I'm often confronted by those who feel affronted by comments I sometimes make about private property ownership, and how ultimately it enslaves us. We've been conditioned to equate ownership with freedom, as in the more we own, the more freedom we gain. Capitalism, of course, is founded on the principle of private property ownership, and we're taught that capitalism is the freest system ever designed. To that I say, rubbish. Life itself is the freest system ever designed! Capitalism is just another way to attempt to control life, so that some can claim disproportionally greater power than others. Here's my explanation, for what it's worth:
I define capitalism as the aggregation of money (ie: capital) to fund
and direct investment, thus empowering those who have money to decide what gets created, and what does
not. Capitalism relies upon private property ownership, because it focuses on individual investors earning profits off
whatever they have purchased with their money. Without private ownership and the impulse to benefit personally from that ownership, there would be no need for individual investors.
I don't perceive capitalism as a free system - though it's billed as
that - because ultimately those who amass the most capital gain greater control
over the economic system and use their power to disenfranchise, or
take advantage of, those who have little or no capital. If I have no
capital, I have no say in the creation/distribution process.
And the more money I have, the more say I have. Dollars vote in our markets; not
people. Because of that, people will always be unequal in our system,
although we supposedly have equal rights and - conceptually, at least -
are equally divine in nature.
As for those who claim socialism requires violence and centralized control in ways that suppress
human freedom, they may want to consider the many Northern European nations
that are doing very well as socialist democracies...particularly Finland
and Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and so forth. These countries are are proving that
collectives with common goals can focus on serving the highest good for the individual
without subsuming individual freedoms, by removing the worst stressors
of capitalism and by encouraging self-actualization. What we believe then, does not always adhere to reality! We can shout all we want about the conceptual evils of socialism and stamp our feet angrily about how what horrid a system it is; meanwhile, those who are living happily and choicefully within social democracies laugh at our silly posturing and continue on with their lives.
Personally, I am not capitalist, socialist, communist, fascist or
any other mechanical form of man-made conceptual "ism" that now exists. The
only "ism" I embrace is "organism." As an organism, I defer to nature's blueprint to
inform me how to relate to and engage with the whole of
reality...including all other living organisms.
As a result of having consulted nature's blueprint, I'm no longer a fan
of private ownership of anything, or of the private sale of what we're each put
here to bring forth from our creative abundance and in self-fulfillment.
Everywhere I look in nature, I see helpless and newborn things taking
freely whatever they need from the larger environment until they're mature
enough to produce what they are born to bring forth; then they gift their
fruits back into the world without holding back or controlling their fruits
in any way. They surrender whatever they create to all manner of diverse beings who may be able to use them.
For most creatures, the act of creating what they are here to create is life fulfillment enough. The net result is natural abundance, because nothing is holding
anything back out of greed, or fear or the desire for greater power.
I believe it's a conceit to imagine we humans "own" any part of what
we are IN, as we are IN a unified living field upon which we all depend
for our survival. To claim we own any part of that fully integrated
field is like your toe suddenly claiming it owns your foot. What if your
other toes were one day denied access to the crucial resources they needed from your bloodstream, because one toe claimed sovereignty over
all that passed through your foot? What if that one toe forced your other
toes to do only its bidding in exchange for having their needs
met, instead of allowing them to do the work of the larger body that
they were designed, created and born to do?
Nature abhors ownership. Nature is all about the highest possible
manifestation and most efficient delivery and use of the greatest gifts each of its differentiated
aspects can produce. It inspires a FREE exchange of those gifts
across the entire system, so that nothing gets wasted
and all life forms are satisfied to the best of the system's capacity to serve them. In
nature, every differentiated (specialized) individual serves the larger
system that contains it by coming into its own and BEING what it was ever meant to be. In
return, the system offers every individual a unified reality far better and more
beautiful than what any individual could have provided for itself on
We live in a world of systems within systems within systems. The
tragedy of human thinking is that we've been socially conditioned to perceive ourselves as
utterly separated - thus disconnected - from all else. What sorrow and loneliness that generates within the human spirit!
belong to a body not so they can self-aggrandize, control or grab
additional power, but because by working together as a body they create something
that is far greater than the simple sum of cells would indicate. Each
cell gains real and lasting benefits by surrendering its independence,
without surrendering any of its uniqueness. Specialization enables
evolutionary advancement, but we can't specialize unless we allow
ourselves to depend upon others who specialize in different
areas to serve us, as we in turn serve them. The tradeoff for embracing the
freedom to become utterly unique and discretely specialized so we can activate our life passions is that, by doing so, we must then
shoulder responsibility for those who are surrendering their ability to
do other things, so they in turn can pursue their unique passions, which
they then agree to do on OUR behalf.
Imagine if your blood cell charged your liver cell to deliver it
food, and your liver cell countered by charging the blood cell an even
higher tribute to remove the blood cell's toxins. How long do you
imagine your body could survive with such a for-profit "free enterprise"
system? The bickering, positioning, deprivation and inevitable piling
up of excess resources would quickly cause your body to break down. Such
a system leads inexorably to manufactured lack, not to free-flowing abundance. It CREATES poverty; it doesn't alleviate it.
Long ago, when we humans first began to charge each other for our discrete
services and attempted to label some services more valuable or worthy than others,
we disrupted the natural flow of abundance and energy within our human
social system. Why is a plumber worth less than an office manager? Does a
brain cell deserve higher status than a heart cell, and should it
demand a greater reward in exchange for its work?
Ownership, and the withholding of one's gifts until one is rewarded
for their delivery, may work as tricks of the human the mind to hold each other captive for a time, but our larger reality proves our belief in
ownership incorrect every time it changes without our
permission - through hurricanes, flood, earthquakes, fire, drought,
pestilence or any other such shift it chooses to make to "our" turf,
without our permission. Ownership implies domination and control, but
reality is inherently a free will system. It doesn't care a whit what we
humans imagine we control. Reality will act of its own free will despite our
best efforts to insist we're in control of certain pieces. It is, by the
way, our longstanding refusal to surrender to this universal truth that is the greatest single source of human suffering.
In essence, since we can't truly control the things we claim to own,
ownership is really just a clever means we use to brainwash each other. We
use the belief in ownership to control other humans, by convincing them
they're not allowed to utilize some aspect of the fully integrated,
living system we all share. In that way we domesticate each other,
creating docile, obedient slaves to what is, at heart, merely a belief
system and not the truth of life.
Our conceit can last a long time, and some of us may stumble
through our entire lives without being disabused of the notion that we
"own" some piece of this larger system in which we're embedded. Or you might (as I have) find yourself suddenly helpless
and broken, caught in a situation where the naked truth of your own lack
of control smacks you in the face in a way you can no longer deny...which in turn becomes a blessed invitation to surrender your grand illusions
of control OVER your own life to the overarching power that IS life
itself. Surrender, and it becomes possible to shift your focus away from
claiming ownership (driven by an urge for self-preservation within a dangerous,
uncaring system) toward the manifestation of whatever is urgently
wanting to birth itself into this world through you (full and free
participation in the loving system that created, contains and supports
THAT is true freedom; surrendering your fears in order to activate
your birthright, so you can fulfill your life's destiny.
Here's a test: If you truly own anything in this life, you should be
able to take it with you when you depart this Earth. That you can't
even take with you the body you claim as your own is a clue as to
the true nature of our residency in this world. Every atom,
molecule, cell, being and system that comprises this world belongs to
ITSELF - ALL is inherently free.
Too many humans, alas, remain slaves to their
conditioned beliefs about the world, and about their "rightful"
place in it. For that false assumption, we pay dearly.