- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Acorn Community
  2. All-Bran
  3. Almond milk
  4. Alpen
  5. American Vegetarian Party
  6. Amirim
  7. Amy's Kitchen
  8. Animal liberation movement
  9. Animal rights
  10. Animal welfare
  11. Arkangel
  12. Artificial cream
  13. Ayyavazhi
  14. Buddhist cuisine
  15. Catharism
  16. Catholic Vegetarian Society
  17. Cereal
  18. Chreese
  19. Christian Vegetarian Association
  20. Christian vegetarianism
  21. Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre
  22. Coconut milk powder
  23. Cool Whip
  24. Donald Watson
  25. Economic vegetarianism
  26. Environmental benefits of Vegetarianism
  27. Environmental ethics
  28. Ethics of eating meat
  29. Flexitarianism
  30. Food for Life
  31. Free range
  32. Fruit
  33. Fruitarianism
  34. Hardline
  35. Herb
  36. Horchata
  37. Hummus
  38. Indian Vegetarian
  39. International Vegetarian Union
  40. In vitro meat
  41. Jainism
  42. Kokkoh
  43. Korean vegetarian cuisine
  44. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism
  45. List of vegans
  46. Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition
  47. Meat analogue
  48. Movement for Compassionate Living
  49. Natural hygiene
  50. Non-dairy creamer
  51. Nut
  52. Nutritional yeast
  53. Permaculture
  54. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  55. Plant milk
  56. Poi
  57. Raw veganism
  58. Rice milk
  59. Salad bar
  60. Seventh-day Adventist Church
  61. Shahmai Network
  62. Simple living
  63. Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians
  64. Soy milk
  65. Soy protein
  66. Spice
  67. Spiritual practice
  68. Sustainable living
  69. Textured vegetable protein
  70. The Celestine Prophecy
  71. The China Study
  72. The Pitman Vegetarian Hotel
  73. The Vegan Sourcebook
  74. Tofu
  75. Toronto Vegetarian Association
  76. Vegan
  77. Vegan organic gardening
  78. Vegan Society
  79. Vegetable
  80. Vegetarian cuisine
  81. Vegetarian diet
  82. Vegetarianism
  83. Vegetarianism and religion
  84. Vegetarianism in Buddhism
  85. Vegetarianism in specific countries
  86. Vegetarian nutrition
  87. Vegetarian Society
  88. Veggie burger
  89. VegNews
  90. Weetabix
  91. Wheat gluten
  92. World Vegan Day
  93. World Vegetarian Day

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

Simple living

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Simple living (similar but not identical to voluntary simplicity or voluntary poverty) is a lifestyle individuals may pursue for a variety of motivations, such as spirituality, health, or ecology. Others may choose simple living for reasons of social justice or a rejection of consumerism. Some may emphasise an explicit rejection of "westernised values", while others choose to live more simply for reasons of personal taste, a sense of fairness or for personal economy.

Simple living as a concept is distinguished from the simple lifestyles of those living in conditions of poverty in that its proponents are consciously choosing to not focus on wealth directly tied to money or cash-based economics. 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.


From the 2nd millennium BC various Hindu and Buddhist groups in the Eastern world had established a voluntarily simplified spiritual lifestyle. This practice continued with various Abrahamic religious movements in the Middle East and Europe. Abraham, Moses, Gautama Buddha, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Muhammad all practised simple living, and many of their teachings recommend that their followers do likewise. Various notable individuals have claimed that spiritual inspiration led them to a simple living lifestyle, such as Francis of Assisi, Ammon Hennacy and Mahatma Gandhi.

Epicureanism, based on the teachings of the Athens-based philosopher Epicurus, flourished from about the fourth century B.C. to the third century C.E., along with other major philosophical schools such as Stoicism. 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 practised lifestyles where 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 writer, is often considered to have made the classic non-sectarian statement advocating a life of simple and sustainable living in his book Walden (1854).

Of course, countless individuals and families whose names are unknown to literature and history have, by choice or from necessity, lived simple lives of direct self-responsibility.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, a number of fairly prominent modern writers (in English) 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, with less regard for the well being of others.


Although some religious and political movements may encourage such practices, simple living itself is apolitical. There is no basic conflict in living simply and espousing most political theories. 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 individuals may practice capitalism and altruism, rather than consumerism. Also one could be a totalitarian monarch who espouses simple living through sumptuary laws. Although in this case it would contravene voluntary simplicity, as the lifestyle would be compulsory and achieved through enforcement of law rather than individual free will.

Many Green Parties often advocate voluntary simplicity as a consequence of their "four pillars" or the "Ten Key Values" of the United States Green party. This includes in policy terms rejection of genetic modification and nuclear power and other potentially hazardous technologies. The Greens' support for simplicity is based on the reduction in natural resource usage and environmental impact. This concept is expressed in Ernest Callenbach's "green triangle" of ecology, frugality and health.

Many with similar views avoid involvement even with green politics as compromising simplicity, however, and advocate forms of green anarchism that attempt to implement these principles at a smaller scale than through modern nations, e.g. the ecovillage. This view is often allied with a general critique of globalization as industrial capitalism, colonial imperialism, or a neoliberal "neocolonialism." Such a pairing is not universal among practitioners of simple living, however, who may denounce such obsession with worldly affairs as distasteful or unseemly.


Living simply may involve reconsidering what is "appropriate technology", as Anabaptist groups such as the Amish or Mennonites have done. People who eschew modern technology are often referred to as Luddites, after the groups of skilled English hand-loom weavers and croppers who smashed automated looms during the industrial revolution.

People who practice simple living have very different 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, which are the number of miles a given piece of food 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 will make staying at home a much more attractive option.

Advertising is criticised for encouraging a consumerist mentality. Most advocates of voluntary simplicity tend to agree that cutting out, or cutting down, on television viewing is a key ingredient in simple living. Some see the Internet, podcasting, community radio or pirate radio as viable alternatives.

However, high-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. On the other hand, technology can allow communications between communities and provide information on effective simple lifestyles for those who wish to change their lives, and can be run on renewable sources of energy.

Other, non-religious approaches

A reference and starting point for this approach can be found in James Robertson's New Economics and the work of thinkers and activists, who participate in his Working for a Sane Alternative network and program.


  • Walden (1854), Henry David Thoreau, available at wikisource key text in simple living
  • The Value of Voluntary Simplicity (1936) by Richard Gregg; a seminal book on the subject of simplicity, heavily influenced by Gandhi
  • More-With-Less Cookbook (Herald Press, 1976), Doris Janzen Longacre, ISBN 0-8361-1786-7 suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources. Available at []Also available from Mennonite Central Committee are "Extending the Table" (an international cookbook) and "Simply in Season" (A cookbook advocating eating locally produced food in season.)
  • New Age Politics (1979), Mark Satin, ISBN 0-440-55700-3 articulates a politics focused on voluntary simplicity and humanistic psychology; builds on two important Elgin articles from the 1970s
  • Living More With Less (Herald Press, 1980), Doris Janzen Longacre, ISBN 0-8361-1930-4 a pattern of living with less and a wealth of practical suggestions from the worldwide experiences of Mennonites.
  • Voluntary Simplicity (1980), Duane Elgin, ISBN 0-688-12119-5 key text in voluntary simplicity
  • Wealth 101: Getting What You Want-Enjoying What You've Got, Peter McWilliams (1992)
  • Your Money or Your Life (1992), Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin, ISBN 0-14-016715-3 another classic voluntary simplicity text
  • Self-reliant, Tree-based, Autonomous Vegan Villages (Movement for Compassionate Living, 1996), Kathleen Jannaway.
  • Stepping Lightly: Simplicity for People and the Planet, Mark A. Burch (2000), ISBN 0-86571-423-1
  • Affluenza (2002), John de Graaf et al., ISBN 1-57675-199-6 popularized approach to voluntary simplicity
  • "What Should I Do If Reverend Billy is in my Store?" (2003), Bill Talen, ISBN 1-56584-979-5, more recent anti-consumerism, anti-corporate. Talen gives an account of his activism.
  • The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life, Cecile Andrews, ISBN 0-06-092872-7 leading guide for simplicity study circles
  • Nothing's Too Small to Make a Difference, Wanda Urbanska & Frank Levering, ISBN 0-89587-297-8 companion volume to the PBS series Simple Living With Wanda Urbanska
  • Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For, Bruce Elkin, Trafford {2003] [1]
  • "Serve God, Save the Planet" (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2006), J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D., ISBN 1-933392-01-0, religious approach to voluntary simplicity.

See also

  • Anarcho-primitivism
  • Affluenza
  • Christian anarchism
  • Ecotivity
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Hippies
  • Homesteading
  • Intentional living
  • Lovos
  • Meaning of life
  • Religion of Consumerism
  • Sustainable living
  • World Brotherhood Colonies

External links

  • Simple Living Network
  • The Simplicity Resource Guide
  • Simply Living
  • Movement for Compassionate Living
Retrieved from ""