Quality vs Quantity

One of my hobbies is coin collecting. I haven't been very active with it of late, but back years ago I was down at the local coin shops every weekend looking for another interesting piece to add to the collection. Mostly I looked for type pieces, rather than series pieces. You see, collectors tend to fall into two large categories. There are series collectors, and then there are type collectors. A series collector tries to get one of each of a series, like all dates for the Walking Liberty coins, while a type collector is looking for good representatives of each coin type. But in both cases the collector is looking for the best possible example he can find. Collecting is not about how many coins you have; it's about the quality of the coins you find. The general rule is to buy the best example you can afford of the coin you are looking for because the value of the coin will never diminish. The rarity makes sure of that. Common, worn coins are cheap, and sometimes its all you can afford, but the goal is to get quality not quantity.

This applies to many things, but I'm thinking today not in terms of coins, but of ideas. In this information age (so called) there is so much information that it is easy to just grab onto the first piece of information you find and run with it, as if that's all there was. Or, to want to hold onto old ideas because they are familiar and consequently reject the insights of others that may be unfamiliar. Or, to become fascinated by the strange and unusual. Or, to jump from thing to thing looking for the in-thing.

But the search for truth requires a discipline and a diligence to keep looking, keep trying, until you gather enough options to know the good from the bad, the true from the false. Sometimes we have to discard some ideas and cling to those precious and rare ideas that rise above everything else.

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