The whole idea of owning something, it’s a fiction. How can you say that, ‘I own this house.’? What does that mean? It’s a fiction in the mind that others agree with – that means you own it… If others don’t agree with it, it’s a delusion only in your own mind.
You could say, ‘I own this ashram.’ OK… If that delusion gives you an enhanced sense of self, then live with that and say, ‘I’m not telling anybody but the truth, I OWN THIS PLACE! – but nobody knows!’
Now then, people would call you deluded. But there are people like that. But then, if others agree with your delusion, then they will actually sign papers to tell you that, ‘Your right! You own it!’
'They all agree with me, I own it!'
It’s the same delusion, accept that now others agree with my delusion. It means nothing.
A time will come of course, when ownership will become totally meaningless. They tried to do it with communism, without going through a transformation of consciousness first. And of course, that didn’t work.
So the whole idea of me in that structure becomes absurd.
You can enjoy the physical structures, knowing it’s just that. It’s not going to last.
At first, you might read this quote and think he is advocating some kind of communism, with the exception that some kind of conscious transformation is necessary before it can work. That is not what he is suggesting at all. This is a lot deeper than that. The kind of transformation he is talking about is the total absence of the ego, whereby the entire thought structure of property simply doesn’t exist within human consciousness.
Communism assumes the state owns, capitalism assumes the individual owns, but Tolle is talking about no entity or group of entities owning anything because there is no ego deriving a sense of self from the physical forms that make up our world. Physical structures simply exist, and people use them as they need them, but there is no need to engage in violence over the control of any given resource.
If you think about it, violence is the ultimate bad. What Tolle is suggesting is that anytime any person engages in violence to control something, it is because their sense of self has become so identified with that object that they are willing to use force to secure its usage for their own ends.
Obviously the use of violence to take or protect property in a world without ego would be absurd. In a world without ego, no one would ever use violence to take a resource from someone who was using it, thereby, no one would ever have a need to use violence to protect a resource. Under such conditions, there is no need to even define what property is. Think anarcho-capitalism, without the need for a court or security system, because no one would ever defraud, steal, or harm anyone. And no one would ever defraud, steal, or harm anyone because everyone’s consciousness would have evolved beyond the need to identify with form.
Of course, there are probably only a handful of people in the world who are in that state of consciousness, so the state of “no concept of property” does not exist. He’s not suggesting some kind of political policy prescription. He is merely pointing out the obvious. Without ego, there is no need to own anything. Tolle assumes the evolution of consciousness will continue on until consciousness has mastered the mind created ego at some distant point in the future.
Even under anarcho-capitalism, security and courts are essentially wasted resources. The need for security is a drain on society that could be eliminated entirely if human consciousness evolved beyond a point where people defrauded, stole from, or harmed each other. The ideal world would be one where no money was ever being spent on security or courts because people’s consciousness had evolved beyond the point of ever doing things that create a need for those services. That is the level of consciousness Tolle is alluding to – far beyond the concept of state and even beyond the concept of the individual, into a concept of the eternal conscious awareness that makes up the core of each person’s being.
Anarcho-capitalism will arise when people give up their collective egos, and Utopia will arise when people give up their individual egos. You can see that minarchist libertarians are still deriving a sense of self from the state. They still derive a sense of identity from calling themselves Americans, or perhaps they have a fear that their physical form may be at risk without a state to protect them. Anarcho-capitalists have moved beyond that. Anarcho-capitalists have a fear that without security and courts, their physical form may be at risk, but they don’t see the need to use violence to fund their own security.
Dropping the ego entirely is like making the leap from minarchism to anarchism. It is the recognition that all security and all courts are wasted resources, because they do not improve the human condition. It doesn’t matter what happens to your physical form – you are eventually going to die. It doesn’t matter what happens to your property – it will eventually disintegrate. It doesn’t matter what kind of comforts your property gives you – sitting on a beach can be more enjoyable than sitting in a mansion. It just doesn’t matter, and it’s not worth using coercion to defend it. This is the radical last step in the evolution of human consciousness.