On Property Ownership

One of the hardest things about writing has little or nothing to do with the actual act. Rather, it comes before the actual time “penning” a given piece of work.

Having once decide about what one is going to speak, there is a tendency to come to the stark realization that, the thing I about which I thought I would be speaking is not what really needs talked about at all.

Such is the case with this piece. I started out with the idea that I needed to cover ownership from a perspective that I now realize would not have been productive in the long run. Instead, I have decided to “take a proverbial step back,” and approach the matter from a simper place.

In order to do that, it is necessary to take government (other than self government) entirely out of the picture. Imagine—for the sake of this post—that you live in a place that is sufficiently far removed from others, as to make government infeasible. You have found “your home” out in some wilderness, and are now in the process of making it a place where you may have some measure of safety and security.

With enough time to find a water source, hunt,  gather and generally fill your most urgent needs, you begin to consider what will be needed in order to be relatively safe and secure.

At present, you have sufficient covering of your person to keep you from dying of exposure, as such, you turn to the next obvious “need,” that of shelter. Why is shelter a need? For a couple of fairly simple reasons.

Firstly, having shelter means it will take longer for the elements (wind, rain, snow, sun and others) to “get the better of you.” To some degree, clothing can be said to cover this as well, but having a way to deal with it on a more permanent basis must be seen as highly desirable.

In addition, having a means to “shut out” things like wild animals looks very attractive, particularly while you attempt to meet one of your other daily needs, that of sleep.

As stated, the need for shelter is partly to protect you from the elements. But the secondary reason listed is actually one that is often misunderstood. The very first truth of life is, your life is yours and it is—as far as anyone is able to tell—the only one you will get. As such, it is in you best interest to protect it!

This is the first statement of ownership that any person makes, consciously or not. He or she ultimately must acknowledge that his or her life “belongs to” him or her self. Without life, there is (as far as one can readily determine) nothing else. Therefor, one ought to and does protect that life. Further one must count it as one’s own; that is, a thing belonging to oneself.

Realizing that ownership starts at the very most basic place in life is significant, as it helps to explain just how important “personal property” is.

In the process of protecting one’s life, it is not in the least unnatural to “take possession” of other things that make it more readily possible to protect and defend that first thing owned. For example, if you’ve clothes, food that you have not yet consumed (which includes livestock and crops), or a place where you shelter, nobody should be surprised if you protect such things as if your life depended on them. This is because, well, quite frankly, it does.

Each subsequent thing over which you assert possession is very likely accounted so for one of three reasons (there are others, but we won’t go too far into discussing them here, as that’s a matter for another post). The reasons are: to keep one alive, to keep one healthy and well, and for the pleasure the things in question provide (which could be said to be a part of the second reason).

To argue that ownership is a bad thing on the face of it, is to argue that I have no right to protect my own life, or the things that keep that life within me. It is my sincere hope that nobody will make such an argument.

Over the course of time, here in my little shelter, I begin to become prosperous. That is to say, I am able to provide for more than my needs and even to some degree, my wants. I know though, that unexpected things can occur, that may make it impossible for me to do the things to which I have grown accustomed. Perhaps I will not be able to hunt, or farm, or gather for a time. As a means of protecting myself, I amass things to make it possible to survive in such times. Are those things still mine? I would argue that since I have taken the necessary actions to amass them, they are.

If I collect “more than I will ever need” in your opinion, does that mean that, at some point, the things I have taken the time to glean are not mine? That seems to be a rather specious concept in my mind. I did the collecting, and I’m betting I by no means collected so much that others have no ability to do likewise.

Equally important, what happens if I find myself in a position where a large portion of what I have collected is destroyed or made unusable by some thing or circumstance I couldn’t even have foreseen? Were it not for my “over collection,” I would have been entirely lost. In the best case, I would have had to “start over.” And if I were no longer in a position to do again what I had done before, that is “my problem.”

In none of this have we even begun to consider others for whom I may “take responsibility,” as doing so would make this post substantially longer than I am willing to permit (again, attempting to stay as close to one thousand words as possible). Even without this, have “exceeded my self-imposed limit” already.

The simple point of what I have here written is simple. Asserting ownership is neither evil, nor even improper. We must “take ownership of” at least our existence (and it makes a great deal of sense to take possession of a good deal more in order to keep our existence).

As usual, I thank you for reading and wish you the best of times.

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