Taoists say: That which is not created by man is valuable. That which is created may have a relative value, a market value, but really it is not valuable: it has no value. A man-made thing is a commodity. Of course if you go into the market-place and you start selling emptiness, nobody will purchase it. There is no value in it and people will laugh.
Lao Tzu is passing through a forest, and the forest is being cut. Thousands of carpenters are cutting the trees. Then he comes near a big tree — a very big tree, one thousand bullock carts can rest underneath it — and it is so green and beautiful. He sends his disciples to enquire of the carpenters why this tree has not been cut yet.
And they say ‘It is useless. You cannot make anything out of it: furniture cannot be made, it cannot be used as fuel — it gives too much smoke. It is of no use. that’s why we have not cut it.’
And Lao Tzu says to his disciples ‘Learn from this tree. Become as useless as this tree then nobody will cut you.’
Uselessness has great value.
He says: Look, and watch this tree. Learn something from this tree. This tree is great. Look, all the trees are gone. They were useful, hence they are gone. Some tree was very straight, that’s why It is gone. It must have been very egoistic, straight, proud of being somebody — it is gone. This tree is not straight, not a single branch is straight. It is not proud at all. hence it exists.
Lao Tzu says his disciples: If you want to live long, become useless. But remember, his meaning of the word ‘useless’ is; don’t become a commodity, don’t become a thing. If you become a thing you will be sold and purchased in the market, and you will become a slave. If you are not a thing, who can purchase you and who can sell you?
Remain God’s creation. Don’t become a human commodity and nobody will be able to use you. And if nobody is able to use you, you will have a beautiful life of your own, independent, free, joyful. If nobody can use you, nobody can reduce you to a means. You will never be insulted, because in this life there is no greater insult than to become a means: somebody or other is going to use you — your body, your mind, your being.
Lao Tzu says: Become a nonentity so that nobody looks at you and you can live YOUR LIFE as YOU want to live it. Nobody comes to interfere with you.