Attitudes about our stuff can be cavalier and presumptuous. We use or abuse our stuff in such a way that it presumes easy replacement. “Easy come, easy go” is lived out to the fullest. We continue our conversation on decision-making with the notion of taking care of the things we have in our possession.
Let us begin with a few baseline definitions. In order to arrive at a place where we can simplify and also clarify the decision-making framework we are developing, we define ownership in its strictest sense, and use other terms to describe possessive nuances. This is important because the attitude of ownership influences our approach to and attitude we take into the decision-making process.
- To Own: to have power or mastery over something
- To Possess: to hold as property, to control the usage of something
- To Steward: to be responsible for care, oversight, protection, optimizing, good utilization, disbursement of object stewarded; “good usage”
What are the resources we have available to us? Resources in the broadest sense is anything we use or is available for usage.
Primary Resources: elements used for a purpose (to create secondary or derivative elements)
- Raw Materials
- Natural Resources
Secondary Resources: secondary or derivative elements for usage or support
- Finished Goods
- Finished Parts
- Packaged Methods
Medium of Exchange: a reminder that money is not a resource, but a convenient, mutually agreed upon mechanism for exchanging resources.
Ownership of something is to have complete mastery over it. Complete mastery includes the ability to create it. Otherwise, it is incomplete mastery. We create secondary resources, so we may own them. However, we can only possess for a limited period of time or use the primary resources to create the secondary resources. We do not own the primary resources (such as, the sun). Since everything we create uses resources we don’t own, then we don’t technically own (or have complete mastery over) the things we create.
My six-year old son and I were discussing the topic of ownership as I was preparing this post. He enjoys cooking, and quickly informed me that the pie he makes is his, that he owns the pie he makes. “Jack, what about the apples you used, or the flour?” I asked. He concluded that while he could plant the seeds and be a gardener or farmer, he could not make the rain, the ground, or the seed used to grow the apples or wheat for use in the pie.
Responsibility to Utilize
We have a responsibility to make good choices about how we use the resources we have been given for a period of time. A steward of resources takes care of and has oversight of resources with the responsibility of making good use of these resources while they are in his possession.
Freedom in Responsibility
This idea of ownership and stewarding resources influences our approach to making decisions. The assumption of ownership is focused on self. Without the burden (and frankly, the possibility) of ownership there is freedom.
- Freedom to consider the bigger picture.
- Freedom to choose the best usage of resources.
- Freedom to care about others.
- Do I take care of something to the best of my ability knowing that I don’t own “it” but that “it” is only in my care for a period of time?
- What am I trying to accomplish with that over which I have control?
- How are the decisions I make influenced or changed considering the perspective of not owning things?