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Currently Browsing: Justifying Simplicity

Stepping Lightly on the Planet

As well as personal, communitarian, and humanitarian reasons for living simply, there are, of course, also environmental reasons. It has long been recognized that consumption and ecological impact are correlated,[1] and from this correlation it follows that reducing consumption can be an effective means for reducing ecological impact. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that simpler living, in the... read more

The Humanitarian Case for Living Simply

Although there are indeed many personal and communitarian incentives for adopting voluntary simplicity, it would be an impoverished ethics that sought to justify itself solely in relation to personal or community self-interest. For that reason, it is important to recognize that there are also broader humanitarian reasons for adopting voluntary simplicity.[1] In a world where extreme poverty exists amidst... read more

Voluntary Simplicity, Community, and the Social Good

There are also social or communitarian incentives for embracing a life of voluntary simplicity.[1] For example, when an individual embraces voluntary simplicity by working less, this may well benefit the individual (e.g. by creating more leisure and reducing stress). But those individual benefits will often have flow on effects that benefit others too, such as creating more time and energy for family and... read more

Living Simply as a Path to Genuine Wealth

Money provides power in the market – power to purchase and consume desired commodities, whether goods or services. Consumption, by satisfying market preferences, is supposed to lead to well-being. In essence, this is the economic foundation of consumer culture.[1] Its fundamental prescription is that people should seek well-being in higher incomes and more consumption.[2] The problem, however, as Juliet... read more

Step Out of the Rush…

Here is a wonderful story that has been floating around in cyberspace. THE SITUATION In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a... read more

Take Back Your Time Day: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty

In a few days – on 24 October – a growing number of people will acknowledge, ‘Take Back Your Time Day,’ an initiative established in 2001 by world leaders in the Voluntary Simplicity Movement, most notably, John de Graaf. This initiative falls on 24 October because that is the day many North Americans and Australians would finish work for the year if they worked the same hours per year as the... read more

Audio Lecture on Voluntary Simplicity

Dear Simplicity Collective, Just a short note to bring your attention to a free, audio lecture by leading ‘simple living’ advocate, Mark Burch, which is available for download here. It is an insightful and eloquent overview of the idea of voluntary simplicity, particularly useful because of the thoughtful questions posed by members of audience at the end of the lecture, to which Mark responds.... read more

A Brief History of Voluntary Simplicity

The celebration of the simple life is about as old as human history itself; so too are warnings about the dangers of greed and materialism. The story could begin with Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha – who at the age of 29 gave up the superficial luxuries of a royal existence to seek spiritual truth in a life of extreme asceticism. After nearly starving himself to death through his practice of... read more

What Does the Simple Life Mean to You?

Here is an opportunity to share your ideas, perspectives, and insights on simplicity of living. One of the paradoxes of ‘simple living’ is that it is complex. Nobody has all the answers. The simple life is not so much a destination as it is an on-going creative process, and one way to creatively explore your own understanding of simplicity is to put it into words. What does the simple life mean... read more

The Social Significance of Voluntary Simplicity – Sustainability Week Presentation

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY Samuel Alexander (Speech made for Sustainability Week, Melbourne University, 22nd March 2010) Hello everyone, good to be with you today to recognize and celebrate Sustainability Week. What strikes me most about Sustainability Week is how bluntly it reminds us what the other 51... read more
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