Household chores like ironing and folding, washing, cleaning are metaphorical practices, rituals for cleansing the mind. When ironing out the wrinkles, listening to the steam iron breath, I practice my Zen of Just This, and the mind’s worry wrinkles are pressed out. The idea that housework is drudgery, something to be avoided, something for servants to do came about with the rise of the Middle Class and its pseudo aristocracy where, although you weren’t upper class, you had to show the symbols of your status.
In the South, middle class housewives all had help. With the 50s, you had to get machines to do the work, thanks to TV advertising. It’s almost as if the punishment imposed on Adam and Eve by Yahweh where they would have to labor for their existence, was reversed by science. Scientific Utopia was the Restored Garden of Eden.
The goal of “the next best thing” is to remove physical work altogether so one can operate the world from a recliner. Finally, the Religious goal of being free from the body and its death will be realized. Science with its consumer technology is a secular religion that promises on earth what religion promised after death. Science will bring about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth we once believed whole heartedly….but Global Warming has brought that utopia into question.
The pleasure must be that of a rich person who can now afford personal servants, so you can stand there and watch your body servant machine lay out your clothes like a king or queen, who by nature must not do physical work. While the Old South had slaves, the new world has machines and now robots. But still the myth remains that we all deserve to be the King and Queen who does not have to labor. At last, I have returned to the Garden where I do not have to labor and sweat. All things are given to me without effort now…goes the myth.
But the new slavery is that I have to slave in a meaningless job to buy all these servants.
Of course, for every movement one way, like the escape from the body (old age, sickness and death) there is a return to the body. tattoos and body piercing is a return to the body, in initiation through pain of reconnecting to the body. Instead of the body being fallen and to be discarded in Christian mythology, the corrupted flesh and nature, the return to the body is ritualized through tattooing. Now the body is a work of art.