We now rent almost everything. Our entertainment is streamed to us (for a fee). We no longer own our music on CD but, for a fee, Spotify or Apple will stream it to us. The software on our computers is rented from Microsoft or Google, and we pay for the use of it with our data and/or our cash. We can now rent our formal clothes, our homes or apartments, our cars, and soon our caskets or urns. It is a slippery slope we are on. What’s at the bottom, I am not quite sure, maybe nothing. When we take our last breath, and the rented machine is turned off, all that is left to do is cancel all subscriptions to everything.
A recent streaming series, “Upload,” portrays the idea of uploading our consciousness to a digital afterlife. Our loved ones can visit us virtually as long they continue to pay the rent for our data storage. The opulence of our virtual existence depends on the amount of data storage space our “loved one” in the “real world” rented for us. If they pay the rent, our consciousness continues to exist in a virtual world where they can visit us.
Meanwhile, I am continuing slowly (very slowly) learning to play the guitar while exploring other forms of music-making using a subscription service. This summer I planted seeds and tilled the soil in a rented plot of dirt. The land our condo building sits on is owned by an association to which we pay our monthly HOA (Homeowners’ Association) fee that pays for the services of the property management firm.
Off I go to sit in the rented Adirondack chair on the rented patio to read the book I borrowed from the library.
Does anyone see a pattern here? In this temporary existence, do we ever really own anything?