For every act of evil, there is an act of beauty. You Can't Change the World, Only Your Attitude Towards It.

Wen Tzu Work for all

I think this was the point I forgot.

In the intro to the Wen Tzu the writer is talking about the idea of all people working in unity, all doing what they are naturally good at and doing it for the common good and not in competition. The reason this hit home was that on my way home from work yesterday I was chatting to a workmate over the exact same point.

We have a good team of people and naturally within that group there are friendships and conflicts, some people are drawn to chat together and some have grudges with each other. My workmate and I were discussing how we are both happy to take the seemingly lower position of helping another whereas some others are in a constant battle to improve themselves and take credit for jobs completed as a team.

A scenario would be that one person is rushing for a deadline and one of us will offer help in this. The person rushing may accept the help and then announce that they are going for lunch or a break or onto another task, thus leaving the person offering help doing the whole task. The double sting to this is when they return to grab the completed task and claim it as their own. This, under various formats, happens a lot, so my friend and I were talking up the dream reality of us all operating for the common good and leaving these petty games behind.

What the writer of the introduction to the Wen Tzu is doing is stating this same ideal but then stopping short of saying why this does not happen, not 2000 years ago and not now. This dream of all working for the common good is the gateway to murder: you set this dream of perfection and so you set the way for people to compete.

For this Taoist dream to be realized then much more wisdom from philosophical Taoism must first be employed, you see to expect all to work for the common good under the leadership of a company, state or country, there is already a hierarchy in place, that of a leader and subjects or staff. The common good in this case is not so common, all of these coworkers are in competition with each other and working for the good of their boss. So while the idea of working for a common good sounds very nice, the context is already set for decay.

So the author continues by saying that "What makes security secure can also create danger. Therefore when sages govern people, they see to it that people suit their individual natures, be secure in their homes, live where they are comfortable, work at what they can do, manage what they can handle, and give their best. In this way all people are equal, with no way to overshadow each other"

Natural contradictions occur even here: The sage "governing people" "encouraging people to do this do that" and so we must see all of this from another key perspective, that of non-doing. That would be the only true Taoist perspective and method that could truly work out and actuate this dream: the sage must allow all around to do as it naturally does, until nature is rebalanced. For a time the natural thing to do IS compete, is to rise and fall and take and lose until this balance has returned. People can't be told to live in order and the very desiring of it only brings about an inner conflict in the sage, person or in the leader. Wei Wu Wei is the way hey hey to have fields of whey corn and hay.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao


The Rambling Taoist said...

From the example you offered of your conversation between you and a coworker, I would suggest that much of the problem resides with the two of you and your egos. If you each are trying to help out to further the common good of the company, then why should you care if other people take credit for your work?

I don't want to come off here sounding mightier than thou. I used to have trouble with the very same thing!! While I rarely sought to take credit for myself -- I looked at successes as belonging to the whole group -- I did tend to take issue when others claimed success based on work that they didn't do.

I have changed a lot lately in that it no longer bothers as much one way or the other. I realize it's solely an ego thing.

Ta Wan said...

I was just recounting one example of how working for the common good is contaminated and yes I personalty draw the same conclusion, that it is best to leave others to these games.

Chatting with my workmate over these issues does not mean that I was the one feeling hard done by, I was just observing it happening ;)

The true conflict would be with those who actually argue and have issue over the events :D

I'm sure most people can relate to the example I gave and this is why I raised it. The way would be to let it happen and these were my final words to my workmate before we took different trains home.