There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need
but not for man’s greed.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
As we continue our visit in the Second House of the astrological chart, we are discussing possessions, the deep human impulse of ownership and our material side.
Of course, this is such a volatile area for most of humanity. The entire Cold War, and its bloody hot spots, was ostensibly a conflict between the philosophy of personal vs. collective ownership. If you think about it, almost all wars have been, at least to some extent, about who owns what (or whom).
It’s an area that gets more complicated all the time. Who owns the right to our ideas? Our creative work? Our “intellectual property?” Our medical records, our conversations and pictures on social media sites? Our cultural heritage, religious icons, privacy and our very identities?
There is a huge controversy happening in the world of yoga right now, as the U.S. has been granting patents for hundreds of yoga asanas. Although they have been ancient, freely shared knowledge in India, since they are new in the States, they can theoretically be owned by the first person to register them. In other words, capitalized upon and run like a company.
On a more sinister note, Monsanto Corporation has been quietly re-engineering and patenting the genetic material of the world’s basic food staples so that they can become the exclusive owners (and sellers) of the seeds and foods that humans and livestock depend on for life.
Farmers who attempt to save their own heirloom seeds and refuse to buy Monsanto’s genetically engineered ones are being told they are not their own seeds at all. Instead, they are being sued, and ruined for “copyright infringement.”
The rush for corporate ownership of the world’s drinking water is another ominous fact. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are pushing for the privatization of water services, in order to give control of what was once a local, publicly shared resource to European and U.S.-based companies.
This control of the power of life and death for entire populations is being handed over to corporate interests, by being written into trade agreements and loan conditions for developing countries and places hard hit by natural disasters.
There is no doubt that greed and its underlying illness of scarcity fears are at the heart of incalculable human suffering.
I will not be able to address all that in just one or two blog posts, of course. But it gives us pause, does it not, to wonder what we can say we really own. What is truly ours? What does possessing even mean?
And how much is enough?
What do you think?