happiness,  health,  simple living,  social responsibility,  voluntary simplicity,  want to life

Voluntary Simplicity – a philosophical review

The Moral and Ethical Weight of Voluntary Simplicity

By resisting the consumerist impulses to needlessly upgrade and acquire, many of us can save ourselves from financial stress due to over-commitment and debt, while simultaneously freeing up time and money we can spend on non-material pleasures such as time with friends and family, as well as in pursuit of personal passions, projects, and goals.

Samuel Alexander and Jacob Garrett recently published a new report for the Simplicity Institute. (Download it HERE.) As a longtime adherent of simple living, I found their philosophical discussion enlightening. I chose voluntary simplicity because it makes life easier and more pleasant. Living simply reduces the amount of stuff that needs to be looked after and protected. Living simply reduces expenditures on housing and transportation to a lower portion of my disposable income. Living simply has allowed me to devote the majority of my time to reading, writing, making art, gardening, and teaching, all lifelong passions, without waiting for my retirement years. Living simply means living happily. Living simply makes my Want To Life possible.

. . . figures as diverse as the Buddha, Diogenes, the Stoics, Jesus, Thoreau, and Gandhi . . . would argue in their own way that many people could increase their happiness by giving up materialistic lifestyles and embracing lifestyles of voluntary simplicity.

The following resources may interest you if you aren’t familiar with voluntary simplicity:

Despite the apparent coherency of voluntary simplicity as an appropriate response to planetary and social crises, the social movement or subculture of voluntary simplicity remains marginal.

Watch the documentary: A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

(Approximately 1:20 in length)