5.18.2008

Value, Ownership, and the Concept of Freedom

I find it interesting that we, as humans, hold on so dearly to our possessions and, in fact, claim things we do not even own. We go about our days taking and possessing things that really are not ours, nor anyone else's to have. "Excuse me, that's my seat." As if you own that and it is yours to hand out as you please. Walk into your favorite dinner and get "your usual." Your meal that you designed? I thought as much.

Another of my personal favorites: MY girl/boyfriend. I cannot express how much this irks me. To be sure it is a convenient term, but it has depth that I dare not claim. To own a human being...appears to either be slavery or a task that even the wisest should take with greatest caution. Abandoning the idea of slavery, to take some one's life as a burden is overbearing to dwell upon (which it should be. It would be folly to simply take a life in such a manner under idle thought.). It is enough responsibility to care for oneself and from my experience few people even do that well.

Perhaps an even larger lie stems from the previous statement: that you own yourself.

This brings to question the very core of the matter: what does it mean to own something? Is it simply taking care of something? Or accepting anything that happens to it and resolving any issues with it? Is it more than being a good caretaker?

Unfortunately, the idea of "owning" something is a lie. This really just hit me as I was writing this, but it is completely true. We do not own anything. And here is why.

Let's assume that something can be owned. The first item that someone owns must be given to them, usually at a very young age (unless a certain newborn baby is able to produce their own sustenance, which I am not aware of ever happening). This means that someone owned this commodity before. The original owner probably bought this item, receiving money from ANOTHER person. Presumably then, every person earns money and buys (and thus owns) items using the money that was earned and given to them. This money is given from a higher power, but that higher power must receive money from somewhere else. By the original statement (often called the "base case" in logic by induction), the pattern continues infinitely. However, there is not plausibly an infinite chain of people issuing money...thus this system has no beginning. If it has no beginning, it cannot have a body or an ending. Thus there is a contradiction and there is no ownership.

There are other details that I purposely left out, but I think you can see the concept behind.

So now what is left? There is no ownership...is anything left?
There is a feeling of...no, just a feeling. That is all. A feeling that something should be owned, used to satisfy oneself, and cared for. So we satisfy these needs by creating words like "my" and "mine" to represent this false accusation.
Do we purposely live behind this veil? I believe we do. Because we do not wish to face the reality that all that we "have" is really God's. And He choose what He lets us play with.
So play nice, and share your toys.