I’ve been thinking recently about the concept of ‘Ownership’. What do we really own in life? What do we aspire to own? More importantly, how do these “assets” and desired accumulation of assets impact how we live? But before I answer these questions, I’d rather make a list of things we think we own, but actually don’t.
Our House: If it’s mortgaged, we clearly don’t own it. If it is unencumbered it is still owned by the government. Real Estate, is Spanish for Royal Estate. All land is ultimately owned by the crown or the government of the day. Stop paying your ‘rates’ and they will repossess your house. The rates we pay are a form of rent from the true owners. What we have is a lease without an expiration date.
Our Body: In actual fact it owns us. It demands what we feed it, how we treat it and how we exercise it. Disobey and it will cut our lives short.
Our Car: We can’t drive it without insurance and licenses, or the fuel which is taxed. Our car is a liability we hold for which fees must be paid to make it ‘usable’
Most things we think we own, we have greater access to. If we ‘own’ it in law, it just means we have permanent access, not true ownership. The only things we ever own are our thoughts, our memories and our hopes. Why most people spend their lives accumulating liabilities instead of experiences is beyond me. The real cost of perceived ownership is the pillaging of the planet, and locking ourselves into the industrial complex. All we really need is the right level of access to assets and we’ll be able to do and achieve more than people who go around buying stuff.