Will Possessions Lose Importance In A Digital Age?

  • Post by Mike Dixson
  • Sep 01, 2012

I’ve moved nearly ten times in my, fairly, young life. Usually because of landlords or rent changes, sometimes for love and sometimes because of the loss of love.
Each time I move I have a massive dejunk. Usually because the place I’m moving too has less storage or is smaller, city life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, always because I’ve realised I haven’t used some items since I last moved.

Because of this and the changes in technologies over the years my cd collection is now largely a digital one, my book collection is going that way too, and I’ve learnt to be far more ruthless with possessions and even keepsakes become a digital photo of that keepsake and off to the charity shop or bin, whichever is more appropriate.

With my most recent move I got to wondering whether with the increase of digital version of certain possession, music, movies, books and in time, no doubt, more, will physical possessions lose meaning or value?
For instance, with the evolution of 3D printing it’s possible to manufacture the physical. So no one need be the owner of the object as if I have one and you want one we can just print another.
As this technology continues to allow more complex printing and other media becomes digitally encoded versions of itself why feel the burden of possession.

I read an interesting article once about road rage which statement that the reason we feel angry when someone overtakes and pulls in front of us is because to our minds that bit of road in front of us was ours, our possession. Even though it’s a completely transient thing, those few metres in front of our car we feel we own.
So when someone takes that possession from us we get angry.

If possessions change to be something more abstract and that could be duplicated readily so no one need go without would it calm anger in the world?
If solar energy became so efficient everyone’s vehicle charged directly from the sun possession of oil and of land that oil was on wouldn’t matter any more.
If everyone could have enough food because more could be printed then would people fight over land for crops or over the food itself?

See if you can change your thinking about possessions and ownership today, and see if you can feel happier by doing so.

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