Owning Life

Man, I am such a mess of scattered and random anger today! My mind is juuuust spinning. So that’s part of the reason why I won’t write about what I’d been planning to write about for this post. Also, I wanted to use some pictures for it, but haven’t chosen which particular ones yet! 😉

Hence, I shall again ramble away for a bit about nothing in particular and see what shakes out.

I don’t think we can own living things. Not the way we think we can. Other than the Buy Friends app on Facebook (or whatever it was called – I haven’t played in years), we don’t own people, in terms of legal possession, for example. Many of us even frown on the notion of ownership of another person. One does not procreate and consider that they own their child. Even if you pay to adopt or be artificially inseminated or whatever – money has changed hands, and yet there’s usually no ownership mentality that comes with it. No deed or some such paperwork. Children and other people aren’t generally considered property. At least not anymore, or in most places.

Yet every other living thing, we think we can own. A pet. A plant. Livestock. Land. We draw invisible lines across the earth and consider what’s within them ours. Our property. Our country. Our continent. Our rivers, lakes, oceans and seas. Even airspace, for the love! We think we can own the air ABOVE our land! We tax and tarriff, we charge fees to cross our land, our waters or travel in our air. We fight for it, to the death. Our territory. While we are not the only species on the planet known to do such a thing, I think we can safely presume that we are the only ones who go to such lengths to “own” it. Even space we’re not using, we don’t want anyone else to use it, either. We’ll destroy something beautiful rather than let another enjoy it.

Yet the whole idea is kind of ludicrous, when you think about it. You own a plot of land, so you build a house upon it, which you also own. You plant trees and grass on it, and you own those, too. Do you also then own the insects and wildlife which traverse it occasionally? Of course not. Do you own the birds that fly through your airspace above your land? Nope. You don’t even think of them as the tresspassing illegal aliens they so clearly are. When the wind (also a tresspasser) blows your leaves off of your tree and onto your neighbour’s lawn, do you go rake them up? Nope – they become your neighbour’s problem, even though you just owned them a minute ago. How quickly you relinquish ownership then, right?! When precipitation falls from your sky, do you claim to own the rain and snow and hail? The floodwaters in your basement – yours? Of course not. It’s a completely silly notion, because life is fluid and temporary and ever-changing. Life cannot be owned.

We claim to own our pets, yet same thing – we own them no more than we own our human children. They are intelligent, unique individuals, and we make them dependant on us for their very survival, but we have also made ourselves responsible for the quality of their lives. We can own the responsibility, but not the individual lives themselves.

I think we’ve just become so bored as a species that we need to control and dominate everything and everyone. We need to twist and shape those around us into what we think we want. All these years of technological advancement and we still don’t know how to plant trees so that their branches and roots don’t grow to collide with power lines, sidewalks and the like, so we cut them, trim them to our liking. We need to travel quickly because we’re all very busy going nowhere, so as long as that’s not a human we just ran over, we’re good. Speed on ahead to get to that red light faster. We measure our worth by what we have. By things. I have this, therefore I am that. We don’t realize that we can have all the things in the world and we’re still going to die. We are not immortal – not in the way we think we want to be – and we are not going to live forever. But the damage we cause will outlast us; all of us. Destruction is our immortal legacy.

I wonder what those who come later will think, when they look back at who we appear to be right now. Will they wonder where all the green went? What happened to all the art and beauty and music? Will they look at our piles of treasured material things as garbage and gaze at our faded selfies and imagine the lives of a people who had the time and need to take portraits of their meals, while simultaneously destroying all of the living things around them? All of the living things they thought they owned?

Will they wonder what the ever-loving fuck we were thinking? Or just wonder if we were ever thinking at all?

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