I think someone had it right when s/he said that in new way for humanity is not to collect possessions, but, experiences. Whether conscious of it or not, all along, the whole purpose of possessions was anyways for the experiences they brought us. “Owning” a possession just meant more frequent access to that particular experience. Or did it mean that? What happened when through frequent usage, the experience become commonplace or even boring? On the other hand, the “owning” meant also a burden as the possession often took up space in the person’s home or even in his/her mind. Also, there were circumstances where a possession took up time and other resources, as it needed caring for.
This is part of why I am so happy today to be in a two bedroom apartment, instead of owning a big house. As time flows onward, technology brings me experiences without requiring the possessions of yesteryear. Just one simple example, I don’t need CD disks, records or tapes to enjoy quality music anymore. There’s YouTube. Another simple example, I no longer need a few house phone to cover every corner of my home. I just keep a small cell phone with me. I now get the same communication experience with less possessions. Then of course there’s Skype, where I can have an even deeper communication experience, something closer to actually being in another’s presence. Thank You for all this.
However, there’s an experience which all this technology can only aid, reinforce, but not totally bring and that’s a relationship which requires someone’s actual presence and that’s male/female intimacy. There’s often a “possession” quality about this relationship, to enhance the experience. I cannot totally have this experience long distance. The other person needs to be in my presence to touch, to share deeply felt eye contact, etc.
This is why couples still need to share physical space to fully experience each other. This is a gift. It enhances the value of a human being’s presence. It says that unlike CD’s, records, tapes, house phones, ... people are not disposable or replaceable. One can’t deeply experience another in a satisfying way without his/her actual presence. There’s at least one other human being whose physical presence makes a huge difference to my whole experience of life itself and my physical presence makes the same difference to her whole experience of life. Besides, experiencing her, I feel a deeper experience of myself too. Similarly, besides experiencing me, she feels a deeper experience of herself too. So it’s really a multiple access experience which can only occur with another’s presence. There’s no technological substitute.
I actually think that this is part of the hallmark of the age we are entering, an age of deeper enlightenment or messianic era. Technology and scientific advances will do much to bring us experiences which once upon a time required a huge accumulation of financial resources and/or possessions. We will even have access to many, many life enhancing experiences, which the very wealthy of yesteryear couldn’t even dream of - effortlessly, without even a chase. What will remain as coveted treasures are levels of experiencing of one’s own self, other human beings and spiritual revelations.
This might be why Rabbi Yehuda L. Ashlag wrote that the messianic era is one when humans move from the desire to receive to the desire to give, as giving opens the door to experiencing another. This could also me what’s coded in the message that loving one’s fellow as one’s self will be what brings the messianic era, i.e. a world where competition for resources and possessions become useless, for a much greater gift is simply experiencing another human.