Interested in really living simply?

March 1, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More

Check out the Simple Living Network, a non-profit website (absolutely no commercials) that provides lots of information on how to pare down your material excesses.  The site is run entirely by volunteers, who sincerely try to practice what they preach.  Here’s the basic approach, as indicated on the home page:

[I]f you believe the world would be a better place if we all took a little more responsibility for what we consume and how we live our lives, then the path to simple living is probably one you will enjoy following. You’ll find many kindred spirits here!

What is voluntary simplicity? 

The essence of voluntary simplicity is living in a way what is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale, and an intention to realize our higher human potential — both psychological and spiritual — in community with others. The driving forces behind voluntary simplicity range from acutely personal concerns to critical national problems. The appeal of simple living appears to be extraordinarily widespread, even gathering sympathy from among those who are not presently attempting to simplify their own life patterns. Voluntary simplicity is important because it may foreshadow a major transformation in the goals and values of the United States in the coming decades. Although a social movement still in its early stages, its practical and ethical positions seem well enough developed to permit useful analysis of this way of life.

After noticing this site, I couldn’t help but compare it to the many faux-simple living resources out there, such as the glitzy non-simple magazine, Real Simple.

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Category: American Culture, Consumerism, Culture

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    "Voluntary simplicity is important because it may foreshadow a major transformation in the goals and values of the United States in the coming decades."

    Not just in the U.S., but the rest of the world. As the human race exhausts the finite resources of our planet — something that seems likely to happen in this century — virtually everyone in the developed world will face a decision: how much conspicuous consumption is needed to satisfy our egos. The problem (for our planet and our species) is that conspicuous consumption is deeply embedded in our psyches, because it satisfies a wide range of ego desires, from hoped-for sexual attractiveness to professional achievement. As long as it is perceived as playing even a small role in sexual selection or career advancement, it is likely to persist…or perhaps even grow worse as resources become scarcer and therefore become an even more "important" and reliable signal of fitness.

    It will be interesting to see how our species responds to this problem, assuming we survive long enough for it to reach crisis dimensions.

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