Simple living

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include, for example, reducing one's possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they have rather than want.[1][2] Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of simple living are ascetics.[3] Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice.

Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in quality time for family and friends, work–life balance, personal taste, financial sustainability, frugality, or reducing stress. Simple living can also be a reaction to materialism and conspicuous consumption. Some cite socio-political goals aligned with the environmentalist, anti-consumerist or anti-war movements, including conservation, degrowth, social justice, and tax resistance.[4]

Gandhi spinning 1942
Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn in 1942. Gandhi believed in a life of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

History

Religious and spiritual

Jean-Léon Gérôme - Diogenes - Walters 37131
Diogenes living in a clay wine jar

A number of religious and spiritual traditions encourage simple living.[5] Early examples include the Śramaṇa traditions of Iron Age India, Gautama Buddha, and biblical Nazirites (notably John the Baptist).[6] The biblical figure Jesus is said to have lived a simple life. He is said to have encouraged his disciples "to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics."[7] Various notable individuals have claimed that spiritual inspiration led them to a simple living lifestyle, such as Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Ammon Hennacy, Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore, Albert Schweitzer, and Mahatma Gandhi.[8][9]

Traditions of simple living stretch back to antiquity, finding resonance with leaders such as Zarathustra, Buddha, Laozi, and Confucius and was heavily stressed in both Greco-Roman culture and Judeo-Christian ethics.[9] Diogenes, a major figure in the ancient Greek philosophy of Cynicism, claimed that a simple life was necessary for virtue, and was said to have lived in a wine jar.[10]

Plain people are Christian groups who have for centuries practiced lifestyles in which some forms of wealth or technology are excluded for religious or philosophical reasons. Groups include the Shakers, Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites, Amana Colonies, Bruderhof[11], Old German Baptist Brethren, Harmony Society, and some Quakers. There is a Quaker belief called Testimony of simplicity that a person ought to live her or his life simply.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau strongly praised the simple life in many of his writings, especially in his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750) and Discourse on Inequality (1754).[12]

Secular

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. 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.[13]

Thoreau's cabin inside
Reconstruction of Henry David Thoreau's cabin on the shores of Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau, an American naturalist and author, is often considered to have made the classic secular statement advocating a life of simple and sustainable living in his book Walden (1854). Thoreau conducted a two-year experiment living a plain and simple life on the shores of Walden Pond.

In Victorian Britain, Henry Stephens Salt, an admirer of Thoreau, popularised the idea of "Simplification, the saner method of living".[14] Other British advocates of the simple life included Edward Carpenter, William Morris, and the members of the "Fellowship of the New Life".[15] Carpenter popularised the phrase the "Simple Life" in his essay Simplification of Life in his England's Ideal (1887).[16]

C.R. Ashbee and his followers also practiced some of these ideas, thus linking simplicity with the Arts and Crafts movement.[17] British novelist John Cowper Powys advocated the simple life in his 1933 book A Philosophy of Solitude.[18] John Middleton Murry and Max Plowman practised a simple lifestyle at their Adelphi Centre in Essex in the 1930s.[19] Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh championed a "right simplicity" philosophy based on ruralism in some of his work.[20]

George Lorenzo Noyes, a naturalist, mineralogist, development critic, writer, and artist, is known as the Thoreau of Maine. He lived a wilderness lifestyle, advocating through his creative work a simple life and reverence for nature. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Vanderbilt Agrarians of the Southern United States advocated a lifestyle and culture centered upon traditional and sustainable agrarian values as opposed to the progressive urban industrialism which dominated the Western world at that time.

Thorstein Veblen warned against the conspicuous consumption of the materialistic society with The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899); Richard Gregg coined the term "voluntary simplicity" in The Value of Voluntary Simplicity (1936). From the 1920s, a number of modern authors articulated both the theory and practice of living simply, among them Gandhian Richard Gregg, economists Ralph Borsodi and Scott Nearing, anthropologist-poet Gary Snyder, and utopian fiction writer Ernest Callenbach. E. F. Schumacher argued against the notion that "bigger is better" in Small Is Beautiful (1973); and Duane Elgin continued the promotion of the simple life in Voluntary Simplicity (1981). The Australian academic Ted Trainer practices and writes about simplicity, and established The Simplicity Institute[21] at Pigface Point, some 20 km from the University of New South Wales to which it is attached.[22] A secular set of nine values was developed with the Ethify Yourself project in Austria, having a simplified life style in mind and accompanied by an online book (2011). In the United States voluntary simplicity started to garner more public exposure through a movement in the late 1990s around a popular "simplicity" book, The Simple Living Guide[23] by Janet Luhrs[24]. Around the same time, minimalism (a similar movement) started to also show its light into the public eye.

Practices

Reducing consumption, work time, and possessions

Portland alternative dwellings workshop
Living simply in a small dwelling

Some people practice simple living by reducing consumption. By lowering expenditure on goods or services, the time spent earning money can be reduced. The time saved may be used to pursue other interests, or help others through volunteering. Some may use the extra free time to improve their quality of life, for example pursuing creative activities such as art and crafts. Developing a detachment from money has led some individuals, such as Suelo and Mark Boyle, to live with no money at all.[25][26] Reducing expenses may also lead to increasing savings, which can lead to financial independence and the possibility of early retirement.[27]

The 100 Thing Challenge is a grassroots movement to whittle down personal possessions to one hundred items, with the aim of decluttering and simplifying life.[28] The small house movement includes individuals who chose to live in small, mortgage-free, low-impact dwellings, such as log cabins or beach huts.[29]

Increasing self-sufficiency

Forestgarden2
Robert Hart's forest garden in Shropshire, England, UK

One way to simplify life is to get back-to-the-land and grow your own food, as increased self-sufficiency reduces dependency on money and the economy. Tom Hodgkinson believes the key to a free and simple life is to stop consuming and start producing.[30] This is a sentiment shared by an increasing number of people, including those belonging to the millennial generation such as writer and eco blogger Jennifer Nini, who left the city to live off-grid, grow food, and "be a part of the solution; not part of the problem."[31]

Forest gardening, developed by simple living adherent Robert Hart, is a low-maintenance plant-based food production system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables.[32] Hart created a model forest garden from a 0.12 acre orchard on his farm at Wenlock Edge in Shropshire.[33]

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. This is now gaining mainstream acceptance, as shown by the popularity of books such as The 100-Mile Diet, and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. In each of these cases, the authors devoted a year to reducing their carbon footprint by eating locally.[34]

City dwellers can also produce fresh home grown fruit and vegetables in pot gardens or miniature indoor greenhouses. Tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, peas, strawberries, and several types of herbs can all thrive in pots. Jim Merkel says that a person "could sprout seeds. They are tasty, incredibly nutritious, and easy to grow... We grow them in wide mouthed mason jars with a square of nylon window screen screwed under a metal ring".[35] Farmer Matt Moore spoke on this issue: "How does it affect the consumer to know that broccoli takes 105 days to grow a head? [...] The supermarket mode is one of plenty — it's always stocked. And that changes our sense of time. How long it takes to grow food — that's removed in the marketplace. They don't want you to think about how long it takes to grow, because they want you to buy right now".[36] One way to change this viewpoint is also suggested by Mr. Moore. He placed a video installation in the produce section of a grocery store that documented the length of time it took to grow certain vegetables.[36] This aimed to raise awareness in people of the length of time actually needed for gardens.

The do it yourself ethic refers to the principle of undertaking necessary tasks oneself rather than having others, who are more skilled or experienced, complete them for you.

Reconsidering technology

People who practice simple living have diverse views on the role of technology. The American political activist Scott Nearing was skeptical about how humanity would use new technology, citing destructive inventions such as nuclear weapons.[37] Those who eschew modern technology are often referred to as Luddites or neo-Luddites.[38] Although simple living is often a secular pursuit, it may still involve reconsidering personal definitions of appropriate technology, as Anabaptist groups such as the Amish or Mennonites have done.

Technological proponents see cutting-edge technologies as a way to make a simple lifestyle within mainstream culture easier and more sustainable. They argue that the internet can reduce an individual's carbon footprint through telecommuting and lower paper usage. Some have also calculated their energy consumption and have shown that one can live simply and in an emotionally satisfying way by using much less energy than is used in Western countries.[39] Technologies they may embrace include computers, photovoltaic systems, wind and water turbines.

Technological interventions that appear to simplify living may actually induce side effects elsewhere or at a future point in time. Evgeny Morozov warns that tools like the internet can facilitate mass surveillance and political repression.[40] The book Green Illusions identifies how wind and solar energy technologies have hidden side effects and can actually increase energy consumption and entrench environmental harms over time.[41] Authors of the book Techno-Fix criticize technological optimists for overlooking the limitations of technology in solving agricultural problems.[42]

Advertising is criticised for encouraging a consumerist mentality. Many advocates of simple living 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.

Simplifying diet

Another practice is the adoption of a simplified diet. Diets that may simplify domestic food production and consumption include vegan diets and the Gandhi diet. 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.

Politics and activism

Environmentalism

Simple living may be undertaken by environmentalists. For example, Green parties often advocate simple living as a consequence of their "four pillars" or the "Ten Key Values" of the Green Party of the United States. This includes, in policy terms, their rejection of genetic engineering and nuclear power and other technologies they consider to be hazardous. 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.

PeacePark
The White House Peace Vigil, started by simple living adherent Thomas in 1981.

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, e.g. the ecovillage. Deep ecology, a belief that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans, proposes wilderness preservation, human population control and simple living.[43]

Anti-war

The alleged relationship between economic growth and war, when fought for control and exploitation of natural and human resources, is considered a good reason for promoting a simple living lifestyle. Avoiding the perpetuation of the resource curse is a similar objective of many simple living adherents.

Opposition to war has led peace activists, such as Ammon Hennacy and Ellen Thomas, to a form of tax resistance in which they reduce their income below the tax threshold by taking up a simple living lifestyle.[4][44] These individuals believe that their government is engaged in immoral, unethical or destructive activities such as war, and paying taxes inevitably funds these activities.[4]

Art

The term Bohemianism has been used to describe a long tradition of both voluntary and involuntary poverty by artists who devote their time to artistic endeavors rather than paid labor.

In May 2014, a story on NPR suggested that positive attitudes towards living in poverty for the sake of art are becoming less common among young American artists, and quoted one recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design as saying "her classmates showed little interest in living in garrets and eating ramen noodles." [45]

Economics

A new economics movement has been building since the UN conference on the environment in 1972,[46] and the publication that year of Only One Earth, The Limits to Growth, and Blueprint For Survival, followed in 1973 by Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.[47]

Recently, David Wann has introduced the idea of “simple prosperity” as it applies to a sustainable lifestyle. From his point of view, and as a point of departure for what he calls real sustainability, “it is important to ask ourselves three fundamental questions: what is the point of all our commuting and consuming? What is the economy for? And, finally, why do we seem to be unhappier now than when we began our initial pursuit for rich abundance?”[48] In this context, simple living is the opposite of our modern quest for affluence and, as a result, it becomes less preoccupied with quantity and more concerned about the preservation of cities, traditions and nature.

A reference point for this new economics can be found in James Robertson's A New Economics of Sustainable Development,[47] and the work of thinkers and activists, who participate in his Working for a Sane Alternative network and program. According to Robertson, the shift to sustainability is likely to require a widespread shift of emphasis from raising incomes to reducing costs.

The principles of the new economics, as set out by Robertson, are the following:

  • systematic empowerment of people (as opposed to making and keeping them dependent), as the basis for people-centred development
  • systematic conservation of resources and the environment, as the basis for environmentally sustainable development
  • evolution from a “wealth of nations” model of economic life to a one-world model, and from today's inter-national economy to an ecologically sustainable, decentralising, multi-level one-world economic system
  • restoration of political and ethical factors to a central place in economic life and thought
  • respect for qualitative values, not just quantitative values.

See also

References

  1. ^ Linda Breen Pierce (2000). Choosing Simplicity. ISBN 978-0-9672067-1-4. Rather than being consumed by materialism, we choose to surround ourselves with only those material possessions we truly need or genuinely cherish
  2. ^ Vernon Howard. Quotes about Happiness. You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need
  3. ^ Griffiths, Michael. B., Flemming Christiansen, and Malcolm Chapman. (2010) 'Chinese Consumers: The Romantic Reappraisal’. Ethnography, Sept 2010, 11, 331–57.
  4. ^ a b c "Low Income/Simple Living as War Tax Resistance". NWTRCC.
  5. ^ Helena Echlin (December 2006) Yoga Journal, p. 92
    • Also see W. Bradford Swift (July/August 1996) Yoga Journal, p. 81
  6. ^ http://www.bibleserver.com/text/ESV/Mark1,6
  7. ^ http://www.bibleserver.com/text/ESV/Mark6,8
  8. ^ Slocock, N. (May 2004). "'Living a Life of Simplicity?' A Response to Francis of Assisi by Adrian House".
  9. ^ a b Shi, David. The Simple Life. University of Georgia Press (2001).
  10. ^ Parry, Richard. "Ancient Ethical Theory". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Learning from the Bruderhof: An Intentional Christian Community". ChristLife. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  12. ^ Marshall, Peter. Nature's Web: Rethinking Our Place on Earth. M.E. Sharpe, 1996 (pp. 235, 239–44).
  13. ^ Smith, M.F. (2001). Lucretius: On the Nature of Things Archived 2006-03-01 at the Wayback Machine. Introduction available online at Epicurius.info. Hackett Pub Co ISBN 978-0-87220-587-1
  14. ^ Salt quoted in Peter C. Gould, Early Green Politics, p. 22.
  15. ^ Gould, pp. 27–28
  16. ^ Delany 1987, p. 10.
  17. ^ Fiona Maccarthy, The Simple Life: C.R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds (London, 1981).
  18. ^ A Philosophy of Solitude, London, 1933. See also David Goodway, Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow (Liverpool, 2006), pp. 48–49, 174, for Goodway's comparison of Powys' ideas of the Simple Life to Carpenter's.
  19. ^ Hardy, Dennis. Utopian England: Community Experiments 1900–1945 p. 42. Hardy's book details other simple living movements in the UK in this period.
  20. ^ "Kavanagh's Lessons for Simple Living". Irish Times. November 23, 2009.
  21. ^ Simplicity Institute
  22. ^ Website of the Social Science Dept at UNSW
  23. ^ 'The Simple Living Guide
  24. ^ Janet Luhrs | Simple Living
  25. ^ Osborne, Hilary (23 July 2009). "Daniel Suelo: Free spirit or freeloader?". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  26. ^ Salter, Jessica (18 August 2010). "The man who lives without money". The Telegraph. UK.
  27. ^ Robinson, Nancy (2 August 2012). "Retiring At Age 50 Is Realistic Using These Unorthodox Strategies". Forbes. US. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  28. ^ Lisa McClaughlin (June 5, 2008). "How to Live with Just 100 Things". Time.
  29. ^ "Less is more: Simple living in small spaces". BBC News. 28 December 2011.
  30. ^ Tom Hodgkinson (2006). How To Be Free. ISBN 9780241143216.
  31. ^ Nini, Jennifer. "So You Think You Can Farm?". Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  32. ^ Robert Hart (1996-09-01). Forest gardening: Cultivating an edible landscape. p. 97. ISBN 9781603580502.
  33. ^ Robert Hart (1996). Forest Gardening. p. 45. ISBN 9781603580502.
  34. ^ Taylor, K. (August 8, 2007). "The Year I Saved The World." New York: The Sun."
  35. ^ Merkel, Jim. Radical Simplicity. British Columbia: New Society, 2003. Print, 170–71.
  36. ^ a b Mark, Jason. "How Does Your Garden Grow? Watch and See" food.change.org. Sustainable Food. 26 Feb 2010. Web.
  37. ^ Scott Nearing (2006). Civilization and Beyond. p. 101. ISBN 9781406834970.
  38. ^ Sale, K. (February 1997). "America's New Luddites." Le Monde diplomatique.
  39. ^ Anil K. Rajvanshi - How to Live Simply and in a Sustainable Way Archived 2013-12-19 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ Evgeny Morozov (2011). The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom.
  41. ^ Zehner, Ozzie (2012). Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism. University of Nebraska Press.
  42. ^ Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, ISBN 0865717044, 464 pp.
  43. ^ John Barry; E. Gene Frankland (2002). International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics. Routledge. p. 161. ISBN 9780415202855.
  44. ^ Picket Line Annual Report
  45. ^ Neda Ulaby (Director) (2014-05-15). "In Pricey Cities, Being A Bohemian Starving Artist Gets Old Fast". NPR. Retrieved 2014-05-31. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  46. ^ United Nations Environment Program (1972) Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment Archived 2007-04-11 at the Library of Congress Web Archives. Stockholm 1972. Retrieved on March 24, 2008
  47. ^ a b Robertson, James (2005) "The New Economics of Sustainable Development". A Briefing for Policy Makers. Report for the European Commission. ISBN 0-7494-3093-1
  48. ^ Wann, David. Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle. New York, St. Martin's Griffin, 2007. ISBN 978-0-312-36141-9

Bibliography

  • Delany, Paul (1987). The Neo-pagans: Rupert Brooke and the ordeal of youth. Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-908280-5.
  • Helen and Scott Nearing (1970) The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living, Schocken
  • Vernard Eller (1973) The Simple Life, ISBN 0-8028-1537-5
  • Dolly Freed (1978) Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money 2010 edition ISBN 0-9820539-3-2
  • Duane Elgin (1981, revised 1993 and 2010) Voluntary Simplicity, Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-177926-8
  • Charles Long (1986) How to Survive Without a Salary: Living the Conserver Lifestyle. 1996 edition ISBN 1-894622-37-5
  • Wendell Berry (1990) What Are People For?, North Point Press, ISBN 0-86547-437-0
  • Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez (1992) Your Money or Your Life, Viking. Your Money or Your Life: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century, published by Penguin Books in December 2008 by Vicki Robin with Monique Tilford and contributor Mark Zaifman.
  • Edward Romney (1992) Living Well on Practically Nothing 2001 edition ISBN 1-58160-282-0
  • Janet Luhrs (1997) The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living, ISBN 0-553-06796-6
  • Amy Dacyzyn (1998) The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle., ISBN 0-375-75225-0
  • Deborah Taylor-Hough (2000) A Simple Choice: A practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity, SourceBooks, ISBN 1891400495
  • John de Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor (2002) Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, ISBN 1-57675-199-6
  • Stephanie Mills (2002) Epicurean Simplicity, Island Press, ISBN 978-1559636896
  • Jacob Lund Fisker (2010) Early Retirement Extreme: A philosophical and practical guide to financial independence, ISBN 978-1453601211
  • Dave Bruno (2010) The 100 Thing Challenge, ISBN 978-0061787744
  • Marie Kondo (2014) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, ISBN 978-1607747307

External links

Amish

The Amish (; Pennsylvania German: Amisch, German: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology.

The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish. In the second half of the 19th century, the Amish divided into Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites. The latter mostly drive cars as does the main society during the 20th century, whereas the Old Order Amish retained much of their traditional culture. When it is spoken of Amish today, normally only the Old Order Amish are meant.

In the early 18th century many Amish, and Mennonites, immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today the Old Order Amish, the New Order Amish, and the Old Beachy Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as "Pennsylvania Dutch", although two different Alemannic dialects are used by Old Order Amish in Adams and Allen counties in Indiana.As of 2000, over 165,000 Old Order Amish lived in the United States and about 1,500 lived in Canada. A 2008 study suggested their numbers had increased to 227,000, and in 2010, a study suggested their population had grown by 10 percent in the past two years to 249,000, with increasing movement to the West. Most of the Amish continue to have six or seven children, while benefitting from the major decrease in infant and maternal mortality in the 20th century. Between 1992 and 2017, the Amish population increased by 149 percent, while the U.S. population increased by 23 percent.Amish church membership begins with baptism, usually between the ages of 16 and 23. It is a requirement for marriage within the Amish church. Once a person is baptized within the church, he or she may marry only within the faith. Church districts average between 20 and 40 families and worship services are held every other Sunday in a member's home. The district is led by a bishop and several ministers and deacons. The rules of the church, the Ordnung, must be observed by every member and cover many aspects of day-to-day living, including prohibitions or limitations on the use of power-line electricity, telephones, and automobiles, as well as regulations on clothing. Most Amish do not buy commercial insurance or participate in Social Security. As present-day Anabaptists, Amish church members practice nonresistance and will not perform any type of military service. The Amish value rural life, manual labor, and humility, all under the auspices of living what they interpret to be God's word.

Members who do not conform to these community expectations and who cannot be convinced to repent are excommunicated. In addition to excommunication, members may be shunned, a practice that limits social contacts to shame the wayward member into returning to the church. Almost 90 percent of Amish teenagers choose to be baptized and join the church. During an adolescent period of rumspringa ("running around") in some communities, nonconforming behavior that would result in the shunning of an adult who had made the permanent commitment of baptism, may be met with a degree of forbearance. Amish church groups seek to maintain a degree of separation from the non-Amish world, i.e. American and Canadian society. Non-Amish people are generally referred to as 'English'. Generally, a heavy emphasis is placed on church and family relationships. They typically operate their own one-room schools and discontinue formal education after grade eight, at age 13/14. Until the children turn 16, they have vocational training under the tutelage of their parents, community, and the school teacher. Higher education is generally discouraged, as it can lead to social segregation and the unraveling of the community. However, some Amish women have used higher education to obtain a nursing certificate so that they may provide midwifery services to the community.

Aparigraha

In Hinduism and Jainism, aparigraha (Sanskrit: अपरिग्रह) is the virtue of non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness.Aparigrah is the opposite of parigrah, and refers to keeping the desire for possessions to what is necessary or important, depending on one's life stage and context. The precept of aparigraha is a self-restraint (temperance) from the type of greed and avarice where one's own material gain or happiness comes by hurting, killing or destroying other human beings, life forms or nature.Aparigraha is related to and in part a motivator of dāna (proper charity), both from giver's and receiver's perspective.

Diogenes

Diogenes (; Greek: Διογένης, Diogenēs [di.oɡénɛ͜ɛs]), also known as Diogenes the Cynic (Ancient Greek: Διογένης ὁ Κυνικός, Diogenēs ho Kynikos), was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.Diogenes was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and Diogenes was banished from Sinope when he took to debasement of currency. After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city. He modeled himself on the example of Heracles, and believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple life-style and behaviour to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt, confused society. He had a reputation for sleeping and eating wherever he chose in a highly non-traditional fashion, and took to toughening himself against nature. He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place. There are many tales about his dogging Antisthenes' footsteps and becoming his "faithful hound".Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts, such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates, and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting listeners by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having mocked Alexander the Great, both in public and to his face when he visited Corinth in 336.Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, eventually settling in Corinth. There he passed his philosophy of Cynicism to Crates, who taught it to Zeno of Citium, who fashioned it into the school of Stoicism, one of the most enduring schools of Greek philosophy. None of Diogenes' writings have survived, but there are some details of his life from anecdotes (chreia), especially from Diogenes Laërtius' book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers and some other sources.

Downshifting (lifestyle)

The term downshifting in the English language refers to the act of reducing the gear of a motor vehicle while driving a manual transmission. This title or term has now been re purposed and applied to describe a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from what critics call the rat race.

The long-term effect of downshifting can include an escape from what has been described as economic materialism, as well as reduce the "stress and psychological expense that may accompany economic materialism". This new social trend emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work, while also focusing life goals on personal fulfillment, as well as building personal relationships instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success.

Down-shifting, as a concept, shares many characteristics with simple living. However, it is distinguished as an alternative form by its focus on moderate change and concentration on an individual comfort level and a gradual approach to living. In the 1990s, this new form of simple living began appearing in the mainstream media, and has continually grown in popularity among populations living in industrial societies, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.

Economic vegetarianism

An economic vegetarian is a person who practices vegetarianism from either the philosophical viewpoint that the consumption of meat is expensive, part of a conscious simple living strategy or just because of necessity. In the developing world, where large numbers of poor people might not be averse to eating meat, they are regularly forced to not eat it, since meat can often be a luxury.Economic vegetarians believe that nutrition can be acquired more efficiently and at a lower price through vegetables, grains, etc., rather than from meat. They argue that a vegetarian diet is rich in vitamins, dietary fiber, and complex carbohydrates, and carries with it fewer risks (such as heart disease, obesity, and bacterial infection) than animal flesh. Consequently, they consider the production of meat economically unsound.Some vegetarians are motivated by a lifestyle of simple living or adopt vegetarianism through necessity. For example, in the United Kingdom, necessity changed dietary habits during the period around World War II and the early 1950s, as animal products were strictly rationed and allotment or home-grown fruit and vegetables were readily available. Before that during World War I, Americans were encouraged to go one day of the week meatless in order to save meat rations for the troops, which began the "Meatless Monday" revolution. In developing countries people sometimes follow a mainly vegetarian diet simply because meat resources are scarce or expensive compared to alternative food sources. The same principle can also be a deciding factor in influencing the diet of low-income households in the Western world. For instance, beef prices have skyrocketed in the recent years. The price of ground beef in the year 1985 was $1.28 per pound, and as of 2016 the price increased to $3.98 per pound. This is a $2.70 increase over the last 31 years. The majority of the price increase has happened between 2004 and 2016, increasing by $1.72 over the 12-year period. These price increases make it hard for low-income households to continue to include meat as a part of their diet

Many economic vegetarians also promote the idea that advanced agricultural techniques have made the production of meat outdated and inefficient. Some promote the idea of synthetic and cloned meat.

Economic vegetarians frequently contrast themselves with mainstream vegetarians, most of whom abstain from animal products on religious or ethical grounds. They may be vegetarian for other reasons; and there may be significant overlap between these beliefs (e.g. between economic and environmental vegetarians).

Ecovillage

An ecovillage is a traditional or intentional community with the goal of becoming more socially, culturally, economically, and ecologically sustainable. It is consciously designed through locally owned, participatory processes to regenerate and restore its social and natural environments. Most range from a population of 50 to 250 individuals, although some are smaller, and traditional ecovillages are often much larger. Larger ecovillages often exist as networks of smaller sub-communities. Some ecovillages have grown through like-minded individuals, families, or other small groups—who are not members, at least at the outset—settling on the ecovillage's periphery and participating de facto in the community.

Ecovillagers are united by shared ecological, social-economic and cultural-spiritual values. Concretely, ecovillagers seek alternatives to ecologically destructive electrical, water, transportation, and waste-treatment systems, as well as the larger social systems that mirror and support them. Many see the breakdown of traditional forms of community, wasteful consumerist lifestyles, the destruction of natural habitat, urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels as trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster and create richer and more fulfilling ways of life.

Ecovillages offer small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact or regenerative impacts as an alternative. However, such communities often cooperate with peer villages in networks of their own (see Global Ecovillage Network for an example). This model of collective action is similar to that of Ten Thousand Villages, which supports the fair trade of goods worldwide.

Frugality

Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.In behavioral science, frugality has been defined as the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourceful use of already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.

Gift

A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. An item is not a gift if that item is already owned by the one to whom it is given. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many countries, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may sustain social relations and contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy. By extension the term gift can refer to any item or act of service that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness. Gifts are also first and foremost presented on occasions such as birthdays and holidays.

Homesteading

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Pursued in different ways around the world—and in different historical eras—homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation (either socially or physically) of the homestead. Use of the term in the United States dates back to the Homestead Act (1862) and before. In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in nations formerly controlled by the British Empire, a homestead is the household compound for a single extended family. In the UK, the term 'smallholder' or 'crofts' is the rough equivalent of 'homesteader'.

Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.

KISS principle

KISS, a backronym for "keep it simple, stupid", is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. The term "KISS principle" was in popular use by 1970. Variations on the phrase include: "Keep it simple, silly", "keep it short and simple", "keep it simple and straightforward", "keep it small and simple" and "keep it stupid simple".

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton (French: [lwi vɥitɔ̃]), or shortened to LV, is a French fashion house and luxury retail company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label's LV monogram appears on most of its products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses and books. Louis Vuitton is one of the world's leading international fashion houses; it sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website. For six consecutive years (2006–2012), Louis Vuitton was named the world's most valuable luxury brand. Its 2012 valuation was US$25.9 billion. The 2013 valuation of the brand was US$28.4 billion with revenue of US$9.4 billion. The company operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores worldwide.

Mother Earth News

Mother Earth News is a bi-monthly American magazine that has a circulation of 500,520. It is published in Topeka, Kansas.Since its founding, Mother Earth News has promoted renewable energy, recycling, family farms, good agricultural practices, better eating habits, medical self-care, more meaningful education and affordable housing. The magazine approaches environmental problems from a down-to-earth, practical, simple living, how-to standpoint.

Movement for Compassionate Living

The Movement for Compassionate Living (MCL) is a UK-based organisation promoting veganism and sustainable living. Membership is informal, based on subscription to the group's journal New Leaves, with subscribers in many countries.The organisation was founded by former Vegan Society secretary Kathleen Jannaway and her husband Jack in 1984.MCL cite John Woolman, Mahatma Gandhi, Tom Regan, Robert Hart, Helen and Scott Nearing, Richard St. Barbe Baker, Adele Curtis and Henry Bailey Stevens as examples of compassionate living individuals.

Quality of life

Quality of life (QOL) is an overarching term for the quality of the various domains in life. It is a standard level that consists of the expectations of an individual or society for a good life. These expectations are guided by the values, goals and socio-cultural context in which an individual lives. It is a subjective, multidimensional concept that defines a standard level for emotional, physical, material and social well-being. It serves as a reference against which an individual or society can measure the different domains of one’s own life. The extent to which one's own life coincides with this desired standard level, put differently, the degree to which these domains give satisfaction and as such contribute to one's subjective well-being, is called life satisfaction.

Simplicity

Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. Something easy to understand or explain seems simple, in contrast to something complicated. Alternatively, as Herbert A. Simon suggests, something is simple or complex depending on the way we choose to describe it. In some uses, the label "simplicity" can imply beauty, purity, or clarity. In other cases, the term may occur with negative connotations to suggest, a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or of complexity of a thing, relative to what one supposes as required.

The concept of simplicity has been related to in the field of epistemology and philosophy of science (e.g., in Occam's razor). Religions also reflect on simplicity with concepts such as divine simplicity. In the context of human lifestyle, simplicity can denote freedom from excessive possessions and psychological distractions, specifically, it can refer to a simple living style.

Small Is Beautiful

Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by German born British economist E. F. Schumacher. The phrase "Small Is Beautiful" came from a phrase by his teacher Leopold Kohr. It is often used to champion small, appropriate technologies that are believed to empower people more, in contrast with phrases such as "bigger is better".

First published in 1973, Small Is Beautiful brought Schumacher's critiques of Western economics to a wider audience during the 1973 energy crisis and emergence of globalization. The Times Literary Supplement ranked Small Is Beautiful among the 100 most influential books published since World War II. A further edition with commentaries was published in 1999.

Subsistence agriculture

Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmers grow food crops to feed themselves and their families. In subsistence agriculture, farm output is targeted to survival and is mostly for local requirements with little or no surplus trade. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year. Planting decisions are made principally with an eye toward what the family will need during the coming year, and secondarily toward market prices. Tony Waters writes: "Subsistence peasants are people who grow what they eat, build their own houses, and live without regularly making purchases in the marketplace."

Despite the primacy of self-sufficiency in subsistence farming, today most subsistence farmers also participate in trade to some degree, though usually it is for goods that are not necessary for survival, and may include sugar, iron roofing sheets, bicycles, used clothing, and so forth. Most subsistence farmers today reside in developing countries, although their amount of trade as measured in cash is less than that of consumers in countries with modern complex markets, many have important trade contacts and trade items that they can produce because of their special skills or special access to resources valued in the marketplace.

Thomas (activist)

William Thomas Hallenback, Jr., known as William Thomas or simply as Thomas (March 20, 1947 – January 23, 2009), was an American anti-nuclear activist and simple-living adherent who undertook a 27-year peace vigil – the longest recorded vigil in US history – in front of the White House.Thomas was born in Tarrytown, New York and became a truck driver, jewelry maker and carpenter. Inspired by the Sermon on the Mount, he became a pilgrim and began traveling the world in the interests of world peace.In 1978, having tried to swim across the Suez Canal on his way to Israel, Thomas spent eight months in an Egyptian prison. Later, in response to United States foreign policy, he destroyed his passport while trying to renounce his American citizenship in London. The British authorities returned him to the United States in 1980.In 1981, Thomas traveled to Washington, D.C. and spent several months at Mitch Snyder's Community for Creative Non-Violence. On June 3, he launched the White House Peace Vigil in Lafayette Square. A couple of months later, in August 1981, he was joined by Concepcion Picciotto and then, in April 1984, by Ellen Benjamin. The following month, on May 6, 1984, Thomas and Ellen were married at a Quaker wedding.During the first three years of the vigil, the Park Police had arrested Thomas sixteen times. The charges ranged from illegal camping to disorderly conduct. In subsequent years, Thomas and Ellen protested with numerous other activists, including representatives from the Catholic Worker and Plowshares movements.Thomas died on January 23, 2009, aged 61, of pulmonary disease.Thomas and the White House Peace Vigil inspired Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to introduce the Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion Act to Congress in 1994. It would require the United States to disable and dismantle its nuclear weapons – once all other nations possessing nuclear weapons did likewise – and redirect the funds saved into renewable energy and social projects. Since 1994, Norton has continued to introduce revised or renewed versions of the bill. In March 2011, for example, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, it was reintroduced under the name of the "Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act".The Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue, a 2012 TV documentary commissioned by the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, recounts the lives of Thomas, Ellen, Concepcion Picciotto and Norman Mayer.

Tolstoyan movement

The Tolstoyan movement is a social movement based on the philosophical and religious views of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910). Tolstoy's views were formed by rigorous study of the ministry of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount.

Tolstoy expressed "great joy" that groups of people "have been springing up, not only in Russia but in various parts of Europe, who are in complete agreement with our views." However, the author also thought it was a mistake to create a specific movement or doctrine after him, urging individuals to listen to their own conscience rather than blindly follow his. In regard to a letter he received from an adherent, he wrote:

To speak of "Tolstoyism," to seek guidance, to inquire about my solution of questions, is a great and gross error. There has not been, nor is there any "teaching" of mine. There exists only the one eternal universal teaching of the Truth, which for me, for us, is especially clearly expressed in the Gospels...I advised this young lady to live not by my conscience, as she wished, but by her own.

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