Sunday, June 7, 2009

Property & Dominion – Why Are We So Protective?

The parenting course my wife and I are presently attending has thrown up many a wisdom concept to both grapple with and then to be switched on to. This principle of Property versus Dominion makes it understandable why we guard jealously that which is ours. It makes sense of the instinct that is deep within us to protect both our tangible assets and even our own space.

Each of us has a ‘dominion sensor’ in us, even young children have it. What’s mine is mine. And this is not entirely a selfish thing. Dominion is said to be the positive side of ownership whilst selfishness is the negative side of ownership.[1] Dominion is not simply about physical possessions i.e. things in the material world (though materiality is rapidly encompassing the immaterial).

Now, let me illustrate. Just recently I was picking up my daughter from school when this rhythmic thumping sound erupted, and as it continued it was getting closer. It was a young person’s car with those sub-woofer speakers cranked right up.

I don’t know about you, but that sort of noise pollution tends to get me annoyed. My dominion sensor picked up that my part-public ownership of the natural environment there (with everyone else in that vicinity) was being intruded upon.

I’m often cheesed off by the motorcyclists weaving through traffic, or the road-cyclist who doesn’t believe red lights apply to them. Queue-jumping behaviour riles our dominion sensor as we sense people taking advantage. I wonder if these people are like this when they not on their transport?

The key thing about Property versus Dominion, however, is not about the use of our dominion sensors toward satisfaction for our own ends, but it’s about training our dominion sensor to respect the dominions of others so we too can protect them, and in so doing we can show a biblical level of respect.

The biblical standard of respect is so other-worldly that it’s stark when encountered. People often don’t know how to respond, though the person respected is likely to issue an instinctual, yet at times a disbelieving, ‘thank-you.’ Isn’t it sad that people consider it a ‘leadership behaviour’ to adopt what is simply a biblical standard or command?

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo, Let the Children Come Along the Virtuous Way: Growing Kids God’s Way (Happy Valley, South Australia: Growing Families Australia, 2002), p. 139.

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