Property Propriety

I got ripped off recently, and I realized that I don’t own anything. And let me tell you, it’s a relief. I used to own lots of stuff. I was totally bought into the idea that there was “mine” and “somebody else’s.” And then I bought into a couple other ideas. One was that I can’t own a galaxy, and I can’t own an atom, and that since everything I encounter is somewhere between galaxies and atoms, I can’t own it, whatever it is. Another idea that made me an ex-owner is when I realized that my stuff has many times made me unhappy when it either became less good, or damaged, or no longer mine. So if I lay claim to nothing, then I literally have nothing to lose, which leaves me permanently protected from ever being upset over losing anything or having it break or wear out.

This is not to say that I forget what ownership is all about, or that it’s really important to lots of people, or that there is an ethical code of behaviors and attitudes in our society based on ownership that serves the purpose of keeping the peace and keeping track of what goes where. And I’m fine with all that. I plan to play along until the end, getting all the benefits that ownership has on society, but risk free. For example, when someone “steals” something of “mine,” I experience no sense of injustice. Nothing bad or wrong happened. The effect on me is the same as if someone stole the Milky Way galaxy or an atom from my foot.

6 Comments

  • Ted O’Neill Posted February 15, 2009 6:07 pm

    Awesome post. I don’t own my bankroll, nor is the value of each note absolute. I am just borrowing them for a while.

  • Anna Paradox Posted February 15, 2009 8:57 pm

    Hey, the consciousness is bound to be worth more than the object!

    🙂

    I do choose to be responsible for a fair number of things. It feels better to feel grateful for them than entitled to them.

    Anna

  • Short-Stacked Shamus Posted February 16, 2009 7:58 am

    Ever read Lars Eighner’s essay “On Dumpster Diving”? Draws some similar conclusions, if I remember it correctly.

  • Tommy Angelo Posted February 16, 2009 9:26 am

    Shamus,

    Here’s the essay:

    http://www1.broward.edu/~nplakcy/docs/dumpster_diving.htm

    And yes, similar conclusions.

  • Henri Posted February 16, 2009 2:39 pm

    I have been thinking about the same things lately. So I sold my sofa and other things, I like selling things so I can own less!

  • brec Posted February 17, 2009 7:56 pm

    … I can’t own a galaxy, and I can’t own an atom, and … since everything I encounter is somewhere between galaxies and atoms, I can’t own it, whatever it is.

    Non sequiturs allow a lot of freedom:

    Since I can’t own the North Pole and I can’t own the South Pole…

    Since I can’t eat an atom and I can’t eat a galaxy…

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fourteen − six =