The Extraordinary Price of Ownership

By Anthony Gold

Thirteen couples traveled to China to adopt a child. Once at the orphanage, the director presented each couple with their new daughter. As the couples reconvened to prepare for their trip back to the US, each was amazed by the director’s ability to select the perfect child for them. She somehow knew exactly which child would best fit into each family.

Or did she?

When home prices recently plummeted, reported during the second quarter of 2008 that 92% of homeowners were aware of a foreclosure in their local real estate market and believed that these foreclosures had lowered home values in their neighborhood. And over 80% of these same people correctly predicted not much hope for the real-estate market in the near future.

Shockingly, however, nearly 65% of these same people believed the value of their home had increased or at least stayed the same.

That’s the problem with ownership. We place a much higher value on what we own, because we own it.

The orphanage director had simply selected little girls at random for the thirteen couples – there was no personality matching. The value of every home in foreclosed neighborhoods plummeted during the 2007-2008 recession. There were no special homes excluded from the savagery of plummeting markets.

We are conditioned to attach a higher value to items once we own them. And of course we seek out evidence confirming our perspective and ignore data to the contrary. The research behind this phenomenon is strikingly rich with examples, much of it led by the Behavioral Economics folks at Duke and Princeton.

Just consider anything you’ve purchased because it had a 30-day money-back guarantee. The likelihood you sent it back within those 30 days is very low. Why? Primarily because once we own it, we ascribe it a value that exceeds the pain of being without it.

Finally, consider zealots in any form – whether they be for a particular religion or a local sports team. The value they attribute to their cause/team/endeavor is unusually high.

But that is all of us. Everything we buy into, be they material purchases, philosophical ideas, or even relationships – automatically get ascribed a higher value (oftentimes, extraordinarily high) because they are ours. And that is the nature of the ego thought system.

You believe in what you value. Values are relative, but they are powerful because they are mental judgments. Everything the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. (T-2.II.1; T-7.VII.4; T-13.VII.11)

Have faith in nothing and you will find the “treasure” that you seek. Yet you will add another burden to your already burdened mind. You will believe that nothing is of value, and will value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body or a war are one to you. For if you value one thing made of nothing, you have believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue true. (T-14.II.1)

Join us in Monday’s class where we will discuss both the concept of ego ownership valuing as well as the peaceful bliss that comes with recognizing the infinite value of oneness. I look forward to seeing you then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *