From ownership to access

In today’s world, the default method of gaining access to a resource is to purchase. A piece of clothes, a mobile phone, food and drink, a car… Even renting a house, what most of us the 99%s do, is considered Plan B next to buying it. We rent primarily because of soaring housing prices.

To purchase is to claim ownership. If we focus on the ownership aspect, it goes beyond the act of purchasing and covers a broader range of our lives. We “own” our savings. Companies “own” employees. Husbands and wives “own” each other (See Note at the end before you throw knives at me). Copyright holders “own” their ideas. We so desperately want to own properties, and thus, our future.

Why do we need to claim a precious resource just to ourselves through ownership? We’re fine as long as we can access it when we want, right?

The ultimate source of our owning habit it is fear—fear that we would lose what we have in our hands unless we lock it up and guard it with a key or a contract. We claim ownership in order to free ourselves from our anxiety and to assure us that it is “always there for us.”

Instead it isn’t.

Securing a resource in order to eliminate our fear ultimately does not work, because it strengthens the notion that our fear diminishes only when there are abundant resources. Once the resource is gone, so is our confidence. The more resources we pile up under our ownership term to appease our fear, the more fear we create. Our resources turn into a bomb that blows up when the countdown timer reaches zero. Our act of securing resources increases the time, but does not rid the bomb.

I won’t say that we will be well off by having zero resources, which simply means death. But I would say that living under the fear of a ticking bomb isn’t a healthy habit either.

Maybe it is better to focus on the core issue: to ensure that we have what we need anytime, anywhere. Purchasing or claiming ownership is just one method. It bloats the “anytime” “anywhere” aspect of the original concern into full spectrum and replaces them with “all the time” “everywhere.”

I believe what we truly need is access, not ownership. The ultimate protection to our well being is to make sure that we can always access the resource we need, at that time, on the spot. We are only resorting to ownership tactics because we don’t want to “negotiate” access each time. We just want to be lazy, and therefore, we hog resources—be them money, time, food, vehicle, house—to make sure they are always there, just for us.

“We aren’t being greedy,” most of us say. “We just need to secure our life first.” But are we fully aware of the fact that 99% of the resources we carry just to “secure our life first” are sitting there as dead stock?

When we need something, we access it. When done, we leave the rest to others. Can’t it be that simple?

“We can’t trust strangers,” again most of us say. “We need to pile up more than we need because there is no guarantee in this modern world.” Yet just like ownership amplifying the very fear it tries to address, the trust issue is also self-propagating. Other people become stingy and greedy because they see us being stingy and greedy by hogging the resources.

Human beings are made to copy each other. I am pretty sure that as we start to shift into the sharing & access mode, the society will be needing less and less ownership and more access and sharing.

Note: I do not say that a monogamous relationship doesn’t work. It does, obviously, and I believe in it. But monogamity, or the framework we put two people in, should better work as a way to enhance the love that exists between two people, not to shield them from external world so neither will “escape” the prison.