Monday, January 21, 2008

Questions

Things have been a little...ah...busy around the Cavern. Some family stuff goin' on. A new coven goin' on. A new blog goin' on (coven members only). Music goin' on. You know. Stuff.

I've had a little time to bop around to various of my regular reads, and lately the topics that grab my attention always seem to point to some very basic questions. But I rarely see anyone asking these questions. So...

Who owns you? Who owns your body? Who owns your thoughts? Who owns your talents? Who owns your soul? Do you even have a soul? Who told you?

Who governs your behavior? Who tells you what to read, what to eat, whom to elect, what to believe?

Who dresses you? Do you follow fashion or do you have style? Do you know the difference? Do you care?

Who gives you your opinions? Who tells you what to say? Who tells you how to say it? Who edits you? Who censors you? Who informs you?

I don't expect anyone to answer all these questions right here in the comments. And notice that I didn't ask the ubiquitous, "Who are you?" I honestly don't think there is ever only one answer to that question, so go ahead and heave a sigh of relief. And then realize that you're not exactly off the hook, after all. You've still got all those other, more specific questions to answer.

Try writing them down on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket. Next time you're waiting for a bus, in line at the store, or stuck in that barely mobile parking lot we've come to call rush hour, pick one of the questions and try answering it to yourself. Give it as honest and thorough an answer as possible, and keep the answer to yourself, if you like. And when you're finished, ask yourself one final Who:

Who loves you?

8 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

One answer for EVERY question... it is quite simple... ME!

Monday, January 21, 2008 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

LOL! Obviously, then, these questions were not aimed at you. You already know the answers!

Would you believe that there are people out there who have to go ask someone else what they should say? Sad, really sad, that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger dez said...

That would be the gut-level response from most of us, I think. Nobody owns me! I am free!

But, I think I see what Chimera is getting at, and the answers are not so simple.

My cats own my apartment. I just pay rent and live there - as long as they let me.

Even if I owned property - owned my own home - it could be taken away from me at any time, for no given reason and for no compensation. So, do I truly own it?

Do I own my own body? That's not completely clear. There are several companies and universities that currently own patents on specific genes - many of which can be found in every human body.

But, more importantly, who has the right to tell you what you can do with your body? If you are a pregnant female and you think you should get an abortion, will your local authorities allow you to do so? (Actually, this one always comes up when talking about body ownership, but, to be specific, what the authorities are controlling is a medical procedure, not your body. Still, the INTENT is to control what you do with your body.)

If you decide to end your life, you should be sure to do it right the first time, because ATTEMPTED suicide is usually illegal. (Actually killing yourself might be illegal, but why would you care if you're dead?)

If you are a member of your nation's armed forces, then your body is owned by the government. People in prison have more rights to their own body than you do.

So, these questions might not be as easy as they look.

One thing I know very clearly. I know who loves me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

LOL... Dezz does not know ME! obviously. I did forget one thing though. My dog Roxy loves me unconditionally as well. Not like she has a choice though. If she didn't she would never go for walks, eat, drink or be allowed on the furniture!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Dez: Boy, you sure know how to get to the meat of the matter, doncha?

You're absolutely right -- the answers are not that simple. Well, they are in the sense that you can claim ownership of your own body to whomever will listen. But when it comes to backing up your claim of ownership, there are people out there (the government, always the government, but other groups, as well) who will fight you tooth and nail on the question.

As far as the military goes, I always looked at it as a lease, rather than ownership. It's possible to break the lease. It might cost you something (Leavenworth comes to mind), but it's possible.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger dez said...

I don't have a lot of experience with leasing, but I know of no situation where the owner of something breaking a lease will land them in prison. Damaging and/or stealing someone else's property (especially something as valuable as a soldier), on the other hand, invariably results in hard time, rather than a fine.

I think the distinction comes down to intent. As long as their intention is to be able to tell you to go die for your country without question, then they OWN you. If they were leasing my body, I would expect to get it back in one piece.

Is it slavery if they pay you? Again, I think the intent is important.

There was a time, back when I was in the USCG stationed at Pier 36 in Seattle, when the pay office screwed up and we didn't get our paychecks for over a month. The way the LT explained it, we had to keep doing our jobs whether we were paid or not. Pay was given as an incentive and was not a requirement, according to our contracts.

Thus, the INTENT of our military service was to serve our time regardless of any compensation. They were just paying us to be nice, from their point of view. Part of the benefit package.

In ancient Rome, slaves had rights and benefits. This is no different.

I'm not saying that serving in the military is a bad thing - far from it. I agree with Heinlein. If you're not willing to support and defend your government, then you shouldn't expect it to support and defend you.

I'm just saying, that when you sign the contract for military service, you should read the fine print. The sooner you understand that they own you, lock-stock-and-barrel, the sooner you can adjust to your new life in the military.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

"...when you sign the contract for military service, you should read the fine print."

Oh, absolutely! But that doesn't take away your ownership of your own body...it just gives temporary use of it to an organization that some might see as uncaring about keeping it in the pristine condition in which you leased it to them... And except for a case of being drafted, both sides should always agree to the conditions. Otherwise, don't sign.

The draft is a whole 'nother bitch. And still, she can be got around.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Well, the military most certainly believes they own a person's body so long as that person is in the military.

Dez is quite right. The answers are not simple. There's a Bob Dylan song that sums it up "You Gotta Serve Somebody". As he says, it may be the devil, it may be the lord, it may be all manner of persons or even things, but we all do. We are all to some degree formed and informed by events from our pasts, and our reactions and belief systems are not always even consciously derived. For instance, if I'm honest, I must say that I do follow fashion, to some degree, and I really don't think I have that much style of my own.

I think what governs my behaviour is trying to be kind and compassionate to others. Of course, I read Ayn Rand right along with the rest of you, so I know that this is certainly not because I am altruistic.

Who loves me? That's much easier. I love me. I think that's important. I am also loved by my husband, my children, and maybe the dogs. I know my parents (deceased) loved me. The cats tolerate me, as they do any humans. We're basically all the cats' minions. I think there are also a very few people who are true friends, who love me, and whom I love.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:47:00 PM  

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