Non-possession is a philosophy that holds that no one or anything possesses anything. It is one of the principles of Satyagraha, a philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance developed by Mahatma Gandhi.
This practice is only a principle when one is not aware of or does not acknowledge all events which have either direct or indirect impact on oneself. Awareness and acknowledgment occurs without specific effort when an entity develops
- a broadened awareness of all events which have a direct or indirect impact on the individual entity;
- the ability to process this information, (see relationships, derive meaning);
- the ability to translate the conclusion of the above into actions.
The action of taking enough to continue working but not more than one needs, is a generalized description of one of those actions. Understanding that no one or anything possesses anything is a specific condition which occurs when one can derive meaning and see the relationships between more events from different perspectives. Possession denotes the de facto claim on another entity based on exclusive access. If access is non-exclusive of some entity, then the object in question is not being possessed. The concepts of possession and ownership often overlap, but are not the same. Ownership takes into account the entitlement to priority of access, which are necessarily based on agreements and other mutually consenting social protocols.
Non-possession denies the exclusive access of an entity by another entity.
To paraphrase: non-possession says that no entity has the right to exclusive access to another entity, either by social agreement, or de facto exclusive access.
there are occupations which require motivations other than material reward. Those who produce without explicitly requiring material reward are not ensured of sufficient material sustenance by virtue of the act of working, which ultimately stops these individuals and institutions from production. Bridging the gap between those who understand work to be productivity for the sake of possessions (the production of possessions,) and the lack of resources for those aspiring to practice non-possession, Gandhi supported extensively practicing Trusteeship in India.
As with all philosophical concepts, non-possession works best if everyone within the finite system adopts this code of behaviour.
In the absence of possession (and ownership by extension,) theft would be impossible. But theft is possible under the non-possession world view. This is possible given that not everyone in the world practices non-possession.