Thursday, March 15, 2012

Those Damn Tool Hoarders

I had a dream...

I was living in a world where everyone shared all of their tools. In every country, state, city and small town, no citizen owned any of their own hammers, screwdrivers or nails. There were countless shops conveniently located everywhere, which supplied the citizens with all the tools they would need to complete any project, big or small.

Because everyone shared all of their tools, they adopted a mentality of "treat the tool in the way you'd like others to treat it" and this made everyone want to take care of what they collectively shared.  Each tool store had a simple check-in/check-out procedure that was based more on the honor system than anything. No governments agencies had to monitor this because the people trusted one another.

But then one day, a man named Stan realized that after he was done with the power-saw, he may end up needing it again in a week, so he kept it. Afterwards, he realized how good he felt knowing he had his own collection of tools, just waiting for him, so he decided he wanted to hold onto all the tools he rented, and no longer return them when he was finished. He currently had no use for any of the tools, but he felt better thinking they belonged to him and were being saved somewhere just for his use.

And slowly this mentality was adopted by many, many citizens around the world. No one was willing to share and everyone began to hoard all the tools they could. No one was thinking about whether or not they needed the tool, but they felt safer thinking it belonged to them.

Generations came and went that it was now normal to be a tool hoarder. Friends would be walking down the street talking to one another, when they'd spot a drill-bit sitting on the pavement and race to pick it up first.

"Look what I found, I just found it sitting on the ground!"
"Yeah, I feel bad for whoever lost that, cause it's ours now!"

A great divide began to form between the tool hoarders and those who had no tools. And as time moved on, the divide only became wider. The families that had been hoarding tools for many generations now had so many tools they did not know what to do with all of them and let them sit in a bank where they could be protected and accumulate value. Other families who had not been collecting for as long had much less, sometimes no tools at all.

With this imbalance of tools, their entire economy started to suffer. Those who had no tools claimed it was not fair that the rich had more. And the rich claimed it was not fair that they were forced to share tools, because they had "earned" their tools them selves. The rich loved the idea of hoarding the tools as much as the poor did, but neither side seemed to be able to recognize this.

Neither side was willing to budge, but every citizen felt the same way:
That they would be happier and their lives easier if they just had more tools. They NEEDED to have more tools.

They got so wrapped up in fighting over the tools that the tool it self became more important than what the tool could be used for. The people forgot that the tools were simply inanimate objects that could do nothing without the creative power of the individual wielding it. 

So much time had passed that no one could remember when they shared their which
were never meant to be collected, stored or hoarded, sitting in a bank vault somewhere doing nothing, but rather always in movement, always being passed along to someone who was ready to put them to good use.

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