Do We Own Ourselves?

Published on strike the root, by NonEntity (Exclusive to STR), December 20, 2007.

… My point is basically this: Ownership is a function of agreement. All parties need to understand that there is an idea of property and ownership before ownership can exist. Not only that, these parties must agree to the ownership, otherwise it is more of a wish (on the part of the possessor) than actual ownership. Just because I am holding this hammer does not mean that I own it. Ownership relies on the fact that you understand the concept of property and grant that the hammer is mine. Otherwise it is not owned by me, it is simply possessed …

… So from the above thought train, I must conclude that I do not own myself unless others recognize the concept. I possess myself, for sure. But if the society or culture in which I live does not understand and honor the idea of property and ownership, then my “rights” as regard my body are no greater than simple possession. Ownership can only exist if those who might be in competition for that property will grant the idea that it is yours. You can only own something with the agreement of others. Otherwise it is simply possession with the potential willingness to defend that possession. A man can take my hammer and threaten to shoot anyone who takes it from him, including me. This does not mean it is his hammer. Just so, my willingness to protect my hammer from theft is not what makes it mine. It is the acknowledgment by others that the hammer is mine which in fact makes it mine.

In Summation: Ownership is a social construct. It is not something one can proclaim. Rather, something like trust, it must be earned. It is something that is granted to you by others. Entreaty, not declaration, is its potting soil. Like love, it can only be obtained by giving it away. And just as similarly, that is no guarantee. (full text).

Comments are closed.