08 February 2017

The "Simple Life"

The simple life is sometimes viewed as an approach to living that advocates a barren plainness and denies the value of beauty and aesthetics. While the Puritans, for example, were suspicious of the arts, most advocates of simplicity have seen it as essential for revealing the natural beauty of things.
Many who adopt a simpler life would surely agree with Pablo Picasso, who said, "Art is the elimination of the unnecessary." Leonardo da Vinci wrote that, "Simplicity is the ulti...mate sophistication." Frederic Chopin wrote that, "Simplicity is the final achievement ... the crowning reward of art."
The influential architect Frank Lloyd Wright was an advocate of an "organic simplicity" that integrates function with beauty and eliminates the superfluous. In his architecture a building's interior and exterior blend into an organic whole, and the building, in turn, blends harmoniously with the natural environment. Rather than involving a denial of beauty, simplicity liberates the aesthetic sense by freeing things from artificial encumbrances. From a spiritual perspective, simplicity removes the obscuring clutter and discloses the life-energy that infuses all things.
Some worry that if a significant number of people simplify their lives it will reduce demand for consumer goods and, in turn, produce unemployment and economic stagnation. While it is true that the level and patterns of personal consumption would shift in a society that values green living, a robust economy can flourish that embraces sustainability.
Although the consumer sector and material goods would contract, the service and public sectors would expand dramatically. When we look at the world, we see a huge number of unmet needs: caring for elderly, restoring the environment, educating illiterate and unskilled youth, repairing decaying roads and infrastructure, providing health care, creating community markets and local enterprises, retrofitting the urban landscape for sustainability and many more. Because there are an enormous number of unmet needs, there are an equally large number of purposeful and satisfying jobs waiting to get done. There will be no shortage of employment opportunities in an Earth-friendly economy.
A central and exciting task for our times is consciously designing ourselves into a sustainable and meaningful future, from the personal level outwards. In envisioning what this future could look like, it is important to not be bound by old stereotypes and to instead see the realism and the beauty of simpler ways of living.


~Duane Elgin         http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/four-misconceptions-about_b_937115.html

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