Finders Keepers

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Finders Keepers. Do you still believe in that? Do you believe that if you find something, you should be able to keep it so long as the owner doesn't notice that they've dropped it? It's relative, I guess, but I certainly try not to. So, I admit, I indulge occasionally in the lovely thing of picking money off the ground, but you consider, in a different situation, what would you rather happen to you?

A short anecdote illustrates my point. I once found ten dollars at the school canteen, I picked it up and handed it to the teacher, telling her someone had dropped it. I would consider, if I were in a situation where I lost ten dollars, that I would feel pretty annoyed and want to get the money back. But since in our untrusting world, if we lose something, we can hardly hope to get it back, we decide it is hopeless and don't pursue it. I admit that in the end, the teacher got back to me and told me noone had claimed it, presenting it to me as my award, but I wish that the world could just become that little bit more compassionate.

Finders keepers is often something developed while a kid. I'm not sure there's an origin, but in the end, most children know about it. You find it, you keep it. Finders keepers.

It's all very well when you do it yourself. You feel that sense of victory, or superiority and all those lovely emotions meant to degrade (probably) the other party. On the receiving end though, what would you feel?

Annoyance, worry. That object might be important to them, might even be more important than they are saying. What do they feel? If they're the rightful owner, shouldn't they get the object back? Of course, it's true that children don't understand logic, and that's probably why finders keepers comes around.

I am glad though, that at least most people seem to have gotten it right. Our law system, after all, doesnt say that if you find it you should keep it. Things should always be returned to their rightful owner, even if there is dispute sometimes over who exactly that rightful owner is.

So we've established that finders keepers is only something maintained among children, really, apart from the occasional instant among adults (where they find money, probably). But as we grow older, we ditch these ideas as we learn and develop morals by which we run our life. That is not to say that people's morals are always good - that's why criminals exist - but usually we will understand that this is wrong, even if we have the occasional bout of selfishness.

But even so, it really disappoints me when a twelve year old kid takes something that's obviously yours and tells you 'finders keepers'. Where has right and wrong gone?