What does it mean to Own Something?
Owning something means different things to different people. What it means to own something to one person can be completely different from what it means to another. Owning something implies a sense of full control over it. It also means being responsible for it and the consequences or damages it might cause. Owning something extends to both tangible and intangible objects.
Owning something develops one’s sense of individual and group identity. In ancient Greek, for example, owning something determined one’s right to vote and participate in the running of the government. In the country as well as in many other ancient cultures, the male members of the community with property that was deemed sufficient were the only ones allowed to vote and determine the course of civilization. Men that possessed more property held a higher status than those with less or without property. Therefore, in such societies, owning something contributed to one’s identity and it determined whether one was a citizen or not. Owning something meant one was important in the society. In regards to group identity, owning something brought together those who had possession of property. Those who did not own property were considered to have nothing to lose, and therefore their votes could not be allowed to change civilization.
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In today’s society, owning something can determine your status in the society or social group. The technological advancement experienced in today’s world continues to determine what owning something means to different people. People in the current generation are always after the latest tablet, application, iPhone, or television. To them, owning such items makes them feel trendy and modern. The society we live in separates people by the type of property they own. This drives people to strive to own things that are considered cool, trendy, or modern by the society. For example, in the currents society, you would find that ladies are attracted men driving expensive Lamborghinis while shunning those driving trucks or automobiles that are considered to be of lower status. This shows that owning modern and expensive things places one in a higher status than those without such possessions. For those owning the expensive property, it makes them feel wealthy. In this case, owning tangible assets defines the status of a person in the society. It also gives one a sense of worthiness.
For many people in the US, particularly immigrants, owning a house is a tangible sign of success. Owning a house is considered an accomplishment that cements one’s position in the society. It thus increases one’s sense of self-worth as he or she feels well integrated into American society. One feels as part of a community through owning a house. As a member of the community and the nation, attaining ownership of a house helps one avoid the detachment and isolation felt by those who do not own a house. In this instance, owning a house strengthens one’s both group and individual identity.
Tangible objects are not the only things that define people. Ownership of intangible objects such as a concept, idea, knowledge, opinion, or though builds one’s character. Having different opinion and perspective from others makes one unique. Walt Disney, for example, was successful because of his innovative and original ideas. Therefore, owning thoughts, ideas, and other intangible objects characterizes people.
Owning something, whether tangible or intangible, gives people a sense of who they are. Owning tangible objects determines one’s status in the society and helps in defining one’s group and individual identity. Similarly, ownership of intangible objects such as ideas, opinions, knowledge, and concepts builds one character. Therefore, owning something means different things to different people.