Throughout our lives we have all owned something. From the toy we wanted so badly for Christmas as a child to our first car. Something that we can look at and admire, something that we desired. While the common view is that owning something is beneficial and good, Plato argues that ownership is detrimental to character, while Aristotle argues that owning tangible goods develops moral character, and finally 20th century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre claims that ownership extends to intangible things as well. Becoming proficient at a skill and thoroughly knowing it means we "own" it, according to Sartre. But how does ownership effect us? For many it varies, but for me I know that it is a simple journey towards refinement. 

As Thoreau went out into the woods to, "live deliberately," I too believe that ownership should be a personal journey through necessity. Living in Southern California my whole life has brought me intimately close to opulence, greed, and gluttony. The Porsche's or Rolex's or material gains of the vapid do not impress or inspire me, at all. 

Expanding on Sartre's point of view I agree that ownership extends to the intangible, but then therefore it coincidentally becomes a personal journey. Which means that you have the largest aspect of control, because it is entirely you. I personally would describe myself as a minimalist, only wearing, owning, and doing what makes me truly happy and a better person for myself, friends, and family. Most people strongly believe that my path is extreme, but to me it is simply life. Bringing me down to the honest, bare essentials to better myself and to experience the natural beauty of our world without the cop-outs of an obsession with wealth, food, material gains, or ego. 

And that is what ownership is to me. The journey to find the true path that makes you the person you honestly need and want to be. To deliberately strip away the excess and the chaff to find your true self. While that may seem mystical, it is practical. That is what you need to do, to find the balance between the tangible and the intangible and fire down the path without regret, inflated ego, or impatience.  

This was an essay I wrote in my AP English class on ownership.  


Be honest.  



Donate to Touching the Trail