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Tuesday 21 July 2009

The Mania of Owning Things

Some of the paintings of great artists are concealed in safes and the owners, who spent millions in purchasing them, guard them as though the paintings themselves are prisoners that someone might attempt to rescue. Such is the case with many priceless jewels whose owners wear replicas for fear of theft, while the originals are stashed away somewhere and never seen.

How strange it is that beauty is thus confined! And how wonderful that no one has (as yet) managed to own the sun or the moon, the stars or the ocean, for surely, if they could, someone would by now have hidden it away and relished the fact that they owned these things, while having no appreciation of their beauty.

There are items and treasures of people of the past, which miser-like some people take great pride in possessing. If such things came into my hands, I would want them out for anyone to see - anyone, that is, who appreciated their beauty. There would be no pride on my part in owning them. How could there be? After all, how can some be proud of owning a Rembrandt or Van Gogh, a Rolls Royce or a diamond that they didn't actually create themself? It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to be proud to possess someone else's work...makes even less sense to then stash it away in an archive, cupboard or simply brag that you happen to 'own' it. The only pride is in creating something, and even then, the pride can only come in the delight it brings to other people. Possessing something is nothing,. Sharing something is joyful. Pride doesn't come into it.

What bizarre notions humanity has about 'owning' things.

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