Simple living or voluntary poverty cover a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle . These include May, for example, Reducing one’s possessions , Generally Referred to as minimalism , gold Increasing self-sufficiency . Simple living can be characterized by being satisfied with what they want . [1] [2] Although asceticismgenerally promotes living and refraining from luxury and indulgence , not all of them are proponents of simple living ascetics. [3]Simple living is separate from those living in 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, frugality , or reducing stress . Simple living can also be a reaction to materialism and conspicuous consumption . Some quotes socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist or anti-war movements , including conservation , degrowth , social justice , and tax resistance . [4]


Religious and spiritual

A number of religious and spiritual traditions promotes simple living. [5] Early examples include the Sramana 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] notable Various Individuals-have Claimed That spiritual inspiration led em to a simpler lifestyle living, Such As Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi , Ammon Hennacy , Leo Tolstoy , Rabindranath Tagore , Albert Schweitzer , and Mohandas Gandhi . [8] [9]

Simple living has traditions that stretch back to the East, resonating with leaders such as Zarathustra , Buddha , Laozi , and Confucius and Greco-Roman culture and Judeo-Christian ethics. [9]Diogenes of Sinope , a major figure in the ancient Greek philosophy of Cynicism , claiming that a simple life was necessary for virtue, and was said to have lived in a wine jar. [10]

Plain people are Christian groups-have for centuries Who Practiced lifestyles in qui 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 has just become a reality.

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]

See also: Sufism


Epicureanism , based on the teachings of the Athens -based philosopher Epicurus , flourished from 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 the problems of an extravagant lifestyle tend to outweigh the pleasure of partaking in it. It is necessary that it be necessary for happiness, and that it should be maintained at a minimum cost, while all things beyond that are necessary for these should be avoided. [13]

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 admire of Thoreau, popularized 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] CR Ashbee and his followers also practiced some of these ideas, thus linking simplicity with the Arts and Crafts Movement . [16] British novelist John Cowper Powys advocates the simple life in his 1933 book A Philosophy of Solitude . [17] John Middleton Murryand Max Plowman a simple lifestyle at their Adelphi Center in Essex in the 1930s. [18] Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh championed a „right simplicity“ philosophy is based ruralism in Reviews some of His work. [19]

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 and 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 based on traditional and sustainable agrarian values as opposed to the progressive urban industrialism that 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, Gandhian Richard Gregg, Ralph Borsodi economists and Scott Nearing , anthropologist-poet Gary Snyder , and utopian fiction writer Ernest Callenbach . EF Schumacherargued 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 The simplicity and simplicity of the Simplicity Institute. [20] at Pigface Point, some 20 km from the University of New South Wales to which it is attached [21] A secular set of nine values ​​was developed with the Ethify Yourself project in Austria , with simplified life style by an online book (2011). In the United StatesA simple living guidebook [22] by Janet Luhrs [23] . Around the same time, minimalism (a similar movement) started to show their light in the public eye.


Reducing consumption, work time, and possessions

Some people practice simple living by reducing consumption . By Lowering expenditure is goods or services, the time spent earning money can be reduced. The time saved can be used to pursue other interests, or help others through volunteering . Some of them are used to improve their quality of life , for example of such creative activities 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. [24] [25] Reducing expenses can also lead to increasing savings, which can lead to financial independenceand the possibility of early retirement . [26]

You have succeeded in life when you really want to be what you really need.

Vernon Howard

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. [27] The small house movement includes individuals who live in small, mortgage-free, low-impact dwellings, such as log cabins or beach huts . [28]

Increasing self-sufficiency

One way to simplify life is to get back-to-the-land and grow your own food, you Increased self-sufficiency Reduces dependency on money and the economy . Tom Hodgkinson believes in life and death. [29] This is a sentiment shared by an increasing number of people, including those belonging to the millennial generation as a 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. “ [30]

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.[31] Hart created a model forest garden from a 0.12 acre orchard on his farm at Wenlock Edge in Shropshire.[32]

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.[33]

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“.[34] 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“.[35] 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.[35] 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.[36] Those who eschew all technology are often referred to as Luddites or neo-Luddites.[37] 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 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.[38]Technologies they may embrace include computers, photovoltaic arrays, 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.[39] 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.[40] Authors of the book Techno-Fix criticize technological optimists for overlooking the limitations of technology in solving agricultural problems.[41]

Advertising is criticized for encouraging a consumerist mentality. Many advocates of simple living, or watching television , is a key ingredient in simple living. Some see the internet, podcasting , community radio , or pirate radio as viable alternatives. quote needed ]

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 message and promote simple living and self-reliance as a remedy against the exploitation of humans, animals, and the Earth.

Politics and activism


Simple living may be undertaken by environmentalists . For example, Green parties often advocate a simple living as a result of their “ four pillars “ or the „Ten Key Values“ of the Green Party of the United States . This includes, in the context of, their rejection of genetic modification and nuclear power and other technologies. The Greens ‚ support for simplicity is based on the reduction in natural resource use and environmental impact. This concept is expressed in Ernest Callenbach ’s „green triangle“ of ecology, frugality and health.

Many with similar views, but also with an understanding of the simplicity, and advocacy of green anarchism , the ecovillage . Deep ecology , a belief that the world does not exist as a freely available resource, proposed wilderness preservation , human population control and simple living. [42]


The alleged relationship between economic growth and war , when it is considered a good reason for promoting a simple living lifestyle. Avoiding the perpetuation of the resource 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 qui They Reduce Their income below the tax threshold by Taking up a single living lifestyle. [4] [43] These individuals believe that their government is engaged in immoral, unethical or destructive activities such as war, and pays taxes inevitably funds these activities. [4]


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 suggests that positive attitudes towards living in poverty are becoming more common among young American artists , and quoted one recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design as saying in living in garrets and eating ramen noodles . “ [44]


A new economics movement has been building since 1972, [45] 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. [46]

Recently, David Wann has introduced the idea of ​​“simple prosperity“ as it applies to a sustainable lifestyle. From His points of view, and as the point of departure is for what he calls real sustainability , „it is significant to ask Ourselves Fundamental three 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 when we start our pursuit for rich abundance? “ [47] In this context, simple living is the opposite of our modern quest for affluence and, as a result, it becomes The preoccupied with quantity and the subject of the preservation of cities, traditions and nature.

A point of reference for this new economics can be found in James Robertson ’s A New Economics of Sustainable Development, [46] and the work of thinkers and activists, Who Participate In His Working for a Sane Alternativenetwork 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 economy, as set out by Robertson, are the following:

  • systematic empowerment of people, as a 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
  • The 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

  • Simple living advocates (category)
  • Affluenza
  • asceticism
  • Anti-consumerism
  • Black Bear Ranch
  • Corporate poverty
  • Deep ecology
  • degrowth
  • downshifting
  • Epicurianism
  • homesteading
  • Intentional living

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ Linda Breen Pierce (2000). Choosing Simplicity . ISBN  978-0-9672067-1-4 . Rather than being consumed by materialism, we choose to surround ourselves with those material possessions we truly need or genuinely cherish
  2. Jump up^ Vernon Howard . Quotes about Happiness . You have succeeded in life when you really want to be what you really need
  3. Jump up^ Griffiths, Michael. B., Flemming Christiansen, and Malcolm Chapman. (2010) ‚Chinese Consumers: The Romantic Reappraisal‘. Ethnography, Sept 2010, 11, 331-57.
  4. ^ Jump up to:c Low Income / Single Living as War Tax Resistance . NWTRCC.
  5. Jump up^ Helena Echlin (December 2006) Yoga Journal , p. 92
    • Also see W. Bradford Swift (July / August 1996) Yoga Journal , p. 81
  6. Jump up^,6
  7. Jump up^,8
  8. Jump up^ Slocock, N. (May 2004). „‚Living a Life of Simplicity?‘ A Response to Francis of Assisi by Adrian House „.
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Shi, David. The Simple Life . University of Georgia Press (2001).
  10. Jump up^ Parry, Richard. „Ancient Ethical Theory“ . Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Retrieved 16 September 2012 .
  11. Jump up^ „Learning from the Bruderhof: An Intentional Christian Community“ . ChristLife . Retrieved 2017-05-23 .
  12. Jump up^ Marshall, Peter. Nature’s Web: Rethinking Our Place on Earth. ME Sharpe, 1996 (pp. 235, 239-44).
  13. Jump up^ Smith, MF (2001). Lucretius: On the Nature of Things . Introduction available online at Hackett Pub CoISBN 978-0-87220-587-1
  14. Jump up^ Salt quoted in Peter C. Gould,Early Green Politics, p. 22.
  15. Jump up^ Gould, pp. 27-28
  16. Jump up^ Fiona Maccarthy,The Simple Life: Ashbee’s CR in the Cotswolds(London, 1981).
  17. Jump up^ A Philosophy of Solitude, London, 1933. See alsoDavid 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.
  18. Jump up^ Hardy, Dennis. Utopian England: Community Experiments 1900-1945p. 42. Hardy’s book details other simple living movements in the UK in this period.
  19. Jump up^ „Kavanagh’s Lessons for Simple Living“ . Irish Times. November 23, 2009.
  20. Jump up^ Simplicity Institute
  21. Jump up^ . Website of the Social Science Dept at UNSW
  22. Jump up^ ‚The Simple Living Guide
  23. Jump up^ Janet Luhrs | Simple Living
  24. Jump up^ Osborne, Hilary (23 July 2009). „Daniel Suelo: Free spirit or freeloader?“. The Guardian . UK . Retrieved 20 October 2011 .
  25. Jump up^ Salter, Jessica (18 August 2010). „The man who lives without money“ . The Telegraph . UK.
  26. Jump up^ Robinson, Nancy (2 August 2012). „Retiring At Age 50 Is Realistic Using These Unorthodox Strategies“ . Forbes . US . Retrieved 20 August 2012 .
  27. Jump up^ Lisa McClaughlin (June 5, 2008). „How to Live with Just 100 Things“ . Time .
  28. Jump up^ „Less is more: Simple living in small spaces“ . BBC News. December 28, 2011.
  29. Jump up^ Tom Hodgkinson (2006). How To Be Free . ISBN  9780241143216 .
  30. Jump up^ Nini, Jennifer. „So You Think You Can Farm?“ . Retrieved 1 September2014 .
  31. Jump up^ Robert Hart (1996-09-01). Forest gardening: Cultivating an edible landscape . p. 97. ISBN  9781603580502 .
  32. Jump up^ Robert Hart (1996). Forest Gardening . p. 45. ISBN  9781603580502 .
  33. Jump up^ Taylor, K. (August 8, 2007). „The Year I Saved The World.“ New York:The Sun. „
  34. Jump up^ Merkel, Jim. Radical Simplicity. British Columbia: New Society, 2003. Print, 170-71.
  35. ^ Jump up to:b Mark, Jason. „How Does Your Garden Grow? Watch and See“ Sustainable Food. Feb 26, 2010. Web.
  36. Jump up^ Scott Nearing (2006). Civilization and Beyond . p. 101. ISBN  9781406834970 .
  37. Jump up^ Sale, K. (February 1997). „America’s New Luddites.“ The diplomatic world.
  38. Jump up^ How to Live Simply and in a Sustainable Way
  39. Jump up^ Evgeny Morozov (2011). The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom .
  40. Jump up^ Zehner, Ozzie (2012). Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism . University of Nebraska Press .
  41. Jump up^ Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Will not Save Us or the Environment , New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada,ISBN 0865717044, 464 pp.
  42. Jump up^ John Barry; E. Gene Frankland (2002). International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics . Routledge. p. 161. ISBN  9780415202855 .
  43. Jump up^ Picket Line Annual Report
  44. Jump up^ 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( help ) |series=
  45. Jump up^ United Nations Environment Program (1972)Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Stockholm 1972. Retrieved on March 24, 2008
  46. ^ Jump up to: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
  47. Jump up^ Wann, David. Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle. New York, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007.ISBN 978-0-312-36141-9