Is it okay to own people? Actually it’s more
than okay. Everybody owns somebody because
we all own ourselves. When you own something,
you have the right to decide who else has
access to it. If you own a bicycle, people
who want to use your bicycle have to get your
permission. And it’s the same with your body.
You can decide who has access to it. You have
a right to say no. In other words, you own
yourself. Now this is a very simple idea,
but it makes a big difference in our lives.
Let’s think about Fred.
Fred needs a new wall, and he’d like to enlist
the help of George, Sam, and Jill. Now Fred
gets a clever idea: Why not just stack them
up and use them for a wall? Well that’s easy.
George, Sam, and Jill are off limits. They’ve
already been spoken for by themselves. They
have a right to say no.
But maybe Fred is still in luck because as
it happens George can drive a truck and Sam
can carry heavy loads and Jill can even lay
bricks. So maybe Fred has to leave their bodies
alone, but can he use their abilities just
whenever he wants and get his wall that way?
Well again, no. People own themselves. They
have their own lives to live and their own
choices to make. We can use tools just whenever
we want, but we can’t use people without their
permission. People have a right to say no.
Well Fred’s really clever and he has a couple
of other tricks up his sleeve. Maybe he could
just wait until George, Sam, and Jill build
a wall anyway and then come in and say it
is his now. Or maybe he could let them go
ahead and build their own wall and keep it,
but only if they build another wall for him
first. Would those things be okay?
Well the whole point of people having their
own lives to live is that they get to make
their own choices about what they want out
of life and how they’ll get it. George, Sam,
and Jill chose to use their time and their
energy to build a wall to create something
for their future. By just taking the wall,
it’s as if Fred forced them to work for him
anyway, to work for his future instead.
Now a much better idea would be for Fred to
offer George, Sam, and Jill something that
they want in exchange for the wall that he
wants. That would take their ownership of
themselves seriously. It would treat them
with basic decency and it would let them all
create more prosperous futures for themselves.