"I Want This...I Want That"...LHS Student Takes "Ownership" Of Her Thoughts

“Ownership” is a chameleon word--a word that is singular and embodies a multitude of perceptions. From a tender age, humans are notorious for having a desire of wanting and a desire of owning. The toys, the clothes, the trinkets--we want it all. As the life cycle proceeds, we become acquainted with the fact that “to own” does not only mean to have something, but to know something. We may “own” the experience of reading a life-changing book, we may “own” the art of playing the violin, we may even “own” the memory of a beautiful summer sunset. As we assume ownership over the intangible items in life, we forge identity in ourselves--grounding us deep within our roots--to create an authentic sense of self. The contrasting effect is “owning” the tangible items in life that will eventually bestow a plague of unhappiness as a result of an ephemeral validation. Taking ownership within experience, skill, and memory lays foundation for the true ability to build character. Seeking validation, fulfillment, contentment via ownership only leaves one hindered--leaves one unknowing of the true chronicle that is self identity.

The 1950’s serve as a prime example of an era in which uniformity pervaded American society. The young and the aged followed group norms, such as owning houses in the suburbs and televisions sets, rather than striking out. The culprit for such conformity? Seeking fulfillment (the American Dream) through ownership. The art of owning things became a standard of living as life became cookie-cutter, void of individuality. The increased amount of ownership led to an increased sense of conformity as people strove to validate status through the ostentatious attitude affiliated with owning luxury items.

More. More. More.

The identical mindset that holds a never-satiated-hunger for material, in return, only generates a detriment as it sets us further apart from our own identity as we all assimilate under one. Our entire existence revolves around communicating effectively with other people. Owning things, by that reason, might make one less able to participate in society and even lower the amount one can contribute to the world. Rather than an array of diverse species of flowers, society resembles a patch of daisies--the same seeds planted over and over, time and time again. As we acquire more items to own, we root ourselves more deeply, forbidding the process of growth.

But as time elapsed, a steady migration toward moral ownership over tangible ownership occurred. With the minimalist lifestyle on the rise, people thrive off of as few possessions as possible--the deficit allowing many doors to open for those who acquire less. The lifestyle allows one to discover and to grow his sense of self, travel to uncharted territory, and become affiliated with eternal freedom. As people shift  to “own” moments and skills over selfishness and authorization, character is constructed. In result of “owning” true identity, one is able to influence the world as well. Is the most influential person the one who “owns” a brand-new BMW or the one who “owns” a race that was practiced diligently toward for several months? Those who devote time to bettering themselves and the world around them are more worthy of respect than those who have an empty abundance of substance. For society to grow into a vibrantly diverse garden, one must plant his own seeds of identity in order to bloom into his own unique flower.

Own the sunsets in life, not the shoes.

Chuck Greanoff

LHS graduate, 1977. Teach History and Psychology at LHS

(LHS Class of 2018)

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 PM, 04.18.2017