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Does Voluntary Simplicity Prescribe Universal Rules by which to Live?

Any discussion of the practice of simplicity ought to begin by acknowledging that there is not one way to live simply. There is no Doctrine or Code of Simplicity to follow, as such; there is no Method or Equation of Simplicity into which we can plug the facts of our lives and be told how to live. That is precisely what the idea cannot do. Voluntary simplicity, it could be said, is more about questions than answers, in the sense that practising simplicity calls for creative interpretation and personalized application. It is not for ‘experts,’ therefore, or for anyone, to prescribe universal rules on how to live simply.

We each live unique lives and we each find ourselves in different situations, with different capabilities, and different responsibilities. Accordingly, the practice of simplicity by one person, in one situation, may very well involve different things to a different person, in a different situation. Furthermore, simple living is not so much a destination as it is an ongoing creative process. But, as I have implied, I do not think that this practical indeterminacy is an objection to the idea.

With that non-universalist disclaimer noted, a few general remarks will now be made on what a simple life might look like in practice and how one might begin to live it. Please feel free to add comments or questions, as this is certainly a subject where sharing information and insights will be of the highest value.

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