Consumption Styles of the Rich and Famous: the Semiology of Saul Steinberg and Malcom Forbes

Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Rutgers University
[ to cite ]:
Elizabeth C. Hirschman (1990) ,"Consumption Styles of the Rich and Famous: the Semiology of Saul Steinberg and Malcom Forbes", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 17, eds. Marvin E. Goldberg, Gerald Gorn, and Richard W. Pollay, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 850-855.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 17, 1990      Pages 850-855


Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Rutgers University

"Maybe it's a little understated." (Corporate raider Saul Steinberg, on his birthday party which featured a tent full of exotic birds, tapestry tablecloths and nude models posed as Flemish paintings.)


An aspect of consumer behavior receiving increased attention in recent years is acts of an obsessive or compulsive nature (cf, Faber and O'Guinn 1988; O'Guinn and Faber 1989; Rook 1987; Holbrook 1987; Lehmann 1987; Pollay 1987a). The consumer may go on shopping, gambling, eating, or drinking binges, often with destructive consequences to self and family. Often the consumers who engage in these activities do not have the financial (or emotional or mental) resources to fund their behaviors, and the results are seriously dysfunctional from both a societal and personal perspective (Faber, O'Guinn, and Krych 1987; Moschis, Cox, and Kellaris 1987).

The present study examines obsessive and compulsive consumption from a different vantage point by detailing the behavior of two of the world's wealthiest and most prodigious consumers -- Saul Steinberg and Malcolm Forbes. Steinberg is 50 years old, is worth over 400 million dollars and is currently ranked in the top ten on the Forbes' list of affluent Americans (Forbes, October 24, 1988, p. 219). Forbes is 70 years old, is worth approximately 400 million dollars and also is currently ranked in the top ten on the Forbes' list (Forbes, October 24, 1988, p. 219). In addition to achieving celebrity status for their many accomplishments in business, both have also become popularized through their notable acts of consumption.

The present study proposes that through examining the consumption styles of highly affluent consumers, we may better come to understand some of the rationales underlying obsessive or compulsive consumption. It will be argued that in Steinberg's case such consumption acts are purposeful attempts to attain upward social mobility. It will be proposed that in Forbes' case, his seemingly random acquisition of objects may indicate a deep-seated desire for public recognition and environmental mastery, especially of a technological-mechanical nature.


The study focused upon two recent articles featuring Steinberg and Forbes, respectively, in media directed to the affluent. The Steinberg article, "Barony on Park Avenue," appeared in the November, 1985 issue of Town and Country (Moonan 1985). The Forbes article appeared in the March 1988 issue of Architectural Digest and was titled "Malcolm Forbes at Timberfield" (Buckley 1988). These articles were chosen as illustrative of their subject's consumption style and values in that both Forbes and Steinberg had to invite the journalists to their homes, agree to be interviewed, and pose for several photographs of themselves and their possessions. Their willingness to permit themselves to be thus subjected to public scrutiny (and their presentation of self-identity and possessions while under such scrutiny) reveals much about their ideology, both as consumers and people. In essence, they are "showing off' themselves and their possessions with the intent of accomplishing some social identity goaL By examining what and how they attempt to "show off," much can be learned about them.

The present author had recently conducted a large-scale study of s ideology of the affluent (Hirschman 1989), which surfaced some of the general themes and images common to this group of consumers. The present effort, by focusing more tightly on two specific, affluent consumers, is intended to provide a more detailed glimpse into how the ideology of affluence may be manifested in individual lives.

A hermeneutical approach based on the philosophies of Barthes (1964), Baudrillard (1981), and Dilthey (1976) was used to interpret both the text and visual imagery in the two magazine articles. Extensive excerpted material and photographs from each article are included to permit the reader to assess directly the quality of the interpretation rendered.


The headline to the first article reads "Barony on Park Avenue," creating a metaphorical allusion between the Steinberg residence and royalty and nobility, as well as linking the locale of the residence to a well-known Upper-class street, i.e., Park Avenue in New York City. The subheading states, "Saul P. Steinberg and his wife Gayfryd have transformed a triplex once owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., into a baronial home boasting one of the country's best collections of old masters [paintings] (Moonan 1985, p. 235)." This brief introduction provides several semiotic clues as to the consumption identity of the Steinbergs and initiates some themes which are carried throughout the article.

First, the Steinbergs are associated (through their residence) with legendary industrialist and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller. By acquiring the apartment once owned by Rockefeller's son, the Steinbergs are signalling their desire to follow in Rockefeller's social footsteps and thereby gain entry to the Upper class. (Steinberg grew up in a middle-class Brooklyn family.) The primary route by which the Steinbergs plan to make their ascent is also identified in the text: they possess "one of the country's best collections of old masters." Thus, the Steinbergs intend to use the tried-and-true route of aesthetic bequests and collecting to achieve upward social mobility.

The introductory passage also alludes subtly to the Steinbergs' somewhat ostentatious and overstated manner of publicizing their intentions -their 'baronial' home 'boasts' the collection of prominent paintings. Thus, we are told by the writer-observer, the Steinbergs are still perhaps too much in the nouveau stage of their monetary life cycle. They have not yet settled into a comfortable familiarity with their wealth.

The first print image presented in the article largely reiterates the textual message. It depicts a portion of the Steinberg living room centered around a large Titian painting in a heavy gilt frame. On either side of the Titian are several smaller old masters paintings; the room setting also includes tables inlaid with elaborate marquetry, gold encrusted candlesticks, a pair of gold sconces mounted with white porcelain birds, crimson-colored brocade wallpaper, and a crimson couch. The caption reads, "Walls covered in crimson Fortuny [fabric], chairs in silk, and gilded French appliques are the opulent setting for paintings like the ravishing Titian in the Steinberg living room." The imagery of both the photograph and caption suggest the lavish display of wealth centered around important works of art.

The article's text moves on to provide some insights in Steinberg's motivations for acquiring art. "... [Steinberg] moves into a description of his last visit to the Tate [gallery] in London, where his Triptych by Francis Bacon was recently shown to rave notices... 'It was a great thrill to own the centerpiece of the exhibition,' Steinberg notes (Moonan 1985, p. 238)." This excerpt portrays Steinberg's search for international social acceptance vis a vis his remarkable art possessions. Still, his personal insecurity in the role of art patron is evident in his "thrill" of owning (and being) the center of so much aesthetic acclaim.

As the text continues, it outlines in greater detail the role of novice aesthetic scholar which Steinberg (and his wife Gayfryd) play. They are eager to seek information on artistic and intellectual subjects as a way of furthering themselves socially and also are anxious to display their new-found sophistication. For example, the text notes,"[Steinberg] eagerly asks about French architects who might renovate the Grand Hotel in Cap Ferrat, a new acquisition (p. 237)." He later comments, "I thought about becoming an architect once" and then describes in detail his "contemporary and starkly elegant Charles Gwathmey-designed corporate headquarters on Park Avenue (p.237)." The text suggests that Steinberg is anxious 'to do the right thing' aesthetically. Lacking confidence in his own inherent taste, he seeks out references to others who can make the socially correct design decisions for him.

Steinberg also appears anxious to exhibit the intellectual knowledge he has acquired -- to portray himself as a capable and enthusiastic student of the Upper-class ideology. The text notes, "... He launches into a five minute monologue on Winston Churchill, what a great statesman he was; what an outstanding leader, ... [Steinberg] is now collecting first editions of Churchill's books (p. 238)." This form of collecting permits him to associate himself with an eminent political figure, while also demonstrating the appropriate intellectual appreciation for Churchill's talents.

Steinberg's goals in collecting art and scholarly possessions are vividly embedded in a second photograph taken from the article. It is captioned, "'In the great English country homes, they live with extraordinary art and make a house home,' says Gayfryd Steinberg (p. 240)." The photograph depicts Saul and Gayfryd in formal evening attire in the front right-center of their living room. A seated Gayfryd wears a gold silk Scaasi dress and diamond jewelry. Saul, in evening formal wear, stands behind her; hands in his pockets. They both gaze at the camera. Behind them is an antique harp and music stand; to the left is an ebony Steinway grand piano, its keyboard open and sheet music laying on the bench. The crimson silk walls of the room are hung with several large gilt-framed masterpieces. Crystal and porcelain figures trimmed in gold leaf rest atop virtually every vertical space. Recessed lighting highlights the most significant possessions. The Steinbergs are effectively ensconced in their art. Their home is their social showplace; an exhibition of acquired 'good taste' in extremis.

Following the hallowed route to Upper-class acceptance through philanthropy (Aldrich 1988), Steinberg has donated both funds and art works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City "[His] contributions to the Met -- the Fortuny on gallery walls, the Frank Lloyd Wright room, the reinstallation of the Greek and Roman treasury, several educational programs, and even the half-million dollars necessary for the museum to do a catalog of its own collection... have totalled millions of dollars (p. 241)," notes the text.

These activities have endeared Steinberg greatly to the director of the Metropolitan Museum who is shown with the Steinbergs in one photograph in the article. The caption to this photo states, "In the magnificent library, Saul discusses paintings with friend Phillippe de Montebello, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Saul's favorite 'charity.' Gayfryd under Joachim Wtewal's Annunciation of the Shepherd, 1606, the first old master Saul bought 242)." There are several notable aspects of this photograph. First, the fact that the museum director was willing to drop by the Steinbergs' house while photos for the magazine article were being shot signifies that Saul's patronage of the arts has also bought him the services of significant art person Perhaps more significant, however, is the positioning of the three figures in the photo. B Saul and Gayfryd are seated upon the library couch, attentively looking upward toward Mr. Montebello who stands, gesturing, in front of them. The image is very much one of a student-teacher relationship.

The library, itself, does not appear to be heavily furnished with books -- much of the available shelf space is given over to porcelain figurines and photographs. Two incongruous furnishings in the library are the enormous red draperies, which accent an enormous red couch, and blue, hi-tech track lighting mounted on the ceiling. These elements seem to be out-of-proportion-to and out-of-synch-with, respectively, the rest of the room and reinforce the inconsistent success with which the Steinbergs have communicated their social class goals through their choice of possessions.

A final photograph, also intended to demonstrate the Steinberg's commitment to upper-class ideology, communicates once again their missteps, as well. This is a picture of the dining room and is captioned "Jacob Jordaen's The King Drinks over the sideboard sets a joyous mood for formal dinners (p. 245)." The dining room is dominated by a long, dark wood table set very formally for ten diners. Each place setting is marked with an ornate silver card holder naming the guest to be seated. The head setting of the table is designated "Saul." The other dominant image in the photograph is the long, dark painting, The King Drinks, whose central figure is a fat, jovial man with crowned head and full mouth -- an unwitting metaphor for the present host; (Steinberg is a large, heavy-set man).

It is evident that much effort has gone into the presentational qualities of the room. The chandelier chain and dining chairs have been wrapped in brocade cloth, as is the current fashion; fresh-cut flowers have been placed as a centerpiece; each setting has three cut-crystal goblets; a large oriental rug bedecks the floor, and an elaborate oriental lacquered screen stands nearby. There are lit candles in the candelabrum, and a pepper mill and salt bowl are used instead of shakers. In the photograph Gayfryd carefully instructs a servant, who holds a silver tray, in the correct placement of each goblet.

Into this concerted attempt at refined tastefulness, however, creep two notes of inauthenticity. Above Gayfryd's head glitters a constellation of hi-tech, industrial-style track lights, brightly beaming down to provide more sparkle to the opulence below. Their incongruity with the otherwise traditional setting is jarring. And below Gayfryd's carefully posed hand lies the other etiquette faux pas -- beside each dinner plate is a lavishly embroidered dinner napkin colorfully emblazoned with the initials S.P.S., announcing too boldly their owner's name.

In closing, some additional comments are appropriate. The above analysis was not intended to either laud or demean Saul Steinberg and his consumption patterns, but rather to demonstrate how consumers reveal their obsessions through their consumption. What Saul Steinberg wants -- as evidenced by his behavior as a consumer -- is to achieve social acceptance into the Upper-class. He is an avid collector both of art and knowledge in his quest for this goal. He is an avid philanthropist for the same reason. And there would seem to be no fault or shame in pursuing this obsession; many of us do the same, with markedly less success than Steinberg has achieved.

In fact, it is somewhat ironic that it is Steinberg's chronic overachievement (he was a graduate of Wharton at 19; a multimillionaire at 29) that most often gives away his implicit intentions and goals. Typically, he overacts his commitment to art, culture, and scholarship by too eagerly trying to impress others with his paintings, his crimson wallpaper, his knowledge of architecture and Winston Churchill, and his monogrammed table napkins. Quick and capable learner that he is, however, Steinberg will likely soon learn that subtlety, modesty, and the art of understatement are the values he now needs to acquire to reach his goals (cf. Aldrich 1988).


The article is titled, "Malcolm Forbes at Timberfield: The Publisher's New Jersey Estate" signalling at once the celebrity prominence of the featured consumer and the socially significant nature of his house: an estate named Timberfield. The article opens with a description of a social event hosted by Forbes which encodes several cues as to his consumption style and obsessions:

"When he threw a party for twelve hundred of his closest friends last May..., Forbes had to hire a free-lance air traffic controller to keep order among the thirty-three helicopters.  People magazine concentrated on Forbes' two escorts for the evening, Elizabeth Taylor and Jerry Hall; the New York Times, sensing that a new status symbol had been born, focused on the air traffic controller (Buckley 1988, p. 95)."

The opening phrase "twelve hundred of his closest friends" suggests the central irony in Forbes' behavior as a consumer: he is a consummate collector -- of friends, houses, automobiles, toy soldiers, motorcycles, and sensory experiences (e.g., hot air ballooning) -- but appears to establish few enduring, intimate relationships either to people or possessions.

The helicopters used to ferry guests to his party signify a second aspect of Forbes' obsessions in consumption -- a fascination for things technical mechanical in nature. (This will become more evident in subsequent textual excerpts and visual images taken from the article.) Finally, Forbes is obsessed with media attention. Reporters from several magazines and newspapers were invited to document the party cited above; and all of his various residences, as well as his yacht, the Highlander V, have been featured in articles in Town and Country and Architectural Digest. It is as if he desires not only to consume copiously, but to have that consumption acknowledged and documented publicly.

The article continues to reinforce these themes by cataloging Forbes' achievements as a consumer: "[He] owns a [French] chateau, a [Moroccan] palace, a house in London, a quarter-million acre ranch in Colorado, a mountain house in Montana, and an island in Fiji. But Timberfield... is the place he [goes] most weekends, assuming he is not ballooning across the Peoples' Republic of China or motorcycling across Germany... Forbes is to art, bric-a-brac, toys, and anything collectible what a magnet is to iron filings (p. 95)."

Thus Forbes' obsession with collecting is extremely diverse and eclectic. Unlike Steinberg, whose collecting is focused almost exclusively on high quality, high-visibility art works, Forbes at times seems to acquire objects almost randomly, simply because 'they are there.' The text notes, for instance, the presence of a plate of plastic shrimp salad and noodles carefully stashed atop leather volumes in his library.

A prominent aspect of Forbes' consumption style is his fascination with motors, technology, and machinery. The opening visual image in the article provides a signifying cue for this; its caption reads, "A spectacular 1932 Packard dual-cowl phaeton [automobile] is parked in front of the garages and group of guest cottages at Timberfield, Malcolm Forbes forty-acre estate in the verdant New Jersey hunt country (p. 92)." A smaller photo of Forbes, himself, crisply dressed in a navy blazer, white shirt, and white pants is inset into the right hand corner of the larger image. The predominance of the elegant-but-jaunt, British-green Packard automobile (an old but still very potent machine) in the front left of the photograph forms a visual metaphor to Forbes, the man, also advanced in years but still (the image and text suggest) very virile in spirit.

Mechanical imagery is also carried over very distinctly to the text's discussion of Forbes' recently re-designed bedroom: "[Forbes] gave the commission to noted yacht designer, Jon Bannenberg, who had previously designed Forbes' Boeing 727 and his motor yacht... [The bedroom] has leather-upholstered ceilings, flamed and polished Italian granite, bird's eye marble panelling, raw linen, spot lighting, mirrors, and enough chrome to plate a '57 Caddie... Hot water flows continuously through the oversized bathtub rails, the shower nozzle might have been designed by McDonnell-Douglas, the bed rotates 360 degrees, Roman shades lower electronically, and the lighting comes in four moods (p. 97)."

The photograph accompanying the text description of the bedroom provides additional evidence of Forbes' affection for the mechanical. The predominant colors of the room are machine-colors: blue, gray, gray-green, and beige. The room is lit by industrial-style ceiling lights; in the room's center is an enormous stacked collection of media equipment (VCR's, television, radio receiver, c.d. player). The gray granite walls and pillars evoke a corporate building. One glass wall is imprinted with blueprint designs and technical renderings. And above the granite fireplace is a portrait of Forbes, by Salvador Dali, astride a motorcycle. The prevailing semiotic image is one of man-and-machine, or perhaps even more aptly, man-as-machine.

Like Saul Steinberg, Forbes has enhanced the social presentation value of his house by utilizing the services of well-known, elite designers and by acquiring and displaying objects which he feels will effectively communicate his sense of self. The article's text states, "In the living room, [designer] Mario Buatta has brightened the general mood with chintz and a carpet the size of the Nimitz's flight deck... [A painting over the fireplace] is an early Toulouse-Lautrec work, formerly in the collections of Somerset Maugham and Huntington Hartford... The stag over the window bears a little plaque attesting to its having been shot within sight of Windsor Castle by Lord Talfer Smollet in November 1832 (p. 97)."

The objects displayed by Forbes are more eclectic than those collected by Steinberg, perhaps indicating Forbes' greater diversity of interests and desire for a sense of adventure. But, like Steinberg, they are also intend to demonstrate to visitors his association through acquisition with celebrity achievers (e.g., Huntington Hartford) and prominent artists (Toulouse Lautrec).

A photograph of the living room is captioned "'Sunken living rooms were an [architect] Musgrave Hyde signature,' says Forbes. The painting over the mantel is Wedding Feast attributed to David Vinckboons. In the rear bookcase are models of four of the five Highlander yachts that Forbes has owned since 1957 (p. 97)... "

There are some marked differences between the Forbes' living room and that of the Steinbergs. The decor in the present instance is much more muted and subtle, with predominantly pastel shades. There is a large collection of bound leather volumes exhibited in built-in book shelves, signifying Forbes' attention to intellectual pursuits; (recall that fine art, not literature, were present in the Steinberg living room, which also was much more vivid in hue). The photograph also shows a large, unordered collection of family photographs atop an ebony grand piano. This signifies the importance of lineage and kin to Forbes and also suggests that the piano is there for display purposes only, as playing it would require removal of the entire photo collection. Art books also are placed on the coffee table, as in the Steinberg library, to signify arts patronage; although the relative paucity of Forbes' art collection -- as compared to that of the Steinbergs -- suggests that art is not his social strong suit. As in the Steinberg house, Forbes' living room displays fresh-cut flower bouquets to indicate his appreciation for beauty and nature.

The photograph of the dining room also encodes several cues as to Forbes' particular values and obsessions as a consumer. It is captioned, 'The Regency dining table is set with a circa 1810 Chinese Export service. The painting is The Forbes Family at Easter Lunch, 1983, by Julian Barrow (p. 98)." The caption includes three significant semiotic elements. First, it denotes Forbes' acquisition of expensive antique furniture (i.e., the Regency table), his fascination with collecting foreign exotica (the 1810 Chinese Export table service), and his apparent reverence for familial ties. This latter cue is expanded by visual inspection of the family painting hung in the dining room. The portrait depicts three generations of the Forbes family gathered in the dining room around the Regency table. Forbes is the predominant, central figure (recall the "fat king" depicted in the Steinberg dining room painting), and is clearly signified as the patriarch of this large, assembled clan. His wife is a distant figure at the back of the painting's perspective. Her 'distance' from Forbes was apparently emotional, as well, as they divorced only a few years after the painting was made.

The present photograph of the dining room (in which the painting is hung) shows some markedly revealing changes since the painting was made. The current place settings at the dinner table show that a place card titled Elizabeth Taylor has now been set in his wife's former place; next to that is a place setting designated for Walter Annenberg. Significantly (both semiotically and socially speaking), it seems that Forbes' wife and family have been replaced in recent years by celebrity lovers and prominent business associates.

The table setting also suggests some interesting contrasts with that of the Steinberg dining room. The room is lit by two candelabra on the dining tables and candles on the sideboard. Track lighting is notably absent. Dining room chairs are not 'wrapped' in fashionable fabric; and the napkins are unembossed plain white linen. The one ostentatious note on this otherwise consistently understated table setting is the gold-filigree-rimmed crystal goblets.

Thus, Forbes' 'obsession with possession' appears to be more diversified and less overtly aimed toward social climbing than Steinberg's, although Forbes seems more bent on achieving notoriety among the general public. He displays his possessions more publicly (e.g., the invitation of press coverage to his 'private' parties) and seems intent on achieving visibility with his choice of escorts -- the article notes his recent liaison with Elizabeth Taylor three times: as his party companion, as his dinner guest, and finally by observing in the text: "[There is] a cashmere blanket over [his] bed embroidered 'Malcolm, my sweet, With my love, Elizabeth,' a gift from Miss Taylor, whose purple Harley-Davidson is parked in the garage, along with Forbes' thirty motorcycles (p. 98)." That statement seems to sum up well the essence of Forbes' consumption obsessions: celebrity, machinery, and quantity -- not necessarily in that order.


Most studies which examine obsessive consumption have focused upon consumers whose personal resources were overwhelmed by their obsessions, and who subsequently suffered negative consequences -- as did their families (cf, O'Guinn and Faber 1989; Faber and O'Guinn 1988; Faber, O'Guinn, and Krych 1987). This form of obsessive consumption is easily categorized as normatively dysfunctional both for the individual and society, because its consequences are clearly destructive.

When we encounter consumers such as Saul Steinberg and Malcolm Forbes, however, the traditional framework for- dealing with obsessive consumption is not so helpful. Clearly, Steinberg and Forbes are classifiable as 'obsessive' consumers. One (Steinberg) has turned virtually his entire residence into a museum; valuable paintings and sculptures are found in every room of his triplex apartment. He expends millions more on donations to the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- philanthropy which, these, days, does not even provide him with a substantial tax write-off.

And yet, there is clearly method to his madness. Steinberg's fascination with fine art is likely driven by two not-irrational motives. First, as the text makes clear, he does enjoy his paintings; they have aesthetic value to him. Clearly also, he recognizes that a refined aesthetic sensibility is a prerequisite to social acceptability among the upper reaches of the Upper class. To be truly accepted requires not only vast quantities of money (which Steinberg has), but also evidence of 'refined' taste, which he is avidly pursuing (Aldrich 1988).

Malcolm Forbes' motivations for his obsessive pursuit of celebrity, machinery, and apparently just about everything else in quantity are different from those of Steinberg and more difficult to identify. Perhaps they are expressions of an extraordinary level of sensation seeking (cf, Zuckerman 1979). Perhaps they are the strenuous efforts of one man to accumulate a material sense of self identity, as in Citizen Kane (cf, Hirschman 1990).

Regardless of their psychic origin, however, the consumption obsessions of Forbes -- like those of Steinberg -- create a challenge to current theorization on obsessive behavior, because they are not clearly categorizable as destructive to the consumer or to society. They may even have some psychic and social benefits. Just as Steinberg derives both pleasure and social mobility through his art collection, Forbes appears to enjoy his hot air balloon excursions, his motorcycle rallies, his parties for 1,200 people, and his dates with Elizabeth Taylor. Is it possible that obsessive consumption can be both functional and fun? Could those consumers who have adequate resources to pursue their obsessions actually enjoy and benefit from them?

It is possible that the answer may be 'yes.' Recent works by Holbrook (1987), a self-confessed jazz fanatic, Lehmann (1987), a self-confessed body building fanatic, and Pollay (1987b), a self-confessed obsessive advertising collector (and, we presume, all thoroughly sane and rational consumer researchers) each report several benefits they have derived from their obsessions. Like Steinberg and Forbes, they seem to have found ways of controlling their obsessions and guiding them in personally productive ways, rather than being devoured by them financially and emotionally, as so many other consumers have been.

The point of all this is simply that consumer obsessions, in-and-of-themselves, may not necessarily be dysfunctional; indeed they may serve some beneficial social and personal functions; (visitors to the Metropolitan Museum, for example, have certainly benefitted from Steinberg's bequests). Thus, a fruitful avenue for future research would appear to be examining consumers who have gained positively from their obsessive behavior. By doing so, we may learn their methods for controlling the potential for obsessive destruction and instead extracting the potential for obsessive good.


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