Possession

It is a beautiful February morning, sun and clouds. An occasional wind blowing. Everything is green and, unique for Lanzarote, there are many flowers because it has rained regularly from November on. I walk over the hills and in the valleys over what must have been agricultural lands in the past because there are thick walls winding all over the land, so wide you can walk on them. These walls can sometimes be land borders, but most of them were built painstakingly to protect plants from the wind as a kind of windbreak. Lanzarote is all stone and rock, so that is how people grow their vegetables.

On every walk I admire, besides nature, the walls of piled up, irregular pieces of rock, large and small, long ago spewed out in a volcanic eruption. How many centuries and hours of HUMAN labour must have gone into this? And I also wonder about a change, because most of the fields are no longer used. People have moved to the city or to the tourist resorts. And there are many stories that it often happens that no one knows who owns a particular plot of land.

This morning I thought: “No man’s land where I can walk freely, how wonderful is that!”

And in the evening all seven of us – actually prohibited due to the Corona measures – sing John Lennon’s  ‘Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. Nothing to kill or die for, a brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world ……’

Is it more HUMAN to possess little or nothing at all? Or to share everything, every piece of land, every river, lake, sea and air that surrounds us? I do not know. I can only have my own feelings at the moment. In any case, since November I have been busy being HUMAN and letting go of my set patterns. Patterns and characteristics that have made me unfree, as I see it now. And oh, how difficult is it to break such a habit. I mean ownership, keys, locking everything up, insurance. How wonderful would it be never having  to lock the car or our apartment, so that you never forget or lose the keys! ‘My’ partner,  the person I share property with (a way of expressing that she is not my property), has been talking about this for years …

Response by Boudewijn Magnus

Nice subject for being human: possession. And the attendant status.

According to many eco-philosophers, the misery started there: in the transition from a nomadic life to permanent settlement in villages, which had to be protected… 

I have spent the last 20 years practicing being happy without owning anything. In itself possession is not so much the problem, but the attachment and dependence on it is.

If I can be happy without property, then I have nothing to lose, only to gain, and I can also have the freedom to see myself as property of the whole world, we own each other … The more I give away, the more everything owns me, and I own it all…. That is something that Francis and Mother Theresa, for example, also understood very well.

I used John Lennon’s Imagine as a theme in the dance that I recently wrote. Lennon and Yoko Onno made the plan for an ideal world, called Nutopia, based on this song. I had chosen this name years ago for my ideal society…