Talk:Simple living/Archive 2

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Simple Living vs. Voluntary Simplicity

The first sentence of this article says that Simple living is "similar but not identical to voluntary simplicity" but does not enumerate the differences; the rest of the article seems to use the terms interchangably and "Voluntary simplicity" redirects here. This is inconsistent.

Theodore Kaczynski

Must we cite the Unabomber as an example of someone who theorizes about simple living and technology (second para. under "Technology" section)? Isn't that carrying our alienation from the "mainstream" just a BIT too far?

I see your point but disagree, SqueakBox 22:34, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Did Theodore Kaczynski actually practice simple living himself or was he just anti-technology? There is more to simple living than just technology. If he did not practice simple living he would be better suited on the technology article. As far as I am aware, most advocates of simple living follow a non-aggression principle. Terrorism is not synonomous with simplicity. nirvana2013 17:17, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
From the Theodore Kaczynski article: "After resigning his position at Berkeley, he held no permanent employment. He lived a simple life in a remote shack on very little money, occasionally worked odd jobs, and received some financial support from his family." I believe he should be mentioned in the article. Heritage Farmer 23:13, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Kaczynski has little to do with simple living IMO. Living simply is not the same as voluntary simplicity. I agree with Nirvana's comment that he did not practice simple living per se. Sunray 06:24, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we should start another article called Enforced simplicity and put Theodore Kaczynski on that, as he seems to have misunderstood the word "voluntary" in Voluntary simplicity. He is a "fish out of water" on this article. nirvana2013 15:33, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Replaced Theodore Kaczynski with Kirkpatrick Sale, who is a more appropriate technology critic for the article. nirvana2013 22:20, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

... In a society with no social welfare system, this meant that they faced desperate privation — and their fears were realised when automated looms took over and skilled hand-loom weavers and their families endured awful poverty and even death by starvation, thereby justifying their crime.

I'd dispute the neutrality of this section. Whether or not the action was 'justified' is irrelevant.

-- 04:43, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Military-industrial complex

This passage is questionable:

However, hi-tech technologies of all kinds require a complex industrial base and knowledge of physics and materials science, which at the moment are a part of a military-industrial complex, and so may defeat some of the purposes of voluntary simplicity movements

Moving from cars to telecommuting, or moving from air travel to e-communication is such an incredible saving in global resources (and an increase in simplicity of living) that wondering if this helps any 'bad forces' behind new technologies is pointless. Telecommuting, Skype or e-mail are far better than air travel and jet lag. Period. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 7 August 2006.

compact groups

Should groups like "The Compact" be included on this page? They are generating a lot of positive media attention & interest in downshifting/SL lifestyle. -- 19:24, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Shake and bake

Shake and bake? What the hell? 15:04, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

"Does not cite any references or sources" tag

The page this page discusses is markes as "without sources", but I see a lot of sources there. Can anybody explain why the page is so marked? The tag should be removed! User:kjetil1001

I agree, it does not do Wikipedia much good for these tags to hang around indefinately. nirvana2013 09:37, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Property, stocks and bonds

I'm having some trouble coming to terms with the sentence "One could, for example, practice intense capitalism yet still live simply, because capital can be generated via investments (property, stocks and bonds, for example) that do not, in a strict sense, entail consumption." These things, do, in a strict sense, entail consumption. Who would claim you can be a slum lord, raking in money from college-aged tenants while refusing to fix the plumbing and also practice simple living? Can your money come from, say, Monsanto's ability to genetically modify corn, eat Non-GMO in your private life, and still claim to be an adherent? And in any case, there is a difference between refusing to hold down a job and practicing simple living. Please weigh in if you care, or I'll go ahead and delete this sentence, since it's really just a loophole for misunderstanding and criticism. 10:32, 28 June 2007 (UTC)Envirocorrector


I just did a fairly serious re-working of the intro. I changed the first sentence into something like a definition of simple living. I also eliminated a couple things. The rejection of wester culture is gone because I see it as very similar to the rejection of consumerism, the only part of western culture most of us really want to reject (after all, this article cites a whole bunch of prominent members of western culture from Jesus to Thoreau). I also got rid of a phrase about fairness, which seems very like social justice. Anyway... just so y'all know what I was shooting for. Envirocorrector 10:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Ah, much better. I was thinking about the distinction between SL and poverty. It seems to me that SL is often very similar to voluntary poverty [1] Sunray 21:56, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! You know, this is the first time somebody said they actually liked a change I made. Envirocorrector 22:10, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Um, well... welcome to Wikipedia! It's true that we don't recognize each other's work nearly enough. Sunray 00:07, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Edited talk

I understand this may be controversial, but I just deleted a short part of this talk page in which one editor slandered a major world religion and an adherent felt compelled to defend his/her faith by calling the editor ignorant. It's deletable both because you can't be blatantly offesive on talk pages and because talk pages aren't a place for authors to express their personal views. Envirocorrector 09:40, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Anti-consumerism box

A couple of months ago, someone added an "Anti-consumerism box" to the article without explanation as to why. Looking at the links it contains, many seem to be only tenuously linked to Simple living. And I can think of many things that I would consider more closely related to simple living that are not there. I'm removing the box, but am open to discussing it if someone believes that it should be there and can explain why. Sunray 19:54, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree it is not needed. Anyone feel like creating a simple living box? There is certainly enough content (see Category:Simple living). nirvana2013 11:25, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Great idea! Sunray 17:36, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Voluntary Simplicity

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and other conditions. It means singleness of purpose,sincerity and honesty within,as well as avoidance of exterior clutter,of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate of organization of life for a purpose."- Richard B. Gregg What more need be explained ? Determine your life's purpose and take the appropriate action to achieve it. 01:18, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Needs to be more thorough

The article as it stands lacks a thorough enumeration of people's motives for choosing to live simply - some of them seemingly in opposition with those mentioned. Motives for living simply voluntarily vary with each adherent and, contrary to some opinions here, can and do include personal financial goals. To suggest that such motives are invalid and preclude their inclusion under the broad umbrella of the VS movement because they don't "fit in" with certain ideas of what the movement "should" be about is to deny the possibility that the effects of those choices are at least as beneficial to humanity or the environment as those of more "conscious" motives and choices. Simple living is as much about the personal as about the universal. (talk) 12:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


So being frugal is a "feminine" thing? How stupid is that? Gender baiting, plain and simple. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Apolitical? Maybe but what about the social movement/campaign side?

I would argue that simple living in recent years has grown into a new social movement. This article describes simple living as a lifestyle choice, which it is, but I think there should be some information of current efforts, campaigns, nonprofits, NGOs, etc., especially on National Downshifting Week's public awareness efforts and growing momentum. The politics section seems to contradict itself by defining simple living as apolitical. Any thoughts? Psynought (talk) 22:24, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

My experiments in simple living


I would like to add my efforts in living simply. Previously I had tried to incorporate that link but one user Themfromspace continued vandalism and removed it quite number of times. This user is a young student and may be not have enough maturity to understand what I am trying to share with the readers.

Suggestions and recommendations are most welcome. (talk) 12:15, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

1. My edits were not vandalism, they were good-faith attempts to uphold our standards for external links. 2. Arguing that I'm only a student isn't acceptable on Wikipedia. Age doesn't matter here. There are admins here that are still in high school. 3. External links don't advocate any biases, they present material that the article is unable to present because of copyright infringement. They also include any official links to the article's subject. As this subject is a concept, there aren't any official links. ThemFromSpace 15:14, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Again it shows your immaturity. What I have written in my article is what I practise and not a concept. Please grow up. I will have to report your vandalism to editors. (talk) 02:01, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

By now, two different 59.95.* IPs as well as have added a link to to the article, without getting agreement on the Talk page that the link is appropriate. The 218 IP has also had the chutzpah to complain at WP:EAR about the removal of his link! If the link continues to be added the next step will be to semiprotect the article to disallow all IP contributions. The case is also being discussed at WP:COIN#Simple living external link. The usage of multiple IPs by what is probably the same person may be a violation of WP:SOCK. I urge this editor to choose a single account and to follow our policies. EdJohnston (talk) 17:21, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Simple Living Edits: Practice —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tallnsweet198 (talkcontribs) 02:57, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Some people practice voluntary simplicity to reduce need for purchased goods or services and, by extension, reduce their need to sell their time for money. Some will spend the extra free time helping family or volunteering with others. During the holiday season, such people often perform alternative giving. Visiting neighbors with brownies; spreading a little holiday cheer at churches, nursing homes and schools, are some of the ways to give quality time to others during the holiday. Others may spend the extra free time to improve their quality of life, for example pursuing creative activities such as art and crafts (see starving artist), learning how to play an instrument, or home improvement.The philosophy behind these choices is examined at length in Ernest Callenbach's 1972 non-fiction book Living Poor with Style, which also devotes hundreds of pages to practical tips and how-to guides for both voluntary and involuntary practitioners of simple living. Callenbach stated his main purpose for writing the book was to help others realize “money is not everything. It's more important to live in a way that makes sense to you and figure out how to do it with less money.”(Brodsky). More money does not solve problems so making the best out of the resources available is a major aspect of this book. As quoted by the great Henry David Thoreau, “A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.” (Durning 150). By accepting to live sufficiently rather than excessively, home is found in the basic human nature. Once those needs are met, societal influences deem more food, clothes, and shelter is what is needed.

Another approach is to focus more fundamentally on the underlying motivation of buying and consuming so many resources for a good quality of life.[8] Though our society often seeks to buy happiness, materialism very frequently fails to satisfy, and may even increase the level of stress in life. With more money and more material things, bills are going to be higher and debt may increase. Over the decade, “personal debt matched national debt in soaring new heights.” (Durning 33). Credit card usage has increased tremendously because of societal pressures to buy the newest commodity. Marketing companies are reaping the benefits from excellent persuasion tactics and the ‘buy now, pay later’ philosophy credit card companies promote. With all those new possessions, security measures, such as buglar alarm systems or security networks, are put into place which Americans “spent more on…than they paid through taxes for public polices.” (Durning 33). Practicing of anti-consumerism will avoid the slums of being in debt for frivolous accessories which are not needed to have a productive and fruitful life. Once the basic physical needs of an individual have been met, money plays little role in happiness and well-being. In Tim Kasser’s book, “The High Price of Materialism”, he argues that there is a high psychological cause for putting value on materialistic things. Those feelings have stemmed from societies pressure to continue a high consumer life-style. “People who strongly value the pursuit of wealth and possessions report lower psychological well-being than those who are less concerned with such aims” ( Kasser 5). Anti-Consumerists have realized that happiness can be found in more meaningful things. Material wealth is not sufficient in fulfilling emptiness. Higher levels of depression and anxiety have been proven in people who value financial success over other aspects of life. (Kasser 7). Those results support the idea that materialism is unhealthy. Less focus in school, on the job, during extracurricular activities and behavior disorders such as vandalizing were patterns revealed in young adults who centered aspirations around being rich. It has been said that "the making of money and the accumulation of things should not smother the purity of the soul, the life of the mind, the cohesion of the family, or the good of the society." Often times the more material possessions available, shifts in original attitude and behavior occur. Families may fall apart and excessive spending may lead one towards drugs or other avenues that harm bodies. [9] The 'grassroots' awareness campaign, National Downshifting Week (UK) [1] (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". In most cases, an increase in money means more work hours and more hours at a job will naturally increase stress and liquefy family bonds. People who focus on materialistic goals do so at the “expense” of others. “Materialistic values ‘crowd out’ meaningful pursuits.” ( Kasser 62). The time spent consuming goods is often neglectful of family and community. Many parents feel guilty about working long hours and how it impacts their children. They express their love and alleviate guilt by buying gifts for their children, therefore adding more fuel to the materialistic fire. (Kesser 63). The “love” that material things bring, encompasses children minds and leads them to a life of high consumption in search of “love”. Practicing anti-consumerism will leave countless hours for parents to instill the correct morals and show true love to children. Empty searching for love in all the wrong products and technologies will be eliminated. National Downshifting Week encourages participants to 'Slow Down and Green Up' and contains a list of suggestions for individuals, companies, children and schools to help adopt green or eco-friendly policies and habits, develop corporate social and environmental responsibility in the workplace, and create eco-protocols and lessons that work alongside the national curriculum, respectively. The net result of the slow down benefits the general health and well being of the individual, reduces their stress, can improve their personal and sexual relationships too and also benefit their local and global environments. Another practice is the adoption of a simplified diet. Diets that may simplify domestic food production and consumption include raw veganism and the Gandhi diet. Diets can be impacted healthfully if the increase in money will allow purchasing of more fruits and vegetables and healthy dinning options. Diets can be impacted negatively if the increase in income leads to increased delivery orders or fast food restaurants due to less time to cook healthy and delicious meals at home. By practicing anti-consumerism and simplifying diets, chances of becoming overweight and acquiring chronic illness will be reduced. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Another practice is increasing spirituality and tuning up mind, body, and soul. Without the stresses of attaining satisfaction with material things, an increase in spiritual being can give a brighter outlook on life and the world. Church gatherings, inspirational music and exercises such as Yoga are simple ways to practice spirituality. Consumerism increased greatly due to politics and economists. “The ‘democratization of consumption’ became the unspoken goal of American economic policy”( Durning 29-30). Companies knew that once the natural need of food and clothes were met, there would be mass amounts of products left unsold. That would create a serious problem in the economy so over buying and mass consumption was then elevated to the status of being patriotic. If there is love for your country, the smallest devotion one can make is by purchasing more goods. Practicing anti-consumerism will go against the persuasion of economist and decrease the effect politics have on personal income. Since our economy is based on a consumer life-style, low consumption levels would disrupt the structure of that life-style. Many job changes, dislocations of people and community, and transformation of corporations would occur because practicing buying low levels of goods will eliminate the productively needed. In defense of low consumption, continuing high consumption levels will “pillage and poison the earth [and] guarantee not only the same misfortunes but worse” (Durning 107). Regardless of the argument against practicing anti-consumerism, the environment and inhabitants will suffer more if the rage of consuming continues. Pollution to the economy will decrease the amount of raw goods available to be manufactured, due to damage of natural resources. Shifting to a low-consumption economy will make that economy one of permanence. Many consumers have not realized the impact that high consumption has on the environment. Practicing anti-consumerism is environmentally viable. Over the years, more technologically advanced equipment has shown appearance in our homes. “air conditioning—which relies on ozone-depleting coolants—was standard in homes , using 13% of U.S. electricity.” ( Durning 32). Not only is consuming all these goods harmful to wallets, they also damage the environment. Forest will die from pollution, acid rain, and shifts in climate. Practicing anti-consumerism is a process of change. Just like changing eating, exercising, or sleeping habits, those are a result in becoming aware of effects on both physical and emotional well-being. (Kesser 101). Since materialism has been involved with shaping our value system, it is something that has been used to measure self-worth and competence. Therefore never granting complete satisfaction for fear that more is still able to be obtained. A moral lesson of anti-consumerism is contemplating motives of buying habits. Is the true reason money is spent because higher fame or status is wanted? Is a search for self-esteem a goal? Building stronger relationships with people or activities will be able to fill those voids.

References Brodsky, Bart. “Ernest Callenbach Interview”. OPEN EXCHANGE. Vol. 21. Archives. May 1994 Durning, Alan. How much is enough? New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992 Kasser, Tim. The High Price of Materialism. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2002

Tallnsweet198 (talk) 02:55, 10 April 2009 (UTC)tallnsweet198

Major Article Trimming

Over 4K of text was removed without any form of discussion. The external references help fill the depth of the topic. The logic why some were kept and most were deleted is not clear to me. I would prefer to undo these edits. Further discussions are invited.

06:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC) 16:06, 24 June 2009 RepublicanJacobite (19,236 bytes) (→Notes and references: ---Edit further reading list; removed commentary; alphabetize by author's name; remove titles used as refs.) 15:32, 24 June 2009 RepublicanJacobite (23,132 bytes) (Moved and edited see also list.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Frankk74 (talkcontribs)

Reviewing the edits, it appears that RJ was removing external links that do not meet the guidelines, as well as trimming links and notes that were already present as references. (We don't "double-link".) As such, reverting does not appear to be necessary. --Ckatzchatspy 06:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Section: Practice

The "Practice" section needs POV and how-to clean up. "Though our society often seeks to buy happiness, materialism very frequently fails to satisfy" "We grow them in wide mouthed mason jars with a square of nylon window screen screwed under a metal ring"

EMSM (talk) 18:06, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

no criticism?

There is no criticism on this idea? No words on the 'miserabilism' of it, or the anti-scientific anti-technic feels thing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:51, 21 November 2010 (UTC)


Can this quote be added to article ?:

[1] (talk) 07:15, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

I have added a paragraph here. Nirvana2013 (talk) 12:53, 24 March 2011 (UTC)