Feb 17, 2012
I’m pleased and excited to announce the launch of the latest initiative of the Simplicity Institute – The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less.
The Simpler Way, created in collaboration with Ted Trainer, consists of a website and booklet which provide detailed practical advice on how to live a ‘simpler life’ of reduced and restrained consumption. More...
Feb 13, 2012
Tim Kasser is a psychologist that has spent many years researching into the effects of materialistic values and practices on human wellbeing. I highly recommend his excellent book, “The High Price of Materialism,” but for those who only have five minutes to spare, many of the key insights of that text are summarised in a new educational video Kasser has made. It’s only five minutes long,...
Feb 2, 2012
I’ve turned my last post ‘Self-Cultivation and the Art of Voluntary Simplicity’ into an essay, which itself is based on the rather-too-long manuscript I posted a few months ago, called ‘Voluntary Simplicity as an Aesthetics of Existence.’ I hope this much abridged essay might be less daunting, despite the fact that it is framed by Foucault’s ethics. I’ve posted the...
Jan 22, 2012
Consumption is a proper subject of ethical concern primarily for the following three reasons: (1) the planet’s resources are being consumed at an unsustainable rate, and this is placing in jeopardy the future of life as we know it, with potentially catastrophic consequences; (2) a small percentage of the world’s population live in relative comfort and luxury while great multitudes live in material...
Oct 6, 2011
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve drafted a new paper on voluntary simplicity. It’s a bit more philosophical than my recent writing (and it’s rather long) but I hope that the title might tempt some of you to take a look. In a sentence, the argument I make is that living simply in a consumer society is an intensely creative challenge, one that is similar to the creative challenge of...
Aug 17, 2011
Economic growth is the secular religion of advancing industrial nations. – Daniel Bell
In December 2009 I addressed the Parliament of the World’s Religions on the subject of the spiritual significance of voluntary simplicity. I would never hold myself out as an authority on this matter, I hasten to add – it seems to me a rather too personal subject for there to be ‘experts,’...
May 8, 2011
Let me define a machine very broadly as something incapable of thought that reacts predictably to a given stimulus. Take a vending machine, for example. Someone puts money in, pushes certain buttons, and without thinking about it, the machine distributes the goods selected.
Now imagine another type of machine – a robot. Suppose every time this robot has an opportunity to acquire money it does so and then...
Mar 21, 2011
If you’d excuse the rather confronting title, I’d like to invite you to undertake what I call the ‘Deathbed Experiment.’ It’s simple and goes like this:
Imagine you are on your deathbed and someone asks you: “What attitudes defined your life?” What would you want to be able to say?
This thought experiment never fails to move me in some way, and I always feel that it moves me in the right...