The Concept of Ownership


But unbeknownst to the hapless and rather clueless culture of early farmers and shepherds, an exponential process with catastrophic repercussions had been unceremoniously triggered by the seemingly innocuous ideas of agriculture and animal husbandry. In retrospect these two simple ideas combined would prove to be the monumental blunder of all time because for the first time in the history of the planet the element of interference was introduced into nature’s ancient system of balance and order.

The Concept of Ownership

The Modern Human Psychosis

“You don’t own the land….the land owns you”

(Ancient Cree Wisdom)

Rachel Notley, the current Premier of the Province of Alberta, spoke recently about the political and economic challenges her province faces with regard to its beleaguered petroleum industry. This short piece has nothing to do with the petroleum industry or its challenges. Instead it has everything to do with two particular sentiments Ms. Notley expressed during a press conference held in the lobby of the Federal Building on December 2/18.

The following two excerpts were pulled from the full text of the press conference and I quote;

  1. “These are your energy resources – the natural inheritance of every person in this province”
  2. “So, my fellow Albertans, it comes down to what is best for us, all 4.3 million of us, the owners of our oil resources. As owners we have the obligation to get the most value possible”

This brief essay is not a slight against Ms. Notley. Back when I lived in Alberta her father Grant Notley was the NDP leader and no doubt a respected figure in his day. I felt the same respect for Rachel Notely when she chose to follow in her father’s footsteps. But this essay isn’t about politics and it isn’t about personalities. It is about a much broader, much deeper meditation on the subtleties of a code of ethics, values and principles that predates Ms. Notley, predates Alberta, predates Europe and, in fact, predates humankind as well. I am referring to nature’s ethics, values and principles, the qualities of which are universal, fundamental and that have governed biological evolution on this planet since Day One.

The key idea expressed in Ms. Notley’s two comments is ‘ownership’. Where does this concept of exclusive ownership come from? Ownership of land, ownership of resources, ownership of the Earth. The concept is so pervasive and so deeply ingrained – in not only the western lexicon but the collective western mindset as well – that people rarely (if ever) stop to question the meaning or historical dimensions of exclusive ownership. The systemic unquestionability of this universally accepted notion (ownership) can be likened to our blanket acquiescence of agriculture and animal husbandry…absolutely no one is going to question farming or the raising of livestock as they are practiced today or the original ideas that these ancient systems were predicated upon. Does that make them right….just because no one questions them?

Psychosis: (noun) A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with reality.

And that is the crux of the matter…we advanced modern humans are born into, live and will die adhering to a collective mindset where we rarely, if ever, question the broader ethics of what we do…and I’m not talking here about the self-serving, capricious and tenuous nature of human ethics but the time-tested, time-enduring universality of nature’s ethics. A better term for the above affliction would be ‘collective psychosis’. Viewing this issue through the wide-angle lens of history, one cannot really blame Rachel Notley (or the 4.3 million Albertans) for their narrow but deeply embedded misunderstanding of ownership expressed in the above two excerpts. Ms. Notley was herself born into, is living and will die an unwitting participant in a collective psychosis that is nurtured and self-perpetuated by the fact that no one questions it.

‘The last five major extinctions events were caused by either geological cataclysms or extraterrestrial incursions. This is the first time a planet has been brought down by an idea’.

The energy crisis in Alberta is only one small aspect of a much larger tragedy which is identified herein as the ever-evolving conflict between advanced modern super-ideological humans and nature. Our collision course with nature is laid out in greater detail in a larger document titled ‘Western Thought and the Dynamics of a Train Wreck’, a link to which is provided below. A few key points can be drawn from the ‘train wreck’ essay which help explain the genesis and development of such human-specific concepts as exclusive ownership, inheritance and entitlement.

The Arbitrary Manufacturing of Ideas

“From a purely clinical perspective the explosive growth of the human brain (300%) in such a short time frame (post H. Habilis) certainly qualifies the advanced modern human sub-species as a biological aberration, a ‘freak of nature’. Who else but a freak of nature would wreak this much havoc on its own fragile and irreplaceable biosphere. Who else but a freak of nature would attempt to destroy its own planet. Who else but a freak of nature would rape its own mother”.
(excerpt from the ‘train wreck’ essay)

First, a Thumbnail Sketch. It is an accepted scientific fact that the hominoid brain underwent an explosive (perhaps ‘aberrant’) growth spurt over the past few million years during its accelerated development from the primate stage to Homo sapiens. To be more specific, from 350cc (the primate brain size) to 1350cc (the current Homo sapiens brain size)…which represents an approximate size increase of 300%. To put this into some larger context, during their one-hundred-and-fifty million year history no other placental mammalian has experience a growth increase in brain size of more than 10-15% in the same time frame. It’s obvious that nature’s ancient wisdom prescribed a slow and gradual rate of growth for the mammalian (or any other organism’s) brain. Due to a sequence of naturally occurring events, i.e., an extended drought during the late Miocene period, the subsequent transition to bipedalism (which freed up the hands), the invention of fire, the transition to a flesh-based protein diet, tool making, etc. we humans quickly evolved into a subspecies of super-brained, super-thinking, super-ideological primates. Most significantly, we developed the unprecedented ability (or disability) to arbitrarily manufacture ideas. Unprecedented…in all of history.

‘Advanced modern human are the only organism on the planet capable of manufacturing ideas and…surprise, surprise….we are also the only organism on the planet hell-bent on global destruction’.

Which leaves us with the key question; is there a direct correlation between the human super-brain and the currently unfolding train wreck? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. By simply connecting the dots between these two seemingly unrelated factors (the super brain and the train wreck) the chaos we hyper-humans created over the past ten thousand years begins to make perfect sense. Absolutely nothing is out of place…the universe is unfolding as it should….courtesy of the unforgiving laws of consequence and causality. This direct connection can only be understood if one steps way, way back and considers the breadth and scope of human and natural history.

It is clear that advanced modern humans went somewhat berserk with their new-found ability to hyper-think. The ideological revolution was a ‘game changer’ to say the least. It ignited a firestorm of unchecked invention, innovation, growth and human activity, the likes of which had never been witnessed throughout three and a half billion years of biological evolution. That same firestorm, ignited by the ability to arbitrarily manufacture ideas, has now culminated in the current social and environmental melt-down. Every aspect of the melt-down can be traced back to that precise moment in history when we super-humans began to wrest control of the planet…away from nature.

‘When advanced modern humans unwittingly estranged themselves from nature they created a vacuum within which they began to manufacture a synthetic paradigm of self-serving laws, ethics and values. Just about everything that issued forth from that vacuum was in direct contravention of nature’s laws. Out of this poisonous void was born the ideological construct of exclusive ownership/entitlement’.

This essay’s central theme is the notion or ‘idea’ of ownership. The problem with an arbitrarily manufactured idea is that it is, well, arbitrary. It’s synthesis is not necessarily in alignment or in accordance with the fundamental laws of nature…the laws of the universe. In fact most of the ‘big’ ideas hyper-man conjured up over the course of western civilization were created in a vacuum existing outside the parameters of higher, universal laws, that vacuum being situated inside our own heads…within the ‘vacuity’ of our own super-minds. The synthetic paradigm of laws, ethics, morals and values we hyper-humans manufactured back then was self-serving at its core, designed by the newly-minted elite class (the land barons, the merchants, the church and the nobility) to benefit mostly themselves. These new values included; acquisition, hoarding, profit motive, pursuit of wealth, the lust for gold, land, property, global conquest and expansionism. And the adhesive that held this bogus, man-made value system together, that gave it legitimacy and validation was the elitist construct that we have come to blindly accept today as exclusive ownership and entitlement.

This is what Rachel Notley and many of her fellow Albertans are up against in terms of their ill-fated and misguided understanding of land and resource ownership. Like tiny, insignificant machine-parts deeply embedded within the complexities of an ideological monstrosity (western thinking) they (Ms. Notley and her fellow Albertans) have been thus conditioned to believe they actually own the land and resources. This unfounded and unilateral belief system is the collective psychosis that many advanced modern humans have been suffering from since the genesis of western ideology.


While on the subject of agriculture, please consider the following theorem. Just prior to the invention of agriculture (circa 8000 BCE) the world-wide population of human hunter-gatherers was in the manageable and sustainable range of 5-6 million. Geological and anthropological studies (conducted over the past one hundred years or so) indicate these population numbers had remained fairly consistent for between twenty to thirty thousand years prior to the invention of agriculture. (Nature certainly knew what it was doing back then…in terms of managing the planet). It took another two to three thousand years for the seed or ‘idea’ of agriculture to incubate and evolve to the point where it became an accepted practice throughout ancient Europa and the Middle East. Even at that point human population numbers had not increased significantly.

But unbeknownst to the hapless and rather clueless culture of early farmers and shepherds, an exponential process with catastrophic repercussions had been unceremoniously triggered by the seemingly innocuous ideas of agriculture and animal husbandry. In retrospect these two simple ideas combined would prove to be the monumental blunder of all time because for the first time in the history of the planet the element of interference was introduced into nature’s ancient system of balance and order.

Interference. Tampering. Meddling. Altering.

The central tenet of natural law is biodiversity…agriculture and animal husbandry were both designed to produce monocultures…a monoculture is the exact opposite or antithesis of biodiversity….thus, a monoculture is a biological aberration. Nature’s wisdom dictated a controlled and balanced distribution of plants and animal species throughout any given eco-system…only a small number of human hunter-gatherers or wolves (for example) could survive on a relatively large tract of land. But the destructive dynamics of a monoculture inverted nature’s small-to-large differential by concentrating (via capturing and mass-breeding) large numbers of various plant and animal species in fields, pens and other enclosures. Humans began to cohabit and multiply in the vicinity of their equally multiplying grain and animal stocks, and nature’s ancient equation was forever turned upside down. Instead of small and controlled numbers of humans existing on a large tract of land (as nature intended) large numbers of humans could now exist on a small tract of land.

Pandora’s box (noun): The process of creating complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something.
(Merriam Webster)

This simple inversion was the triggering mechanism that would ignite the exponential rise of human populations to what they are today. From 5-6 million to 7.6-11 billion in only seven or eight thousand years. That means the population numbers of human beings on the planet today (including projections for the end of the century) are 1500 to 2000 times as many as they were pre-agriculture.

Dennis Lakusta

December 7, 2018

**To access the essay titled ‘Western Thought and the Dynamics of a Train Wreck’ please click here.