What is collecting?

In an attempt to understand “collecting”, I fell into a rabbit hole and found myself reading academic papers on the subject, trying to make sense of it all. What you will read below is a collection of ideas from the papers referenced below, as well as several other publications which are linked in the text. Even after all that reading, the topic is so abstract that it was challenging to reach any universally applicable conclusion. Instead, I offer a universal truth about people who are passionate about collecting. I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to your thoughts.