We remember how long it took us to see that scrubbing the bathroom floor, taking out the garbage, and dusting the bookcases were not meaningless housework but spiritual tasks which are no less important than doing a film review, reading a book, or writing a blog.

But now prosperous businesses are giving new perks to their employees – including paying for someone to clean their houses for them twice a month. In an article for The New York Times, Matt Richtel also points to a project where the Stanford School of Medicine will be providing doctors with free housecleaning and in-home dinner delivery.

The goals of these benefits are to lessen stress, distractions, and burn-out. Employers, in turn, hope they will improve the recipients' quality of work.

We are opposed to these work policies because they denigrate the spiritual practice of loving and cherishing the place you call home and the objects that need your personal care and attention. The late great observer of life James Hillman was convinced that the upkeep and maintenance of the place where you live should be seen as a high priority item in our lives. In Kinds of Power he writes:

"Low maintenance represents the utterly secular life. No devotion, no ritual attention to anything except at the altar of oneself. So we give all our care and concern to treadmills and vitamins, career and accounting, relationships and therapy."

The result is that we have very little manual contact with our homes and our possessions. This neglect of things is the dark side of our materialism. It's not that we love our beautiful lamps and chairs and silverware too much, it's that we don't love them enough. Pretty soon we'll "lose touch" with them altogether.

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