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Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

Simple Was Boring

In many prosperous, capitalist societies where consumerism, big pharma and supermarket culture is rampant, leading a quiet, simple life is considered boring.

Big Brands continue to persuade everyone to aspire for more and most people fall for that. 

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Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it's necessary - Emrys Westacott | Aeon Ideas

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-the-simple-life-is-not-just-beautiful-it-s-necessary

aeon.co

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Key Ideas

Back to The Simple Life

Due to an increasingly complicated and hyper-connected world, a lot of people are revisiting and paying attention to the concept of a simple life.

From Buddha to Socrates and contemporaries like Oprah, many people throughout ages have advocated the slow, mindful, simple life.

Simple Was Boring

In many prosperous, capitalist societies where consumerism, big pharma and supermarket culture is rampant, leading a quiet, simple life is considered boring.

Big Brands continue to persuade everyone to aspire for more and most people fall for that. 

Benefits of Simple Living

  • Millennials are showing interest in simple living, in pre-consumerist and pre-industrial ways.
  • It seems like a moral way to live and it makes you into a better person.
  • The struggle of living simple and frugal builds up new skill-sets, a certain independence and better health of the mind and body, by being close to nature.

Our Last Hope

A simple, frugal living in nature might be our last hope to reverse the effects of industrialization, population growth, polluted oceans, deforestation, plastic waste and extinction of plants and animals.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Nihilism

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism ar...
Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

Stoicism

Stoicism was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and is practiced by many in high-stress environments.

Stoicism focuses on how to live in a world where things don't go as planned. The idea is to accept all the things beyond your control and to focus on what you can control.

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Why be a minimalist

Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.

It’s a way to escape the exce...

Minimalist living
It’s about getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. 

It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

The benefits of minimalism
  • It’s more sustainable.
  • It’s easier to organize.
  • It’s lower in stress.
  • It’s less expensive and less debt.
  • It’s less cleaning and maintaining.
  • There’s more room for creating, for loved ones, for peace, for doing the things that give you joy.
  • There’s more time for getting healthy.
Simplicity doesn't mean poverty
Simplicity doesn't mean poverty

Poverty is involuntary and debilitating, whereas simplicity is voluntary and enabling.

It is very misleading to equate simplicity with poverty, even if some spiritual traditions have ...

Simplicity doesn't mean rural living

Adopting a simple life doesn't require moving into rural areas. In fact, the majority of persons choosing a life of conscious simplicity live in cities and suburbs. 

It is much more accurate to describe this as a "make the most of wherever you are" movement, adapting ourselves creatively to a rapidly changing world in the context of big cities and suburbs.

Beauty in 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. But rather than a denial of beauty, simplicity liberates the aesthetic sense by freeing things from artificial burdens.

The new minimalism

In part, the new minimalism is a kind of cultural aftershock of the 2008 housing crisis and banking collapse. At the same time, minimalism has become an increasingly aspirational and deluxe way ...

Minimalism for the affluent

Many people have minimalism forced upon them by circumstance. Poverty and trauma can make frivolous possessions seem like a lifeline instead of a burden.

Although many of today's gurus insist that minimalism is useful regardless of income, they target the affluent. The focus on self-improvement is more about accumulation.

Minimalism of ideas

True minimalism is not about throwing things out, but about challenging your beliefs in an attempt to engage with ideas as they are, to not shy away from reality or its lack of answers. 

Underneath the vision of “less” is a mode of living that heightens the miracle of human presence.

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One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

Productivity has always been important

Although productivity might seem something that became important only recently, after the industrial revolution, it has been a topic of discussion ever since ancient eastern and western phi...

Busyness leads to unproductiveness

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

Don’t take on more tasks and responsibilities. You end up doing many things in a mediocre way. Instead, focus your time and energy on a few important things.

Make small progress every day

Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.” – Plato

Set 3-4 important tasks that will directly contribute to what you want to achieve in life.

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We don’t ask big questions

Big questions referring to is the meaning of life matter deeply because only with sound answers to them we can direct our energies meaningfully, but most of us get shy expressing them. -...

Philosophy = thinking for yourself

Philosophers are interested in asking whether an idea is logical–rather than simply assuming it must be right because it is popular and long-established. - Alain de Botton

Philosophers were the first therapists

Philosophers teach us to think about our emotions, rather than simply have them. By understanding and analysing our feelings, we learn to see how emotions impact on our behaviour in unexpected, counterintuitive and sometimes dangerous ways.  - Alain de Botton

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The Zen View Of Morals

Evil cannot be destroyed, any more than good can, because they are polar opposites of the same thing. Destruction and creation, chaos and order; opposite aspects of reality, in tension with one ano...

The Zen View Of Life

For Zen practitioners, life is transitory and insubstantial. There is no security and thinking otherwise is a waste of time. 

They also don’t believe in an afterlife. Reincarnation can be more accurately thought of as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy before and after death.

The Zen View Of The World

The word 'Zen' means emptiness or void. This is the basis of Zen — that all that exists is based on a dynamic emptiness. Which is also what quantum science says.

In this view, there is no difference between matter and energy. Look at anything closely enough and you will see that it is an event, not a thing. Furthermore, there is not a ‘multiplicity of events’. There is just one event, with multiple aspects, unfolding. 

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Benjamin Franklin

“Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fo..."

Benjamin Franklin
The happiest countries
Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are ranked among the top happiest places in the world. 

Their population enjoys a healthy work-life balance, high standards of living with less pressure, less stress, and more time for everything they enjoy and love doing.

"Lagom"

It's part of the Swedish culture. It means “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.

The concept encourages an overarching balance across our lives: everything in moderation.

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Being Frugal Is Not Cheap

Frugal people do spend money, but want the maximum bang for the buck, without stressing themselves.

Frugality does not mean compromising quality, neglecting your social life, or being a...

Be A Smart Spender
  • Use tools like financial books, podcasts, and online savings groups.
  • Avoid indulging in unnecessary expenses daily, reducing them or finding healthier and more affordable alternatives.
  • Cultivate a healthier attitude and the right mindset towards your finances.
  • Know that small, practical, money-saving actions can compound into better living for you in the long run.
Use Smart Hacks

There are plenty of financial and budgeting tools and apps that can help us manage our funds, keep track of our expenses, and trigger us when we are off-track.

Simple hacks like carrying a debit card or cash instead of a credit card, or deleting our card details from shopping sites can help us avoid spending impulsively.

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