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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Passionate about Property

When I was about 5 years old our family lived in New Port Richey, Florida.  While there, we had a visit from my Aunt Virgie and Uncle Calhoun.  They had young children of their own.  I had a wood rocking chair at the time that I was probably fast outgrowing.  Nevertheless, when without consulting me my parents gave the rocker to Aunt Virgie’s family to take back with them to Jacksonville, I had a major meltdown.  In fact, after all these years, this stands out as one of my most impassioned moments.  That this passion arose over property is perhaps a sad commentary on human nature or, at least, my nature.  I suppose I had become deeply identified with the rocker—it had imprinted itself upon my mind that the rocker and I were one.  I came to believe that I belonged to the rocker and the rocker belonged to me.  This brings to mind a scripture passage as well as other sayings:

First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament (1 Timothy 6:10), which contains the phrase, "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (Often misquoted as 'Money is the root of all evil')
Greed, one of the Seven Deadly Sins, the excessive love of money and other possessions
Radix malorum est cupiditas, Latin for "Greed is the root of all evil" (Wikipedia)

Through identifying with the rocker excessively, it no longer was simply a material object, but it became an object of love.  I assumed I had ownership rights and that I was in control of our destiny together.  I pitched such a fuss over the matter that all involved in the separation decision quickly relented and I did not see my rocker toted off to faraway and distant places.  But the incident was a flag indicating the deep seated and passionate character that ownership arouses (whether something is in one’s current possession or assumed that it rightfully should be).  How many fights, how much anger, how much dejection and resentment, how much self-righteousness, how many killings have resulted over property?  The property or real estate comes to take on intense symbolic value one is willing to die for.  The involved players affirm that whether or not it amounts to greed depends entirely upon one’s point of view.  In fact, the other’s perceived greed is the very bone of contention.  This seems to be an area where people never entirely grow up.

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