Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is It A One Size Fits All World?

Simple living (or voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle in which individuals consciously choose to minimize the 'more-is-better' pursuit of wealth and consumption. Adherents choose simple living for a variety of reasons, including spirituality, health, increase in 'quality time' for family and friends, stress reduction, conservation, social justice or anti-consumerism, while others choose to live more simply for reasons of personal taste or personal economy.

Simple living as a concept is distinguished from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice. Although asceticism may resemble voluntary simplicity, proponents of simple living are not all ascetics. The term "downshifting" is often used to describe the act of moving from a lifestyle of greater consumption towards a lifestyle based on voluntary simplicity.
Different ways of thinking about life...


1)"Read Ishmael" Questions and answers
2) Simple Living Network
3) 72 Ideas for Zen Habits
4) Just about everything you need to know should your world collapse
5) Gaskin's Sustainable Living Or, "The Technicolour Amish"
6) Vanity Fair visits the Gaskins farm


Darla said...

A lot of the simple living ideas make me bristle, because they seem to be centered around growing your own food, living out in the country. I grew up way out in the country, and worked my butt off in the garden and orchard. It was great, I learned a lot about the value of things, but I really do not want to do it again. LOL

But the Zen Habits in the link were very familiar. We chose a less hectic lifestyle than our peers when I decided not to pursue a career. We drive less expensive cars, have a smaller house, don't buy designer clothes, shoes, makeup, perfume, etc. The kids aren't scheduled every minute of the day. But we sit down to dinner together every night, and we don't deprive ourselves of the things we really want: we just don't waste money--or energy!--on keeping up with the Joneses.

I think it makes us a lot happier and less stressed than we'd be otherwise. And I don't think any of us feel deprived.

This was really thought-provoking. Thanks! I need to remind myself occasionally that it was a conscious decision, and that I'm not harming my family by not bringing home a paycheck. :)

I've also put Ishmael on my to-look-for list. I'd never heard of it, but it sounds fascinating.

Candy Minx said...

Hi Darla! You have made an greatobservation...because a lot of the stereotype of "simple living" is that of people going to live like third world countries (the Vanitay Fair article about the Gaskin farm is like that...until they began to invent all kindds of alternative ideas)

A lot of people wonder why I am so down on "the farm life" or totalitarian agriculture...well, like you...I've actually worked ona farm and it is some of the most gruelling jobs I've ever had...and it isn't good for the environment either! (fertilizers, land mass loss for wilderness as quick examples)

But "voluntary simplicity" is a way I've lived for ever...I love the decisions you made that also brought you more time with your family and friends. I liked the "zen habits" list too because it lists spending time with friends as a tao. I think people get stuck in a mindset that always looking for the next purchase or next desire is "life" and they get addicted to say...shopping as an activity of expression...rather than a chore or stepping stone to comfort.

I heard Russell Simmons say, sure he is rich but he can only sit in one chair at a time...

Gardenia said...

Going over to the Zen habits - simple life seems to elude me - folks I live with buy, buy, buy - I'm so flooded with clutter I can't think.....

interesting you say shopping is an activity of expression - 'tis true - although I don't like to shop anymore unless I have to - then hopefully I can find it on the internet first and foremost -

Anonymous said...

I write about voluntary simplicity in my post today at peoplepowergranny.blogspot.com. Vote in my poll on what would help you live a simpler lifestyle.