There is a certain commercialism in some aspects of the Western world-view, extending into religion and art as well as home life and the business of making a living, where it is to be expected.
One result is that where an action done, or a mere existence, leads to no quantifiable result in human terms, it tends to be written off as entirely futile.
There is another view in the East (strongly subscribed to though not necessarily carried out in practise), in which an action rightly performed, or a true existence (as distinct from an imitation), has a sufficient value in itself. It may lose much of that value by being mixed up with ideas of results.
This view is expressed in the Gita verse:
Let your concern be with right action,
Never with getting its fruits;
Let not desire for fruits be your motive,
But do not be attached to inaction.
Some Westerners believe that without a desire for some subsequent result, an action will be done unenthusiastically or even carelessly. If results do not matter, then the cleaner will leave spots and smears on the floor; the results do not matter, so why clean well? One reply to this is that in that case the action has not in fact been done. If the floor is not clean, it has not in fact been done. If the floor is not clean, it has not been cleaned. One who has to be motivated by expectation of results, whether rewards, appreciation, or fear, is called a man of Rajas or passion-struggle, and Rajas always leads to pain in the end.
A famous expression of that pain is the gentle melancholy of Gray’s verse:
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Baudelaire adapted, and perhaps enriched, the last two lines; but the idea is the same sadness and futility:
Mainte fleur épanche à regret
Son parfum doux comme un secret
Dans les solitudes profondes.
And many a rueful flower must waste
Its sweet perfume, as a secret
On deserts no man ever trod.
The whole feeling is transformed into peace by the Japanese verse on the same theme:
Not for the sake of a beholder,
In the deep mountains
Blossoms the cherry
Out of the sincerity of its heart.