Chapter 8: The Useless
Then he said, “And this is the moral of the story: if you don’t want to be unhappy like me, never whistle at a girl!”
Why is the wife always in conflict? It is not the person, it is not a personal thing. It is the revenge of the woman, of the female, of the denied opposite. And this man in the house, this husband, is the representative of the whole male world, the male-oriented world. She is fighting.
Family life is so miserable because we have not heard what Chuang Tzu says. There are so many wars because we have not listened - the opposite has to be merged. Negating it, you invite trouble, and on every path, on every level, in every dimension, it is the same thing.
Chuang Tzu says that if you deny the useless, then there will be no use in the world. If you deny the useless, the playful, the fun, there cannot exist any work, any duty. This is very difficult, and the whole emphasis is on the useful.
If you look at a door, you will see the walls. If somebody asks you what a house consists of, you will say, walls. But Chuang Tzu would say, just like his master Lao Tzu, that a house consists not of walls but of doors and windows. Their emphasis is on the other part. They say that walls are useful, but their use depends on the useless space behind.
A room is space, not walls. Of course, space is free and walls have to be purchased. When you purchase a house, what do you purchase? - the walls, the material, the visible. But can you live in the material? Can you live in the walls? You have to live in the room, in the vacant space. You purchase the boat, but you have to live in the emptiness.
So really, what is a house? Emptiness surrounded by walls. And what is a door? There is nothing. Door means there is nothing, no wall, emptiness. But you cannot enter the house if there is no door. If there is no window then no sun will enter, no breeze will blow. You will be dead, and your house will become a tomb.
Chuang Tzu says: Remember that the house consists of two things: the walls, the material - from the market, the utilitarian - and the emptiness surrounded by the walls, the non-utilitarian which cannot be purchased, which cannot be sold, which has no economic value.
How can you sell emptiness? But you have to live in the emptiness - if a man lives only in the walls he will go mad. It is impossible to do that - but we try to do the impossible. In life, we have chosen the utilitarian.