TAOIST MASTER: Lao Tzu

I HAVE been known to publish the odd novel or two; in fact, two, with number three still simmering on the back burner.

The writer who has offered me the most inspiration dates back to around 600 BC – the Taoist Master Lao Tzu. Let’s see what he has to say about Mijas.

He writes, ‘The wise man considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teacher.’

So, what does this have to do with Mijas? Well, in the last couple of weeks it has become clear that neither the mayor, nor the councillor for foreign residents, are in any way in agreement with this suggestion.

Just a couple of weeks ago at the full council meeting, a young lady who represents the women’s Football Team in La Cala asked the councillors for sport and equal opportunities if they thought it was fair that the squad was being excluded from using the municipal pitches to train. The two ladies in question were rescued by the mayor from embarrassing themselves, as he pronounced forcefully: “Do not criticise my councillors.”

Only last week, I had reason to write to the councillor responsible for foreign residents regarding the somewhat erratic treatment received by these residents when they tried to sign onto the voters’ roll. His response, “It is ‘irresponsible’ to criticise council staff!”

I was speechless. These were not problems invented for political advantage but real conversations with real people who had experienced problems.

Apparently, those who point out the flaws in Mijas are their enemies, not their ‘most benevolent teachers’.

I don’t like criticism just for the sake of it. But I was very clear WHAT the problems were and gave the mayor the opportunity to address them but apparently, it was not seen this way.

At a human level, how do we learn and grow if our failings are not pointed out to us? At a business level – and Mijas is a business (we pay for services and they provide them) – it is the noise that comes before a disaster. You are not happy with what your builder does, and you point it out, and he replies, “don’t criticise me!” Are you going to give him any more work? Don’t think so!

Lao Tzu continues his wise words, “He who desires to take the Empire in hand and govern it, I see that he will not succeed. He who holds it by force, loses it.”

When egos, indifference, and winning elections become more important than doing the job you are paid for, something has gone drastically wrong in the democratic system, which is ‘rule by the people’. When the people have their voice silenced because it is ‘criticism’, there is no democracy.

So, what should the mayor have done? According to Lao Tzu, it is very simple: ‘A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realises it. Having realised it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it.’

Is that really so difficult? Apparently, yes.

Staff Reporter

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