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Natural Social Contract Annotations

Possession - Distinguished from Control and Ownership

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

The idea of Possession was a difficult concept for me to nail down. Yet I needed to do so because it is critical to any clear definition of the gain or loss of Ownership. As I see it, Possession is a kind of intimate or strong Connection between a Freeman and a Material Existent, a set of Information or a Parcel of Real Estate which enables the Freeman (creates some Available Actions or Freedom for him) to have some Control of that Existent, Information or Real Estate that others do not have (no one else has those particular Available Actions). For Information, which is not directly an Existent, but is only in Meta-Reality, the definition of Possession means that it must be Represented within some physical Possession of the Freeman. These Available Actions, held by no one else, are what, in the definition of Possession, I have referred to as the particular set of Connection Attributes that Connect a Freeman to his Possession. The Entitlement to Possession of any Existent or Information is quite separate from the Possession itself and is coincident with establishment of its Ownership. Of course, the strongest Connections of all are: a) the identity of a Freeman with his body, of which he can never transfer Possession without ceasing to Exist, either partially or fully, and b) his Connection with Information that he has created in his mind and not yet transmitted to another Existent, to which Information he alone has access. However, for all Existents in the Environment of a Freeman (part of the Non-I), Possession may either temporarily by the Possessor or permanently by the Owner, be transferred to another Freeman-B. In the case of Possession without Ownership, this would be done simply by allowing Freeman-B to have the same strong Connection to it that one formerly had oneself (which is, of course, not even completely possible for one's Possession of oneself). In the case of Ownership it would be done by additionally Stipulating his Possession Entitlement under a Valid Contract. Even for one's body some of the Attributes of Possession (which are included in one's Entitlement of Self-Ownership) can be transferred to another by means of a Valid Contract. In fact, such a clear transfer Contract should always be concluded whenever one needs or wishes to Permit another Freeman to have direct access to one's body. Note that Possession does not necessarily imply a knowledge of something sufficient to actually Control any of its major functions (think of a savage Possessing a notebook computer). In addition, a Freeman in Possession of something need not be its Owner (think of renting things or of having Information under a non-disclosure Contract) even though he may be the Owner of things which are within something of which he is only the Possessor (think of things you Own sitting within a rented car which you are currently driving). Thus, the critical aspects of Possession are the proximity of the Possession to the Possessor and the Entitlement to its Possession (which last is included in any Entitlement to Ownership, unless Entitlement to Possession has been assigned to another Freeman by means of a Valid Contract with the Owner). While technically not Possessing Owned or previously Possessed Material Existents or Real Estate when he is remote from them, a Freeman still has Entitlement to Possession as long as he has not Abandoned them or transferred that Possession to another Freeman, just as he still has Entitlement to Possession of anything which is Stolen from him because of his retention of the Entitlement of Ownership of it. Originally, I had also included within the meaning of Possession, the ability to exercise effective control over it, but I removed that for the reasons stated in the Annotation for the definition of Control (and as illustrated with the above example of the savage in Possession of a notebook computer).