own or not to own
Too much property is a burden and takes up space. If there is no use
for it, why keep it?
In America, it is quite normal to sell a house, including everything
else in it, and buy new things in a new place. In my country, this is
not usual. People keep old useless things, just in case they are needed
in future. But the need rarely arises. So they only 'have' the things.
They have them - and there it ends. I hope to be different, so I tried
recently to minimise the number of things I own.
'Own' – in fact nobody can own anything, for we are born empty-handed
and we also die empty-handed. During our lifetime, we are just given
things to use for a while, but finally the loan is paid back and the
accumulated things remain deserted, in a better case scenario, to be
used by others, family members or just anonymous strangers, in a worse
case, to rot in a dump... Any property that we 'borrow' during
our lifetime will not help us in the final hour (or second) and we will
have to leave it behind on Earth and continue on alone, again. And, a
man may also lose everything even before his/her death, it might be
destroyed or stolen... So, it seems that it is better to invest in
yourself, because nobody can ever take away your experience or
Anyway, while we are alive, certain rights of usage of things exist and
these rights are valid. Do not get me wrong, I think it is good to
'own' something, but the items should be useful, make life more
comfortable (house, furniture, clothes), enjoyable (books, pictures,
television, magazines) and secure (valuables, money). But the property
must not bind the owner, things must serve, bring information, joy and
freedom, not be the the root of fear and problems.
So I decided first of all to go through the papers I own. I had already
liquidated papers from school that I was not going to need again. But I
still had more papers... During the past, I had accumulated many
magazines, interesting newspaper articles, etc. These were stored in
many boxes, lying idle everywhere. I finally realised that there were
too many of them. All were interesting, of course, but because there
was such a huge quantity, there was no use for them. In the case of
wanting to find some interesting information, I just did not know where
to start searching. I wanted to choose the most important
articles and throw the rest away. Better to have less – and use all of
it, than the chaos of many things that only take up space. It took some
time to go through all the magazines and newspapers. The result was
several boxes of articles (only!). I sold the extra magazines and
newspapers as scrap paper (it was more than 300 kg). Now I know what
information I have and where I have it. Maybe, after some time, I will
repeat the process to be left with, hopefully, only a small envelope
with "the best of the best". (And after I memorise it, even that might
be discarded. Which never happens, because there is always an ever
increasing quantity of new bits of information coming in.)
I also went through my library. There were books I regretted buying.
Others that I had read but was not going to read again and certainly
would not recommend anyone else reading. I tried to carry out a
selection process and keep only the books I would use, either I
personally or other family members. Finally, I gave away about 400
books (some of them free of charge), both Czech and English, to
second-hand bookshops. I also gave some to friends, who would enjoy
them. You should see the difference, the new space! However, there are
still many books remaining on the shelves, numbering between 1000 –
1500. I have never counted them: even if I do not add any new books, I
still have enough reading matter for the rest of my life. For example,
I kept 250 English books, because I need to practise this language, so
I have no fear of ever being short of English books in the future.
(I suppose I will do another selection after some time.)
Obviously, the conclusion for today is: GET RID OF USELESS
Keep only what you are going to use and what is worth keeping.
Copyright © 2000 Viktor Horak. All rights reserved.