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Lao Tzu said that rich people steal from the poor by taking far more than they need. The massive disparity of wealth in modern culture may create a Victorian era renaissance.
As the rich become richer, an underclass is created. Wealthy people want other people to wait on them, to perform 'menial' tasks and serve them.


When somebody performs an action for you, they have power over you. This is why the Japanese tradition of gift-giving is complicated.
According to Alan Watts, the Japanese words for 'thank you' have a connotation of resentment. If somebody does something for you, you owe them.
If somebody cooks your meals, washes your clothes and cleans your house, they are looking after you much as a parent would a child. You are not in a position of strength.


When you give somebody else responsibility over your wellbeing, you empower them. Some people may argue that paying for service is time-saving.
Yet, what are you planning to do with the time you save? Time spent on 'down to earth' activities is good for your mental health. It is an investment.


A Taoist does not want to be waited-on or served. Doing so-called 'menial tasks' is good work; wholesome and meaningful - with a clear purpose.
Manual chores are also excellent tools for promoting a condition of meditation.
Why would you want to have somebody else wait on you? Does it make you feel important? Are you insecure? What do you lack?

Do it yourself

When somebody waits on you, they render you weak, like a child. A tai chi person is integrated - they do not need pampering - and loathe the idea of being served.
They live close to the earth, to the real.

In martial arts it is essential to practice daily to attain familiarity,
treating them as ordinary affairs, so the mind remains unchanged.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)

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Page created 2 October 1996
Last updated 04 May 2023