October 31, 2011

Day 52: What is ownership really? (Equal Money FAQ series)

Ownership and the fear of losing
Ownership is a state of possessing something usually associated with property and material possession. Interestingly enough, such social and legal status is a manifestation of a mind possession cultivated within a survival-based economic system.
Such invisible need and social representation of survival served to the foundation of physical divisions and in today’s society everything has an owner and all is owned, whether is by an individual, collective, government or corporation.
Starting by owning a name and a surname, we eventually carry the weight of the family’s reputation. The ultimate separation that we are facing in our times is the accumulation of such relationships, attachments and unsustainable lifestyle where each one lives in its own bubble and delusional state of security.
Ownership exists within and as the polarity of having and the fear of losing, in a game where human relations participate in constant friction. As a result, the future is motivated by the desire of winning and by people’s wishes for an imaginary stability usually represented by nostalgic traditions and principles that got lost in time.

"We’ve owned a system of slavery and such weight has been greater than the self-will of men to free themselves"

Nevertheless, the idea of private property and ownership that seem to be natural to our species has simply been gradually ingrained in the human mind. In fact, once men thought that all things should be common, as Heckewelder[1] describes how Indians defended that the Great Spirit had made the Earth, and all that it contains, for the common good of mankind, where everything is given in common to the sons of men. Whatever lived on the land and growth out of the earth, and all that is in the rivers and waters, was given jointly to all, and everyone is entitled to his share. Hospitality with them is not a virtue, but a strict duty.
Hobbes’ thoughts also put the whole construct of ownership into question: “Nature hath given to each of us an equal right to all things. In a state of nature every man has a right to do and to take whatsoever he pleases: whence the common saying that Nature has given all things to all men whence it follows that in a state of nature utility is the rule of right”.[2]  
The urge to own something is the direct consequence of the (d)evolution of the social and economic environments that we have been creating for ourselves in the image and likeness of ourselves as the mind.  But why do we humans have never considered bursting the bubble? The reality is that we’ve owned a system of slavery and such weight has been greater than the self-will of men to free themselves once and for all. Each one is still accepting to “live” in its own island without realising that the earth itself is the common ship we all share. In one’s action, look at where you are not considering the other’s space, or where one defines oneself for the goods possessed.
The extent of the millenary education and imitation of existing costumes is so incredibly big that the need for owning goes beyond the property and physical materials. People want to own other people, isn’t it? That is what marriage is all about really, the rights and duties of owning such relationship based on interests and the desire for financial stability. Another example is children in our world who are thought to be owned by the parents and will grow up always comparing themselves to the elders and needing to payback the debt that parents sacrificed to raise them.
 Everything that exists in this world is a manifestation of the need to possess. Socially speaking, people recognise others by that which they possess and the security they have in the capitalistic system. This is mine, this is my mine of gold, and this is my anti-personnel weapon that maintains my neighbours away. But did you know that in the Caroline islands, when an indigene set out on a journey, he carried with him no provisions? When hungry he would simply enter a lodge without any kind of ceremony, eat and leave when his hunger was satisfied. There was no need for permission neither thanking anybody because he has but exercised a right.[3]

Ownership is a target of the mind
It is quite difficult to accept a lifestyle of complete freedom. Certainly many think that no one could simply “enter my house and eat what I bought with my own money that I earned with my own sweat”. However, we dare you to de-construct this idea of ownership and you will realise that no one really owns anything, except the objective/target of owning something: do you really own your house or is the bank to which you pay your mortgage? Do you know where your money comes from? Couldn’t you be doing something more productive than exchanging your time for money as a slave of this eco-no-me? Aren’t we tired of abusing our bodies during almost all our life and expect to enjoy what we own when we retire?
The cure for such ownership possession is money for all within a system that cares for all. Then the need to possess or to build castles for the sake of security will become irrelevant, since fear is excluded from the equation called Life. Ownership will not be necessary because what will be valued is life in all its manifestations. People will not be able to be defined by their haves and have-nots because everyone will have the best of everything.  Thus, jealousy, fear of loss and crime will cease to exist since the origin of such has been the atrocious inequality ingrained in the current economic system and promoted by greedy egos.
Human beings don’t need to define themselves based on what they have, but rather on who they are! The divide-and-conquer strategy has misled humanity to believe that it exists in separate bubbles/countries/lands. If one looks in Self-Honesty at the current system of ownership, one will understand that it is against existence itself – human beings share a planet and there’s nothing we can do to change this principle. Oneness and Equality must be our starting point.

[1] Heckewelder – History, Manners and Customs of Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States, Reprinted in 1876.
[2] Thomas Hobbes in De Cive – source: Paul Lafargue The Evolution of Property and Social and Philisophical Studies London: New Park Publiations, 1975. Print.  
[3] Paul Lafargue The Evolution of Property and Social and Philisophical Studies London: New Park Publiations, 1975. Print.  


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