A while back, I read a research article in a Developmental Psychology journal which stated that children as young as 18 months old are able to identify items that belonged to them and that belonged to other children. This concept of ownership, the research concluded, appears much earlier in development than previously thought, and signifies an ability to self-evaluate, even at less than 2 years of age.
Yesterday, I received a message in my WoW mailbox. The note read something like "I hate to have to ask, but can you give me my gold back. I hope we can work this out." It was from an ex-guildie that has a long and less-than-lustrous history on Alexstrasza as an emo-stalker of sorts, but that's beside the point. The back-story here is that he was quitting the game and gave all of his toon's gold and BoEs to me, which I took only after verifying that it was his intent to give up his belongings permanently and that this was not a loan. He agreed. But then he requested that I give the gold to the guild and in his name. Sure. Done and done.
That was a while ago, and yet for some reason, he is asking for the gold back with the precedence that it is HIS gold, even after giving up ownership of it. Now, if you know this guy and what he's like, this should come as no surprise to you, and I'm rather upset with myself for taking his gift and presenting it to the guild. I wouldn't have unnecessarily involved ourselves with him had I thought more clearly about dealing with such a character, whose past socially-unacceptable behavior is a clear indication of a lack of self-evaluation, and therefore, a concept of ownership. Either he lacks basic self-perception or he has an agenda (actually, it's probably both), but whatever be the case, the gold he gave the guild is no longer his, and has long been spent as such.
When you give something away, it is no longer yours. A pretty simple concept.
I chose not to respond to the in-game message so that I wouldn't reinforce the guy's behavior. I was also having second thoughts about posting this here, but I figured it was a good way to get the issue out there, and maybe make people a little bit more aware of themselves and personal issues they need to address. Present-to-hand, I think is how Heidegger would put it (someone correct me if I'm wrong, pls), although I think he would just shake his head and walk away at the thought of a 20-year-old failing to master a concept a 2-year-old can achieve. Actually, we might do well doing that ourselves.