Do The Things You Own, End Up Owning You?

Hannah often asks me, “What are you thinking?” The answer to that question is never the same. Sometimes I have these complex, epiphany like thoughts that I just don’t know how to explain. Other times my brain is just void of thought like ref at a baseball game.

Out of know where last week I thought of a quote from the movie Fight Club: The Things you own, end up owning you.

I can’t help but think “Is this a true statement anymore?”

In this day an age where you can download movies and music with a mouse click. Where cell phones and laptop computers are considered disposable devices. Where files and documents are being backed up in multiple locations. Do we really worry about losing anything? It’s really a complex thought that can be looked at on so many levels.

Lets say my apartment catches on fire. I lose my computer and with it all my saved worked and documents for anything personal. I keep my birth certificate in a fireproof safe since their is a 3 year waiting list on safety deposit boxes at the bank. I lose all my DVD’s, Cell phones, Video game, game consoles, and cloths.

It’s fair to say that in this theoretical fire, that the only thing I lost of any real personal value would have been my computer with all my personal documents, pictures, bank statements, work related files, etc. That is irreplaceable data would be devastating to me. In that sense I understand the whole “The things you own end up owning you” quote. But the reality for me is that I keep an off-site backup that is never more then a month old of all my computer files. So should a fire ravage through my apartment, I would go out and get a replacement computer and be alright. DVD’s are replaceable. Video games are replaceable. Pretty much everything that would get burned is replaceable. I say that easily because I do have renters insurance that protects me against possible fires or theft.

So I guess my point is; If you live life like me, with the safe guards I have setup, do you really feel like your positions are owning you any more? I can’t help but say “No”. I don’t feel like I have a threat of losing anything permanently that I own. I don’t cling to things like I will never be lucky enough to own them again.

That’s just must my 1AM thought for the day.

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  1. Hey Yoshi, Interesting thoughts. When I hear that phrase I think of something else. How much value do you put into your material possessions? Am I willing to go into dept so that I can have the latest and greatest of this or that? Or, am I content with what I have? It’s easy to find yourself working your life away to pay off things that don’t add any real value to your life. All too easy to let it drown out what is really important.

    Just my two cents

  2. I can’t help but reply to this after reading. It’s true that you don’t have too much fear in losing these “material” possessions, because you have precautions and fall backs in place. However, these precautions and “backups” is the very fear (of losing your possessions) itself manifested and you don’t even realize it. If you were really believed that the things you own DON’T end up owning you, you would not have prepared what you did if any unfortunate disaster would happen to you.

    In the end it seems like you’re just saying this quote doesn’t apply to you, but its because you have everything thought out in preparation for the unknown future. You say that you don’t “cling” onto things, but what you have done is nothing more than clinging on to what you have left.

    Sorry if this reply is offensive in any way to you, I didn’t mean it to be.

    Have a nice day. :)

  3. things that u own do end up owning u because u dont want to loose ur possesion or have them reuiend even if u can get new ones

  4. things you own end up owning you, with nothing to loose we have everything to gain and a man who has lost everything is a very dangerous man indeed. surely the idea is that we free ourselves of the trappings of modern life. the whole point of fight club is that we as men are born to hunt and fight for survival, it makes up who we are and a few thousand years of evolution and consumerism cannot possibly change that it only serves to steer us away from our natural born instinct and the knock on effect is we live in a world of mass depression and social exclusion due to the forced joviality and materialism thrust upon us by the opposite sex. in order to evolve we have to allow natural selection to take effect. now i am by no means a strong person and by my own admission i would be one of the first to fall foul of this radicalism but in order to evolve that would have to happen. so yes we are all under the control of society and will never be totally free because in order to survive we have to own something, tools to hunt, clothes to keep us warm etc. and when we loose those we die. so you might aswell just enjoy what you have while you have it because the worlds going to end in 3 years

  5. The quote “the things you own end up owning you” is more about opportunity costs than whether you stress about losing them. In fight club Jack loses everything he owns, and the major epiphany is that he’s spent his life accumulating all that crap, and none of it really mattered. What he lost was all that time, not all that stuff. You bought stuff with your money, and now you can’t do something else with that money. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you spent your time earning that money, so that stuff owns a part of your time; it owns a part of you. OK, so you’ve already spent the money, and you’ve got more coming, so you’re free of that stuff now, right? Well, not really. That computer will eventually break or become outdated. Your car will wear out. Then you’ll need to buy a new one. You’ll have to keep doing that for the rest of your life. You will constantly have to work to buy stuff to keep up the lifestyle of owning stuff. Your car requires repairs, gas, and insurance. Everything that’s protected by your insurance is being paid for again and again, and eventually you’ll replace it when it wears out. Add up all the optional stuff you own and pay for with insurance, all the optional stuff you have to pay to maintain, etc. (optional meaning anything other than food, shelter, and clothing). Then see what percent of your income that represents. That percentage of your weekly, monthly, yearly life is owned by your stuff, not you. It’s easy in the short term to think having digital cable TV will be nice, but when you realize you could essentially take off an extra day from work every month if you didn’t have it, does it still seem like such a great idea? Anyway, that’s the concept.

  6. I think our stuff owns more than we realize.

    It’s not the worry about losing my car, for instance, that makes it own me. But it does dictate certain of my actions. I have to take 20 minutes, every three months, to have the oil changed. I have to take another 20 minutes, every year, to have it inspected.

    My yard owns two hours, 40 weeks of the year, mowing the grass. Another two hours, once per month for ten months, weeding and pruning the flowerbeds.

    The carpet in my house owns 20 minutes, once a week, to vacuum it.

    The a/c unit owns 5 minutes, once per quarter, to change the filters.

    That’s over 119 hours a year – more than 5 days – that I don’t own, because of just a small fraction of my stuff.