Sunday, July 17, 2011

Possessions and Society

I got to thinking recently, about what possessions people gather in order to establish social esteem or rank. As well, I wondered what people would gladly do without if such possessions were frowned upon society.

It would seem that there are two orders of possession;

> Those that we possess solely for our own gratification

> Those that we possess because others may esteem us more for having such

Obviously the gratification that we receive from the esteem of others is independent of material objects. If the rest of society were to frown upon the first order of possession, we might hide them from view, or at the least, would unaffected in our ownership. If the rest of society were to frown upon the second order of possessions, we would most likely choose not to own them at all

In this sense, we are all responsible--to a certain degree--with what the rest of society chooses to possess, or gives value to. In the same way we have a certain degree of power over what the opulent possess, or at least what they are willing to flaunt before society


  1. I sure wish I had back all of the money I wasted trying to have the same things as my neighbors or friends. What a complete waste of time, money and effort. Pleasing others and the way they think of me doesn't really matter. But when you're young it's hard to understand the opposite of what everyone else is telling or selling us.

  2. Do we possess power over what the rich deem valuable? I don't see the connection. For most of them, we are plebs, not worth considering (except to continue working for them so they can buy more stuff we can't afford). Ah, maybe there is the connection: what we can't afford is valuable to them; pumps up their ego and sense of superiority?

    Our responsibility, I think, and our little corner of power would be to differentiate ourselves in a healthier way from society. So that we don't feel the need for objects to garner others' esteem.

    We have got to stop this self-esteem myth. Even people with anti-social personality disorder (and some criminals) have unusually high self-esteem! Big deal.

    I believe if we learn to cultivate unconditional self-regard, self-love, self-acceptance, we will find much more happiness in life and self empowerment.

    (Suggestion: Read, "The Myth of Self Esteem" by Albert Ellis)




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"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." -- Constitution of Massachusettes (1780)