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Friday, July 3, 2009

Voluntary Simplicity – CREDO LXXIV

My granddaughter Rowan gave me a copy of a workbook with the title above. It is extremely compelling, containing short articles by different authors and topics for discussion. I was especially struck by the following excerpts and think they are worth all of us considering, given the state of the planet.

Since 1957, the number of Americans who say they are “very happy” has declined slightly, from 35 to 30 percent. We are twice as rich and no happier. Meanwhile, the divorce rate has doubled, the teen suicide rate has more than doubled, and increasingly our teens and young adults are plagued by depression.

I have called this soaring wealth and shrinking spirit “the American paradox.” More than ever, we at the end of the last century were finding ourselves with big houses and broken homes, high income and low morale, secured rights and diminished civility. We were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose. We cherished our freedoms but longed for connection. In an age of plenty, we were feeling spiritual hunger.
(David Myers)


Before you buy …
Ask yourself these questions:
• Do I really need it?
• What are ALL the costs over its lifetime?
• Can I afford it?
• Are the resources that go into it renewable?
• How long will it probably last?
• Is it recyclable?
• Do I have one already that could be fixed or repaired?
• How many hours or months will I have to work to pay for it?
• Am I prepared to maintain it for its entire lifetime?
• Is it worth it?

Avoid the Mall …
Go for a walk; talk with friends. Fact: There are more malls than high schools in America.

Become an advertising critic …
Don’t be sucked in by efforts to make you feel inadequate so you’ll buy more stuff you don’t need.

Splurge consciously …
A few luxuries can be delightful, and they don’t have to be expensive.

[Source: Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic by Wann, DeGraaaf and Naylor © 2001]

As a result, I am busy clearing my house of much stuff that is no longer being used but might be useful to someone else. This is not a noble gesture on my part but in truth a necessity, as I am old, handicapped, and with greatly diminished need for “stuff”! As I once remarked in my wiser teens: Virtue is really enlightened self-interest! A sensible observation, if I do say so, as it cleanses one of pride.

I will keep this short today because it recommends multum in parvum, or there is much to be found in little! Granted, on a national if not a global level, this points to a different economy, not one based on spending so much on acquiring material but in paying more attention to things that matter more. Note the word matter has more than one meaning! But that is another matter for a future Credo!


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