Daily Tao / 322 – Decadence

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Powdered concubine dressed in rich silks —
Feet bound, body soft, lips slack —
Views lotuses through binoculars.
A dragonfly alights on her motionless fan.

How do you know when your own life verges on decadence?

Certainly when the force of form becomes more important that the force of substance. When etiquette and morals become more important that understanding and righteousness. When procedure becomes more important than creativity. When gratifying your lust becomes more important than giving to others. When patriotism becomes more important than measured governing and enlightened treatment of other nations. When the act of eating becomes more important than considerations of nutrition. When the opera becomes more important than helping the poor and homeless. When one’s own comfort becomes more important than the suffering of loves ones. When ambition becomes more important than benevolence. When prestige becomes more important than charity. When the academy becomes more important than the streets. When loud expression becomes more important than listening to others. When outrageousness becomes more important than communication. When connoisseurship becomes more important than simple acts. When style becomes more important than function. When books become more important than teachers. When expediency becomes more important than the elderly.

When you smell these things happening, you are not far from decadence.

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