Richard Gregg paraphrasing a teaching of Mahatma Gandhi (1936)
About 5-ish years ago we decided to get local with our food and as many other purchases as we could. It has been an interesting ride. Voluntary Simplicity seemed easy in relation to these two choices. (click here to read other posts, voluntary simplicity, )
But what is Voluntary Simplicity? Voluntary of course means that there is a choice about lifestyle. It means there is a conscious attempt to make a change. Simplicity is a testimony for Quakers and other groups. There are a gazillion responses to this query. I think what it boils down to is to live below your means, to be involved with local community, to be aware, to give, to avoid waste in as many ways as possible, to be resilient.
Elgin participated in the "Voluntary Simplicity Survey" I don't know about it's statistical validity. It seems sound, but then who knows with statistics. What is interesting is that voluntary simplicity is rarely a path chosen by those who began life in poverty, who are from a non-white background,or have slightly lower than middle incomes. It also shows that this path is across geographies, largely urban, involves people with higher education (it doesn't state where higher begins), and most people had been engaged for 6 or more years. It doesn't seem to be a fad, also given the book is 32 years old. I wonder what the survey results would look like now?
Lately, it also means to discern if you are being tricked into thinking you are buying a simple/sustainable option. Carbon offsetting is a game. Dual engines are a scam. Simple living style magazines are a definite pander. Don't get me started on organic cotton or bamboo fibres. Look at it! What processes are going into things. (ooops, bit of rant that last bit)
In preparing this blog, I found it interesting that my most careful photographs came from my textile work or from trips to the country side. I have read a completely different book about Nature in urban settings. I smell a challenge to find pattern and serenity inside city limits.
I'll look at "Common Expressions of Simpler Ways of Living" by Elgin next post.