This is the title of a short discussion course by the Northwest Earth Institute I recently got to participate in with some college students. Even if you can’t participate in a discussion group at some point, I highly recommend the reading materials for Voluntary Simplicity (which you can order off their website). I can’t think of a better way to express the things I’ve learned from this course than offering a few quotes from the book to speak for themselves.
Chapter 1: The Meaning of Simplicity
“Simple living is about making deliberately thoughtful choices. The difference is that you are fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully.”
“Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.” Simone de Beauvoir
Chapter 2: Living More With Less
“Americans today [compared to the 1950’s] own about twice as many cars per person, eat out more than twice as often, and commonly enjoy big screen color TVs, microwave ovens, home computers, air conditioning, Post-it notes, and gobs of other goodies. Materially, these are the best of times. … Since 1957, the number of Americans who say they are ‘very happy’ has declined slightly, from 35 to 30 percent. We are twice as rich and no happier. Meanwhile, the divorce rate has doubled, the teen suicide rate has more than doubled, and increasingly our teens and young adults are plagued by depression. … We were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose.”
To be continued…