Thursday, January 03, 2008

Simple Living According To Wikipedia

I am from time to time amazed by the fact that some folks read blogs they don't like. I never seek out a book that is against my core philosophy in life. I don't watch movies that endorse things I cannot in good conscience support. I am in favor of a good discussion with someone with a different point of view but only with the intent of learning.
When I was a child, we had a woman down the street named Mrs Higgins. As a child she frightened me for a couple of reasons, the first one was that she had purple lips. I imagine she had a serious heart condition and its no wonder in view of her approach to life. The second reason I was afraid of her was exactly that, her approach to life. She stood at her window or at her door looking for someone to yell at. She made sure no one touched her hedges, even brushed up against them as they walked past on the sidewalk. She made certain no child ever walked on her curb and the street it seemed to her, was her property too. She yelled at adults as well as children. Always looking out for something to happen, someone to yell at. Adults never said anything back to her in fear she would die of a heart attack and children in those days never spoke back to an adult, even if they did seem like the wicked witch of the west. One day, I dropped a saltine cracker on the street by her house and then I stepped on it. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I had been playing with the child that lived across the street from Mrs Higgins. She was of course watching out the window, came running outside, screaming at me for messing up the street by dropping and then stepping on the cracker. I couldn't speak, I was terrified.
Mrs Higgins then did a very mean thing, she grabbed the sleeve of saltines I had in my hands, crushed them and poured them down my back. A very mean thing and a very frightening thing. Needless to say, you could not pay me enough to walk past her house ever again.
She always reminded me of what is says about Satan in the first chapter of Job,
"And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. " I always figured he was looking everywhere he could to stir up a bit of trouble.
My point in the story. . . some folks seem to look for things to disagree with, go places they hate, visit blogs they disagree with and stand in the window of life, on the look out for things to make them mad. Why ? Bitterness I suppose, deep unhappiness within, certainly not a heart filled with mercy, patience, grace and forbearance.
This blog is about simple living, it says that right on the blog. It is about my search for living simpley in a complex world. Its about my commitment to it living simply and my willingness to share how I feel. I can only give the benefit of the doubt to a commenter today, that perhaps this person does not understand what simple living is about. What my blog is about. I will not use my own words to explain, so there is no misunderstanding by this first commenter on my post about contentment of living simply, but I will use the definition found in Wikipedia....

Simple living
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Simple living (or voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle in which individuals consciously choose to minimize the 'more-is-better' pursuit of wealth and consumption. Adherents choose simple living for a variety of reasons, including spirituality, health, increase in 'quality time' for family and friends, stress reduction, conservation, social justice or anti-consumerism, while others choose to live more simply for reasons of personal taste or personal economy.
Simple living as a concept is distinguished from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice. Although asceticism may resemble voluntary simplicity, proponents of simple living are not all ascetics. The term "downshifting" is often used to describe the act of moving from a lifestyle of greater consumption towards a lifestyle based on voluntary simplicity.]
The recorded history of voluntary simplicity, often associated with asceticism, begins with the Shramana traditions of Iron Age India. In the Near East, John the Baptist is an early ascetic. Various notable individuals have claimed that spiritual inspiration led them to a simple living lifestyle, such as Francis of Assisi, Ammon Hennacy, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi.
Epicureanism, based on the teachings of the Athens-based philosopher Epicurus, flourished from about the fourth century BC to the third century AD. Epicureanism upheld the untroubled life as the paradigm of happiness, made possible by carefully considered choices and avoidances. Specifically, Epicurus pointed out that troubles entailed by maintaining an extravagant lifestyle tend to outweigh the pleasure of partaking in it. He therefore concluded that what is necessary for happiness, bodily comfort, and life itself should be maintained at minimal cost, while all things beyond what is necessary for these should either be tempered by moderation or completely avoided.
In North America, religious groups including the Shakers, Mennonites, Amish, and some Quakers have for centuries practiced lifestyles in which some forms of wealth or technology are excluded for religious or philosophical reasons. For more information about Quaker simplicity see Testimony of Simplicity.
Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist, utopian and author, is often considered to have made the classic non-sectarian statement advocating a life of simple and sustainable living in his book Walden (1854).
In Victorian Britain, Henry Stephens Salt, an admirer of Thoreau, popularised the idea of "Simplification, the saner method of living" (quoted in Peter C. Gould, "Early Green Politics", Pg.22). Other British advocates of the simple life included Edward Carpenter, William Morris and the members of "The Fellowship of the New Life" (Gould,pg.27-8).
George Lorenzo Noyes, a naturalist, mineralogist, development critic, writer and artist, is known as the thoreauvian of Maine. He lived a wilderness lifestyle, advocating through his creative work a simple life of sustainable living and his spiritual reverence for nature.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, a number of fairly prominent modern authors articulated both the theory and practice of lifestyles of this sort, among them Gandhian Richard Gregg, economists Ralph Borsodi and Scott Nearing, anthropologist-poet Gary Snyder, and utopian fiction writer Ernest Callenbach. Richard Gregg wrote a book entitled The Value of Voluntary Simplicity (1936) and many decades later Duane Elgin wrote the highly influential book Voluntary Simplicity (1981). There are eco-anarchist groups in the United States and Canada today promoting lifestyles of simplicity. In the United Kingdom, the Movement for Compassionate Living was formed by Kathleen and Jack Jannaway in 1984, to spread the vegan message and promote simple living and self-reliance as a remedy against the exploitation of humans, animals, and the Earth.
Some people who practice voluntary simplicity act consciously to reduce their need for purchased services or goods and, by extension, their need to sell their time for money. Some will spend the extra free time this generates helping their family or others in a voluntary way. During the holiday season, such people often perform alternative giving. Others may spend the extra free time to improve their own quality of life, for example pursuing creative activities such as art and craft.
Another approach is to look very fundamentally at the whole issue of why we need to buy and consume too many resources for a good quality of life[1]
The 'grassroots' awareness campaign, National Downshifting Week (UK) [2] (founded 1995) encourages participants to positively embrace living with less. Campaign creator, British writer and broadcaster on downshifting and sustainable living, Tracey Smith says, "The more money you spend, the more time you have to be out there earning it and the less time you have to spend with the ones you love". National Downshifting Week encourages participants to 'Slow Down and Green Up' and contains a list of suggestions for Individials, Companies and Children and Schools to help them lean towards the green, develop corporate social responsibility in the workplace and create eco-protocols and policies that work alongside the national curriculum, respectively.
Living simply may involve reconsidering personal definitions of "appropriate technology", as Anabaptist groups such as the Amish or Mennonites have done. People who eschew modern technology are often referred to as Luddites.
People who practice simple living have diverse views on the role of technology. Some simple living adherents, such as Kirkpatrick Sale, are strong critics of technology, while others see the Internet as a key component of simple living in the future, including the reduction of an individual's carbon footprint through telecommuting and less reliance on paper. Voluntary simplicity may include high-tech components — indeed computers, Internet, photovoltaic arrays, wind and water turbines, and a variety of other cutting-edge technologies can be used to make a simple lifestyle within mainstream culture easier and more sustainable.
The idea of food miles, the number of miles a given item of food, or its ingredients, has travelled between the farm and the table, is used by simple living advocates to argue for locally grown food, and this idea is gaining mainstream acceptance. Some argue that computers and the Internet will allow people to do things they needed a car to do before, such as work or shopping, while video games and movies will make staying at home a much more attractive option.
Advertising is criticised for encouraging a consumerist mentality. Many advocates of voluntary simplicity tend to agree that cutting out, or cutting down, on television viewing is a key ingredient in simple living.


Cathy said...

Thank you for handeling this with such grace. You are such a dear.
I have only found your blog a few weeks ago and just LOVE it. I love what it's about.
Give this burden of a negative comment to the Lord my friend...let Him have the burden.
Love to you,

Tracey said...

Hi Patty,

Lovely to see you are so enamoured by the simple life too and thank you for mentioning National Downshifting Week. I'm delighted to say simple, green living is gaining interest on a worldwide level and this is great news for the individuals concerned and also for our local and global environments too.

Anyway, wittering on!

Sending you my best wishes for your uncomplicated journey!

Tracey Smith
Sustainable Living

Renie Burghardt said...

Well said about Simple Living! But in a world that revolves around consumerism, hard to do. Well, when you're older, it gets easier, because you have learned what makes you happy and joyful, and no longer care about having the best looking car, the newest fashions, etc. For me, the simple hings in life are what mean the most. The love of my family and friends, my love of nature and animals, are all simple but joyful pleasures.

Oh, I didn't mean to go off on a long rant here. Your blog entry just got me started. Thank you. I enjoyed visiting with you.



Kim said...

Oh...this is heavy stuff you all are discussing. I have nothing to add to the discussion today...I really just want to say that I found the photo of the basket of eggs to be beautiful and peaceful. A simple pleasure. Thank you.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...