To Have - Ergo - To Have Not

LI.

Premise

Our language is geared to possessiveness.  Notice how even the premise assumes that we possess (our) language!


So "now you have it". You may as well know. This isn’t actually all about the 1937 Hemingway novel or that classic Howard Hawks 1944 film loosely based on it, folks. My apology for luring you in with that bait.

But since you're here, might as well read on anyway. There is possibly a delicious, delightfully delusional connection to be had! A happier ending would've made it more enchanting for Betty and Bogie, but they did HAVE it all while it lasted.


If not, it’s fun to remember Bogie and Bacall in the movie which launched one of Hollywood’s hottest and most enduring loves and marriages. She was 19 and he was 45 at the time they met, by the way, but it was literally a loving and happy “to have and to hold” for them, at least for as long as he lived. He died early in 1957 after battling esophageal cancer from years of heavy smoking and she reared their two small children alone until she remarried (to Jason Robards) after several years. That marriage lasted 8 years and they had one son together.

(notice Hoagy Carmichael at the piano)


OK - back to the premise here: that ours is a possessive-inclined and inclining language. You don’t believe it? Just look at it. How do we describe our relationship with people, things - even intangibles?


We HAVE them. Yes. (I can almost hear George Carlin doing a routine on this one. - If he has done so, I am not aware of it. But if he has, - please let me know!)


Here is what we do: We declare we HAVE everything, constantly. Even if we have-not - we speak of whatever we're thinking about possessively, at least insofar as our language claims it. So if we’re not owning it with the verb “have”, then we grab possession of it with other convenient conventions such as possessive pronouns. Remember all that stuff in school? Whether or not we remember how we came by it, we incorporate possessive language into our vernacular usage constantly! We HAVE ample use of that, at least.

Here's a list of some of these possessions, just to illustrate. (ALMOST looks like my poetry style, doesn’t it?):

For Instance:


We have parents.

We have siblings.

We have friends.

We have “steadies”.

We have babies.

We have children.

We have husbands or wives.

(oops out of order there!)

We have our ends.


We have pets.

We have gardens.

We have mail.

We have debts.

We have pardons.

We have suspicions.

We have schemes.

We have delights.

We have favorites.

We have dreams.




We have trusts.

We have inspirations.

We have instincts.

We have aspirations.

We have lusts.



We have delusions.

We have grace.

We have gains.

We have a place.

We have health.

(or we have doctors/meds/aches & pains)



We have parties

(for pleasure or for politics).

We have fun.

We have advisors.

We have accounts.

(and they have us!)

We have some.

We have a mix!


We have views.

We have ideas.

We have “To Dos”.

We have no wires (we have wi-fi).

We have addictions.

We have desires.

We have Sci-Fi!


We have time (but never enough).

We have a schedule.

We have computers (obviously).

We have cyber friends).


We have a cell phone.

We have diets / routines.

We have regimens / habits.

We have perspectives.

We have loose ends.


We have mold.

We have opinions.

We have religions.

We have churches.

We have “have to haves”.

We have a cold (to which we're prone).

We have a following.

We have none.

We have our pride.

We have done.

We have our say.


We have our privacy.

We have the spirit.

We have a way.

We have those moments.

We have a ride.


We have educations.

(We ‘have’ no school - we go to one for education to have it.)

We have books.

We have front doors.

We have lawns.

We have “looks”.

We have style.

We have clothes.

We have favorite stores.

We have those.





We have - a while! (We hope!)

                     We have a coat.

                                       We have a hat.

                                                        We have this.

                                                                         We have that.

What about possessive pronouns?


My, mine. (among the first words a toddler learns!)

Yours.

Ours. (what we hope the toddlers’ parents learn!)

Theirs.

His.

Hers

One’s (The indeterminate pronoun! Who cares who owns it or lacks it, so long as it is owned or decidedly is not!)

Its (even a thing can possess!)


The verb 'POSSESS' defined:


Possess |pəˈzes|

verb [ trans. ]

1 have as belonging to one; own : I do (or do not) possess a television set.

• Law: have possession of as distinct from ownership : a two-year suspended sentence for possessing cocaine.

• have as an ability, quality, or characteristic : he did not possess a sense of humor | ( be possessed of) a fading blonde possessed of a powerful soprano voice.

• ( possess oneself of) archaic take for one's own : all that the plaintiffs did was to possess themselves of the securities.

2 (usu. be possessed) (of a demon or spirit, esp. an evil one) have complete power over (someone) and be manifested through their speech or actions : she was possessed by the Devil.

• (of an emotion, idea, etc.) dominate the mind of; have an overpowering influence on : I was possessed by a desire to tell her everything.

3 chiefly poetic/literary: have sexual intercourse with (a woman).

4 archaic: maintain (oneself or one's mind or soul) in a state or condition of patience or quiet : I tried to possess my soul in patience and to forget how hungry I was. [ORIGIN: often with biblical allusion to Luke 21:19, the proper sense (‘gain your souls’) being misunderstood.]

PHRASES

What possessed you? used to express surprise at an action regarded as extremely unwise : What possessed you to come here?  (Ahem!)

ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French possesser, from Latin possess- ‘occupied, held,’ from the verb possidere, from potis ‘able, capable’ + sedere ‘sit.’


Look at this amazing list of 'HAVEs' in common phrases:


Have (something) going for one

Have (something) to do with

Have a ball

Have a bee in one’s bonnet

Have a bellyful (which may be dangerously near to having for this subject!)

Have a bird

Have a bone to pick with someone

Have a bun in the oven

Have a care

Have a cow

Have a feel for (possible prelude to have a baby!)

Have a few (might be another route to the baby having)

have a finger in every pie

Have a fit

Have a foot in both camps

Have a foot in the door

Have a frog in one’s throat

Have a go at

Have a good mind to do something

Have a heart

Have a heart of gold

Have a lock on

Have a mind of one’s own

Have a mind to do. . .

Have a nice day

Have a problem with

Have a run for one’s money

Have a screw loose

Have a soft spot for

Have a thick skin

Have a thing about

Have a tiger by the tail

Have a tin ear

Have a way with

Have a whale of a time

Have a will of one’s own

Have a word

Have al the answers

Have an ax to grind

Have an ear to the ground

Have an eye for

Have an eye to

Have another think coming

Have ants in one’s pants

Have at

Have bats int he belfry

Have been around

Have been around the block

Have been there before

Have blood on one’s hands

Have clean hands

Have designs on

Have everything

Have eyes for

Have eyes in the back of one’s head

Have eyes like a hawk

Have eyes like saucers

Have first dibs on

Have got (wow -That’s a DOUBLE possession situation!)

Have got it bad

Have got it good

Have had one’s day

Have it

Have it both ways

Have it coming

Have it easy

Have it in for

Have it in one

Have it made

Have it out

Have it your way

Have its uses

Have kittens

Have many irons in the fire

Have mercy on

Have need of

Have nerves of steel

Have no business

Have no concern with

Have no idea

Have no terrors for someone

Have no time for

Have no truck with

Have no use for

Have not a (mean or. . .) bone in one’s body

Have nothing on

Have nothing on someone

Have nothing to do with

Have nothing to lose

Have-nots

Have one foot in the grave

Have one too many

Have one’s blood (pressure) up

Have one’s cross to bear

Have one’s eye on

Have one’s feet firmly planted on the ground

Have one’s finger on the pulse

Have one’s hands full

Have one’s hands tied

Have one’s head in the clouds

Have one’s head screwed on

Have one’s heart in it

Have one’s heart in one’s mouth

Have one’s moments

Have one’s nose in a book

Have one’s way with

Have one’s will

Have one’s wits about one

Have one’s work cut out

Have only oneself to blame

Have other fist to fry

Have seen better days

Have seen it all before

Have shot one’s bolt (or foot)

Have someone eating out of one’s hand

Have someone for breakfast (OH MY - Hannibal Lecter strikes again!)

Have someone in he palm of one’s hand

Have someone on

Have someone or something in mind

Have someone’s ear

Have someone’s number

Have someone’s number on i

Have someone/something down as

Have something against someone

Have something at one’s feet

Have something coming out of one’s ears

Have something down to a fine art

Have something on

Have something on good authority

Have something on one’s side

Have something on the brain

Have something out

Have something to offer

Have something to one’s credit

Have something to oneself

Have something to say for oneself

Have something to show for

Have steam coming out of one’s ears

Have swallowed a dictionary (THIS one has self-promotion ideas!)

Have the advantage of

Have the better of

Have the courage of one’s convictions

Have the distinction of

Have the drop on

Have the face to do something

Have the goodness to do something

Have the heart to do something

Have the time

Have the upper hand

Have to hand it to someone

Have two left feet

Have what it takes.

. . . or have it not. . .

Whew! That’s a lot of haves, and surely the have nots could also be listed; - but let’s not go there!


Did they forget to list “Have the audacity to”?

What else, then, is the point? - if I HAVE one? I thought I did but that lengthy list just about lost it for me or vice versa!

Oh, yes. now I recall.

CONCLUSION - (more like questions):

It was regardingt the underlying possessiveness in our everyday choices of language, with all the underlying dominance, even violence, which accompanies getting, having and retaining which we learn as toddlers, teach and practice as adults and generally take for granted. But wouldn’t it frustrate the government if we realized we have nothing for them to tax so that they can HAVE a chunk of it?

So it is about whether we really “have” (or need) all that? Maybe we only borrow it while we are here on Earth? Or MAYBE - all of it HAS us!! Whew. That would be a shocker. If is were so, how does it or could it - have us?

Well, it makes us dependent, obligated, anxious, maybe envious and stingy, depending on how insecure we are in our delusion of actual possession being a reality. The delusion does help us get to feeling as though we are secure or “well-off”, satisfied or “someone”, perhaps. But what does anything possessed really “have to do with” adding anything real or valuable to our security, satisfying our deepest needs or giving us any further authenticity beyond our own being and how well we use our nows?

I wouldn’t suggest we change our language and choice of words but perhaps we might examine our honest-to-goodness feelings about ownership and “having” whatever we crave and quest for, get and take for granted.

It could all so easily vanish in a snap of a finger; and if we have seriously relied on its being “ours”, we may be quite discombobulated when that inevitably happens!

But becoming more aware that all we “have” IS the present, life as it is immediately happening - while we have it - and then what we bring into it from inside ourselves, and what we extend from it to others - is what IT is and what we have. If it is lacking, it is because of our own choices. But it is MORE what we possess - what can be possessed - than all those other “haves”.

So how do we measure that? - or measure up to it?


                                   Fruitful life

                                Goes begging

                                While futile life

                                      Is fed.

                        __© Nellieanna H. Hay

More by this Author


54 comments

BenWritings profile image

BenWritings 5 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

Nellie, you had me at hello, and I had a ball reading this.

You own my interest, and my respect.

I hope you have a jolly jubilee for a night.

This was an interest hub indeed.

The truth is...all we have is questions, and feelings, and thoughts. We really don't possess anything in life...this made me think way too much.

now I HAVE a headache ;]

Lol, sorry I'm rambling now.

Great work Nellie


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

We 'have' altogether too much, Nellieanna...perhaps it's time to just 'be'! :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ben - You know - I'd been working on another poetry hub. But while I was fixing my morning fruit, this concept of "having" struck me. I thought I'd just go jot it down while it was on my mind - and since the computer was up and on, I jotted it on a blank page. It just took off from there. And it does ramble but most of the bulk of it isn't the wordy stuff I wrote about it, but just the actual listing of our self-talk and the presentation of ourselves reflected in these phrases and words. It really did strike me as an indication of what underlies our thinking. Sort of like the "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." - and vice versa!

And what is really sad is that all that "stuff" is so transient. We attend to that while the real is neglected. A little poem of mine comes to mind, and maybe I will add it to this hub:

Fruitful life goes begging

While futile life is fed.

__© Nellieanna H. Hay

What is rather interesting, is that even our feelings, thoughts and questions are transient. It is how our beings are nurtured or not by them that abides. We really are already in the eternal now and how we learn to live it is how it is and will be for us.

Sorry about the headache. I don't have one, but if I don't get ready and get to bed, I will! hehe

Hugs. Glad you came and enjoyed it.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - that is it exactly!!! This is all just a poke at our apathy about that fact! Thanks for coming and for the WONDERFUL clear summation! Hugs.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Nelli, this is an interesting article. Keep it up.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Great Nellieanna,

Enjoyed this one from beginning to end !!!

Take care

Eiddwen


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Crystolite - I appreciate that! So pleased you came by and are letting me know your impression of the article! Thank you!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Eiddwen - Thank you! That's a real compliment - it's a long way from beginning to end! hehe. But at least it's not too word-dense @ 2410, so much as just strung out I'm known to post more (in prose) and less (in poetry). ;-> Hugs.


SheZoe profile image

SheZoe 5 years ago from Idaho, USA

such a fantastic point and so skillfully pointed out too!


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

If not possessed,we "have an eye on it"the intention to possess.;)


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

to have or not to have?...that is the question.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

In all languages, the two verbs: the verb to be and the verb to have are the ones which are used most and therefore open to become the verbs that have more irregularities. They have almost universal use within those languages either by themselves of in conjunction with other words... so why not throw in the negative, to not have? to not be?

Then Lynne Truss with arrive on our collective doorsteps with battalions of Anti Split Infinitive commandos and we'll be in (or have) trouble.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

This was totally wonderful! I will tell you "I have a great time reading your hubs." Love you Nellie!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Nellieanna,

Excuse me...

Just wait a bloody minute here!

"Our" language!

I don't think so. My little island crafted this fine communication tool, battering Anglo and Saxon into a workable state, adding, removing and refining it until it shone like a jewel of a language, complex, unintelligible at times, and quintessentially English.

The name is a clue, ENGLISH, so not so much yours, as mine, well the English...

America has casually thrown the letter 'u' to the side leaving neighbor and color as stunted reminders of the words they used to be...oh, the humanity!!!

It would appear that you borrowed it, messed around with it for two hundred years or so, and have now claimed squatter's rights.

Rather naughty, don't you think?

Now you know I love you, and think you are a magical crafter of words, but to claim ownership...

C :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

SheZoe - A lovely comment! Thank you, dear!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mentalist - Yes, that's the point of the use of the concept of owning (not the owning of any particular language but using any of them to own things and other ever-changing values).

The quest for possession and ownership of things is actually the premise, as illustrated by the overwhelming use of the verbs "to have", "to possess", and "to own" in everyday speech, writing and thought. We may not think of it as being possessive, but that is what our words mean, both implicitly and explicitly. It plants a sense of ownership of things we may or may not actually own, and which most often are transient and own us while we are in quest of them and then while we are so busy "protecting what is ours". You got it!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Nikki - I love it! OK - and the answer is. . . ? (wink) Love you too gal!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

TL, Ian - dear friend. How astute an observation! Not only frequently misapplied are "to be" and "to have" but they become more complicated as they are further conjugated.

But any assumption that there is only either/or is probably suspect, as well. To expand the use of the positive does not demand the use of the negative. It's a matter of refocusing on the real meanings, the truth of the claims in the first place, rather than suggesting that if not "to have" - it must be "to not have" - or be. There is a quirk in the brain's processes which focuses so intently, it often misses other facts and evidences beyond the narrow focal point. The insertion of "ergo" was partly to dispel the either/or and point out that more likely, the one may result in the other if one tries too hard to possess. The result is to pay for that, similarly to Jesus' admonition, "Whosoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it". Whether or not one follows him, the sense in the words holds up to point out the futility in misplacing confidence in empty values. Many of the "haves" we crave & quest after are empty values compared to what we lose in their pursuit.

OH PLEASE - let's not stir Lynne Truss to come and hassle this poor li'l writer! hehe I'm not up to it! Am having enough trouble with my HP linguistic betters already! hehe. But it would be interesting if we could entice her to participate in some of our discussions, wouldn't it?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

toknowinfo! I am so glad! I have a great time reading your responses to my hubs! Thank you and you are also always most welcome here!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Nellieanna,

Thank you for your gracious admonition, I'm nursing the mother of all hangovers after my househusband hub experiment with alcohol...

I should know better,

my original response sould have been...

Possessive? Moi?

And, yes, your use of language creates masterpieces...

this was no exception...


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw, -- poor Chris. There, there. No one is trying to steal anything. It will be all right. If possible, just try to notice the actual object of implied ownership in this article, which isn't the English language, but the objects we try to claim linguistically and constantly with the mutually used verb "have", in whatever language we speak.

Poor darling. You usually key right into a premise. So it's clear that this was an emotional upheaval if it was misinterpreted as an attempt to steal or claim the origins of English, even though I've never known another tongue to call my native one, along with all my maternal ancestors from the little island. Perhaps we can discuss all that elsewhere when the rumpled feathers have settled down nicely.

I truly appreciate the reassurance that I'm still loved & respected in the face of an honest, if incorrect, impression of my verbiage, meaning and intent here! :-)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

OOPS. I failed to see you'd replied so graciously when I noticed a poor choice of words in my first reply to your first, and in order to change it, needed to delete the entire reply and repost it. So - now my reply to which you were replying follows your reply to it. Ack. I may be my own grandma at this rate. And I can't even claim a hangover! I had a single small glass of red wine last evening early and a good night's sleep. No excuses for me.

Don't feel badly, dear Chris. Your response was a natural one, I'm sure. No offense meant or taken! Hugs.


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

I had two naps and lunch in between reading this. You have stolen my morning and now you have what I haven't. I can almost see you writing this. Bet you were just giggling the whole time. What a delight and a wonder you are. "Fruitful life goes begging, futile life is fed". I salute my fellow beggar! :-)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Nellieanna,

Somedays you just make me want to get into my car, drove on over to your place and give you a real hug...

C


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

hehe, arb, if it's any comfort, my day has slipped through my fingers, too! So I don't have what you don't, I'm thinking. But it's all mornings under the bridge anyway.

Yes, I did have a blast writing this thing. It was hard to stop adding to the list I compiled. The one from the dictionary was all theirs! Every entry made me smile or actually laugh our loud. How funny it is to think clearly and laugh at oneself for one's undeniable culpability. Hardly a phrase listed there I haven't uttered! This was no finger pointing, - unless it was pointing both ways!

Fellow beggar - a perfect appellation! Just too "rich", as my Dad would say at something rich in both humor and wisdom.

Thank you for the great comment and salutation, dear friend! :-)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, Chris! -There's a delightful idea! As it happens, I'm expecting some relatives to come visit from Gilroy in a couple of weeks. Come along with them, even though they're flying. It is a LONG car trip and they don't have that much time. :-)

So for now, - here's a hug; - not quite real -but enthusiastic!. . . (*(*(*(CHRIS)*)*)*)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

I must add, Nellieanna, one of the most important assets we here on Hubpages have - YOU! We have your brilliant poetry, we have your scintillating prose, and we often have your beautiful soul.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

DRBJ - Surely I don't deserve such magnificent praise by someone of your excellence! ~ Thank you!! You are an inspiration! Hugs.


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

hey you know what?? we have this and we hAve that and we have evErything and we have at times evErything else too- but the have that makes us have no more since when we have it we feel have it all is-

WE HAVE Nellieanna

THREE CHEERS FOR THE HAVE TO BEAT ALL HAVES.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw, geewillikers, kulkarni - - I think I'm going to have to either cry or run for office. You're too kind but you ought to be careful inflating my head like that! Hugs. You are a treasure! Thank you for such a pleasant comment!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..and last but not least .... and certainly most importantly - we HAVE you!!!!!!!!!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Nellieanna, It is such a joy to read your hubs and you had me in the first couple of lines and of course the balance was artfully written as usual. It is also very enjoyable to read all the comments to your hubs.

I continue to look forward to your delightful Hubs.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I tried hard but cann't anything to it after all what had been said. DRBJ really but it all into nutshell and I agree with every word.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, you do have me, epi! I'm here for the duration! :-) And vice versa! We get to have YOU! Hugs! Thank you! Big hug!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, Pamela - the whole thing was summarized in those first couple of lines! The rest was just "filler". hehe. I'm so pleased that you came by and read it and left your kind comments! Thank you, sweet lady!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, hello - you always say gracious things which speak straight to my heart, and this one is no exception. It says you enjoyed this off-beat hub; and that delights me! Also - your generous ditto to others' remarks, especially DRBJs, is so gratifying! Thank you!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Very nice Nellieanna! You have it all here - an English lesson, Bogey and Bacall, love, music...We need all the help we can get with this English language! Thank you dear Nellieanna!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Love ya, (*(*(*(Micky)*)*)*). You need nothing! You're as perfect as a human needs to be. Thank YOU for the visit an lovely comments! Big hugs.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

I think I'll respond literally,rather than linguistically, after reading your comment about "the quest to possess and have ownership of things." The concept of wanting to possess made me recall the earlier period in my life when I "wanted" so much...too much, as a matter of fact.

I wanted "things", lots of things, and I wanted them "right then." Instant gratification can too easily become a way of life. Satisfying that need to "have" can get one into all sorts of trouble. And for what? Stuff.

Stuff that is often obsolete or fast becoming so by the time you get your grubby fingers on it. Stuff that takes up room--way too much room--and is not worth the precious real estate it inhabits. Stuff that may be beautiful and pleasing to see around you, especially if you're a nester as I am, but is no fun to dust regularly!

Now I've reached a time in my life when acquisitiveness is overcome by the desire to divest myself of "stuff" earlier acquired.

I urge those younger people who "want to have it all" to at least consider that a similar time may arrive in your life as well. You may no longer "want it all" or wish to devote space to it in your abode (your home, your garage, a storage unit, etc.)

If I had a "do over", I would spend my time and money not on "stuff" that takes up space, but on adventures that fed my soul and made lasting memories (but require no dusting, unless memorialized in photographs and hung on a wall).

I know this wasn't really your premise, Nellieanna, but reading this hub after cleaning out closets and cupboards made me see (no, FEEL) it in this particular way. Jaye


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, I suffer from my habitat being over-stuffed, needing dusting and all that, too, Jaye. I didn't choose it all first-hand, though. Every time I dust the antique dining table I now have in my breakfast room, I remember as a child dusting it in my mother's dining room. It's not in my dining room because another "inherited" table which was there when I married George and moved into his house, occupies that space. A more modern table which was in the breakfast room is now gathering dust in the garage. Ugh.

There are many "things" here, including many beloved ones and many I did choose to have, plus many gifts. Gifts, though, have special memorable value, though they still occupy space and need dusting. How often I dream about a minimal decor! My quest for electronic goodies is part of my downfall. That stuff has to be recycled besides.

Like you, I find myself desiring possessions less and it's not just because of the ponderosity of all of it. They just don't MATTER as much. The things I think of wanting are not very materialistic and definitely are not for status value.


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Miss (not Mistress) Nellie....

Once again I am left in awe...at the risk of sounding like a fawning schoolboy, I believe you're the best writer on this site. And leave me be- I "have" my opinion! And I will also agree that we are taught by society that "stuff" is desired and "things" increase our status. Balderdash...they don't neither. However, it's sad to admit that I have been under that spell for lo these many years, and only recently have begun to appreciate the joy of things immaterial (Probably accompanying a dawning realization that I'm never going to be anywhere near rich). I won't insult your intelligence by declaring your article perfect...but I'll credit it with being one barley corn shy of it...how's that? :)TR


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thomas, no way could I visualize you as a fawning schoolboy. You are much too erudite and mature. Thank you for the generous accolade. I'm thrilled that you appreciated my subject here.

'Things' have their place but not at the highest echelon usually assigned to them. As far as status goes, it's a questionable 'possession' too. The key distinguishing trait of possessions may be the value we assign them. Becoming aware that non-material 'things' (not actually a valid concept because things are material by nature) are not your personal standard of joy of life probably exceeds merely concluding that becoming rich is unlikely. It really is an important realization.

If you happened to notice that "Hierarchy of Needs" graphic up in this hub, - it comes from Abraham Maslow's concept of how the human mind advances from simply trying to fulfill the 'basic needs' to survive to much more self-actualizing (and less material) quests and motivations for fulfilling higher needs and growing into characteristics which distinguish those among us who reach a state of being he names 'self-actualized'; - people like Lincoln, Einstein, William James, etc. Those folks are some of the few who graduated up the hierarchy of needs to put enjoyment of new experiences, service, humor, friendships, creativity at the top of their personal bucket lists, rather than more commonplace desires and goals of the majority of folks walking around. But that doesn't happen unless the needs at the base of the pyramid have been reasonably satisfied. For instance, if one is seriously deprived of food and shelter, then any quest for fulfilling individual potential and growth, let alone peak experiences, will be stymied while the person keeps seeking the fulfillment of basic needs. Oddly, though, it seem to me that realizing the emptiness of some of the common desires actually helps one to move on toward self-actualization.

Anyway - that's my 2 cents-worth. Thank you a bunch for the visit & lovely comments!


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Although maturation (kinda) has allowed me to appreciate the less "material", it's also true that the economics of today make it ever more difficult to scale the pyramid past the bottom layers. However, it certainly does make for a more relaxed lifestyle. I lived on Hilton Head Island for 3 years. Wanna talk about folks who guage your worth on stuff. Boyohboy...shallow enough a bug couldn't drown.... :)TR


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, yes - and in ways 'maturation' changes one's economic horizons, especially with the current political scenario. But when splurging for 2 throw pillows for the couch and a zippered garment bag @ from $9.95 to $19.95 can produce a thrill, it's clear that the pricetags don't really determine the possible 'lift' from something 'new' but technically unnecessary. 'Things' can give some pleasure. Living on love alone is not quite practical. The pillows were for the sake of 'eye candy' and the garment bag was to frustrate moths.

I've had some experience with the materialistic mentality of a closed community.

I was in an elite sorority at an elite university. I understand about folks who measure worth by stuff, including being properly connected. It wasn't actually my desire or choice, but because of a sister with the connections and an understanding father who (literally) bought into parts of her justification for it. It was supposed to erase vestiges of different kinds of ideas from my system. It didn't work, obviously. It was aimed at grooming me for a materialistic-centered life. Instead, it had the effect of turning me from being manipulated and/or pushed into becoming a shallow society woman and I fled it as soon as I graduated. How I might have developed from there at that point was interrupted by the death of my sister and her entire family in a bizarre car-train crash. Had I not fled, I'd have been in the car with them and as it was, I was unforgiven by her for fleeing. I believe that if Dad had fully understood her goal for me, he would have resisted the experiment. But she was his pride and joy and her death shook the entire family to the core and certainly redirected my life. It took me many challenging years to regain my own equilibrium and confidence in my own inner direction.

Nothing is quite black and white. We get to work it out "with fear and trembling" a lot of the time. It behooves us to not judge others and to be kind to ourselves during the process.


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

So sorry to hear of your loss. well, I still enjoy having things, of course. Who doesn't..but it's the amount of emphasis on it that deepens or shallows up the joy of obtaining something. Certainly, if you've worked hard and want a nice car, that's understandable. but, if you drive around in that car, with your nose in the air and sniffing at those around you that have "inferior" modes of transportation, I'd say that the car is a curse rather than a benefit.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Thomas. Well, the accident was December 13,1953, - a LONG time ago, but it still 'smarts' and remains tender. Had she lived, she'd be 94. Her husband would be over 100. Their 3 boys would be 62 and 60 (twins). It was an inexpressible loss. Their maid/nanny was also lost in the accident. (I'd have been along in that capacity to help with the children.)

You're so right that it's the personal attitude about possessions, - which can include non-material 'things' such as an education - which make a difference in whether the things are beneficial and enjoyable or a source of pain to others & ultimately boomerang to poison one's own joy. Whenever too much value is given to 'stuff', it can overshadow much more important values. "Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also . . . " Being able to detach from the material stuff gives the heart and soul more freedom to soar above them. Of course, it's possible to make "possessions" out of spiritual goalposts, to be flaunted to others, too.


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

Oh. Those last four lines pack quite a poetic punch.

Great thoughts here. Very few things in this life are safe to stand on. Most can be washed, eroded, snatched, stolen, or vanished from beneath us. The world is ephemeral and we treat life as if it will never end. As if we are in control of it all. Masters and possessors of everything.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

emichael - when I wrote those 4 lines about 40 years ago, their full realization weighed heavily upon me. Thankfully, there was a way out of the futile and it's been fruitful - and appreciated - ever since. But it saddens to see how many folks get trapped indefinitely in futile lives.

Yes, of course all we think we have can be taken from beneath us. That is the NATURE of life. So we must learn to ride with the changes and BE in the present moments as they are here. A little book I read many years ago really brought that to my full attention: "The Wisdom of Insecurity" by Alan Watts. Life IS change. When change stops, so does life. That's why perfection is not a good goal. What more does it need? However, excellence is a doable goal which needn't freeze one in one's tracks. If perfection were reachable, it would do just that. Life requires friction, change and the uncertainties which inevitably 'go-with' that. We aren't in control of it all, definitely not masters and possessors of everything. But what we ARE is able to live our actual moments of life fully, being masters of ourselves (moment-to-moment) and possessors of the most valuable of all things - LIFE while we are living it. We also possess CHOICE which can alter even out best hopes and intentions, as well as altering our worst ones! wow! voila! :-)

Thank you for your most gracious and welcome visit!


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

I like the way you think :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thanks Michael. Your thought processes are quite good, too! :-) I'm pretty sure I've had a bunch more years to work on mine!


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

we have grand affairs.

thanks for being mine


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

tee hee, Neelesh. You're so clever. We have fun, too! Hugs.


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

And many, many more I hope. The world needs your kind of writing. Fresh and honest.

Take care :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Michael - oh, yes - many more! I'm going for the century mark! Thank you!

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