Having is greater than owning

12:00:00 AM

People have grown so used to labeling things as their own that a lot seem to derive comfort from whatever it is that they can call theirs - a house, a car, a phone, a computer, and so on. Although I would dare claim that I am not attached to most of my material possessions (thanks to Fight Club), I still like having certain things - especially my books, and I don't think that's ever going to change, haha!

I'm not against the  need of people to own things; if they want it and then they worked for it, then they deserve it. I'm like that, too, albeit to a lesser extent. I guess I just spend on different items than most people I know, and owning those things do make me happy. But there is something that I'm really, really against, and that's the idea of owning people.

The definition of ownership is the state, relation, or fact of being an owner. Being an owner means you legally possess something, that that something is your property. The term also implies having power or mastery over something. The key word here is something, not someone. 
No, you don't.
(image from the internet)
While most dictionaries have similar definitions of owning and having, those are two very different philosophical concepts - for me, at least. To own something means you control it fully, and that can only be done to a thing, and not to a person. We have people in our lives, but they're not ours - we do not possess them, and we do not control them.

To own someone is to destroy him or her - you impose your will on that person, and if he or she chooses to be owned, he or she will sacrifice identity to accommodate your need for ownership. He or she will cease to become his or her true self to become what you want. In the end, he or she will be reduced to a thing, complete with all the labels that limit his or her personality, his or her humanity.

Wanting to own someone could also destroy you. When the person you think you own falls short in his or her attempt to become what you want him or her to be, you will be disappointed. If he or she somehow manages to meet all your expectations, you will forever be responsible for that person because you made him or her, because his or her identity is your product.

We do not, and we cannot, own people - we can only have them - and by this I mean letting them be who they really are and just be grateful for the privilege of having them around.

Let me end this post with a quote from Paulo Coelho, lifted from the novel Eleven Minutes: Nobody loses anyone, because nobody owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.


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