is on someone else’s terms.

A clever company can capitalize on all of this by making a bunch of objects that fulfil peoples’ desire to get the whole complete lot. They will issue smaller quantities of one type to induce a sense of rarity and more scrambling for them. Completism is a gremlin in the workings of the mind that lies in conjunction with the parallel power of this curiosity and reward. We are compelled to fill in those pervasive gaps that our inquisitiveness affords us. It gets us out and about and provides a focus so maybe we ought to avoid sneering too much.


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