Do Institutions Prevent, or Create, Chaos

Do Institutions Prevent, or Create, Chaos

Modern humans believe that legal institutions are necessary to prevent chaos. But institutions serve another purpose, also. They grant men the right to own property. In other words, if institutions did not exist, no one would have the right to own anything. The issue is: Which came first, chaos or ownership? I argue that, without ownership, chaos is impossible.

Why do we allow people to own things, if chaos is the result? It’s because we are not the rational beings we think we are. If we were rational—that is, able to objectively analyze our circumstances—we would have recognized that granting rights of ownership would lead to the chaos of revolution when a few people inevitably own everything, and never have instituted the practice in the first place. We moderns believe it is natural to institute governing bodies to authorize rights of ownership. Those rights, however, result in a host of aberrations in our personal and collective lives—aberrations that go far beyond just the issue of chaos.

The right to own property, for instance, resulted in the institution of marriage, an aberration that granted men a special right—the right to own women. The dysfunctional families that resulted, aren’t the only issue. As a result of the right to own things—land, animals, and women—men started thinking the earth belongs to us, instead of us to the earth. This constituted a shocking aberration in the natural order of things. Through our right to own things, we each see ourselves as gods of our own domains, while we remain clueless to the fact that attaining “god” status renders us the absolute subjects of the institutions that grant us ownership rights. Through ownership, we presume to control our destiny, but there is a consequence. We must suffer the anxiety of living for the future, instead of knowing the peace that comes of living in the moment. Forced to focus on concerns about our personal future wellbeing, our behavior is dictated by our beliefs, instead of common sense. Our legal identities, through which we have the right to own property, are far more important to us than who we really are. Having to project a successful “legal self” for the sake of our survival and respectability, there no longer exist any grounds on which to become acquainted with our natural selves, and with the natural selves of those around us.

The aberrations that result from granting people rights of ownership affect our collective lives, as well. By making us each responsible for our future wellbeing, ownership spiritually alienates us from one another. Success in our alienated world is earned through competition, rather than cooperation. Success requires independence, self sufficiency, and personal wealth. Success in a natural culture, on the other hand, requires social acceptance among people who are bonded in mutual trust. Without others to depend on, and who depend on us to survive, loneliness is endemic. Ownership affects how our brains process information. It creates class consciousness, in which the status of each class becomes a measure of how much its members own. And people without the right to own anything have no social standing at all. They are slaves and, like animals, to be bought, sold, and used at will. Depending, as we do, on the things we own to survive, we have become abject dependents on the institutions that grant us the right to own things. As a consequence of this dependence, throughout recorded history, people have willfully killed and died on behalf of the institutions that granted them that right, believing, in every instance, that “God” was on their side.

Ownership so controls our perception of reality that the reason humans invented God, I suspect, was to create an entity to authorize their right to own things. Nothing in the natural world grants that right. For instance, we see marriage—through which men have traditionally been granted the right to own women—as instituted by God. Also each government, the institutions that modern humans believe makes living in mass cultures viable, is authorized by either a mortal god (a king, dictator, etc.), an immortal one (a heavenly father), or a constitution whose edicts hold godlike status in our minds.

People who live in intimacy—in socially bonded communities that depend on Nature to survive—do have origin and destiny stories, but they have no gods—none that dictate moral commandments. This isn’t because they are incapable of creating them: If they can create origin stories, they certainly could create gods. They don’t create gods because they have no need for them, either to sanctify their right to own things, or to offer solace from the pain of an existence without intimacy—the very pain that granting people the right to own things creates.

The point is that legions of unintended aberrations have resulted from men granting one another the right to own property. Why are we unable to recognize these as aberrations? What prevents us from understanding how ownership transforms our perception of reality? Because of the aberrations that result, why did our distant ancestors institute the right to own things, in the first place?


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