January 27, 2004

Who Owns You?

Who owns you? Do you own yourself or are you the property of someone else. There are three mainstream western answers.

1. Libertarian: You own yourself
2. Authoritarian/Secularist: The state owns you
3. Monotheist/Religious: God owns you

The third is actually most flexible because God, through the provision of free will, is the most absentee of landlords so being owned by God isn't, in the normal course of affairs, very much different than being self-owned. Being owned by the state justifies all sorts of statutes, some wise, some not so wise. And being self-owned is generally fine for everyday use though you do get into some difficulty around the margins where people are calmly, rationally discussing the circumstances in which it is ok to eat someone else.

I'm a follower of the third alternative, God owns me, in a way that's heavily influenced by the idea that He's given me free reign to develop myself in a direction of my choosing short of very broad limits. These limits mostly consist of self-harm.

I would suggest that the further down the road to self-ownership you travel, the more circumstances you will find that present viscerally horrifying things that this model has no way of dealing with. Now such a reaction could be that one is just too squeamish but it can also be that your native common sense is telling you something that your intellectual framework just isn't built to handle and that it's your intellectual framework that needs to give.

HT: Brownian Notions

Posted by TMLutas at January 27, 2004 11:08 AM